This book taught me about culturally relevant teaching and how to start incorporating this value into my life as an educator. This is also where I learned about my new teaching poses (or values) such as “Teacher as Curator” and vulnerable teaching and learning. This book was the main inspiration for the format and content of my sample ELA unit and will continue to have an impact on my teaching practices moving forward. It also greatly informed the classroom design part of this portfolio.
Edgar’s article is about how to teach students empathy and encourage them to become global citizens. Before reading this, I was very unsure of the actual HOW to teach students in a culturally proactive manner, and this article does a great job of breaking down that mystery. Edgar states that texts that call on students to empathize with a character in the story have the strongest effect on student engagement and getting them to think about and consider their actions beyond the classroom. As a teacher, one of my main goals is to teach my students empathy regardless of the school subject, and this article will help me build and design lessons in all of my subject areas that help me meet and exceed that goal.
Cultivating Students as Agents of Change is a chapter in this book that was all about how to teach students to embody and advocate for social justice. This is where I learned that sometimes culturally relevant and social justice-minded teachers can actually discourage their students by only teaching them about the injustices in the world and not how to change those injustices. Boyd encourages teachers to plan lessons and units that have students doing something to change an issue instead of just learning about the issue. For that reason, the end product of my sample unit has students creating a piece intended to inspire or effect change, whether it be a written work, a film or podcast, or even a speech given to board members or a protest or march led by the student. I will also keep this in mind in the future unit planning so that my students feel empowered by doing something positive and working toward change.
Bishop’s article speaks to the power that teachers have in the classroom as they choose what literature students are exposed to throughout their formative years. The author encourages teachers to curate a range of texts that act as mirrors that allow students to see themselves within the literature, windows that allow students to see and understand people and cultures that are different from them and their own cultures, and sliding glass doors that allow them to step into these different worlds and understand things from a new perspective. I will always keep this in mind when designing units, including the one in this portfolio.
This podcast is incredible and I encourage all educators to listen to it regardless of the color of their skin. I asked my ENGL 408W teacher how I, as a white woman, could be mindful of my own privilege as I navigate the world of culturally relevant teaching. This podcast was her response and I am so thankful she introduced me to it.
These are some of the resources I used to help guide me through my sample unit planning. However, I think that they will continue to be valuable throughout the rest of my career as I create new units and modify current ones to be more culturally relevant and targeted toward social justice and civic action.