Identifying and Transforming Educational Inequities, Part One


DR. LEORA WOLF-PRUSAN
Good morning and afternoon. As I said before, my name is Leora Wolf–Prusan. I’m going ask my co–presenter, colleague,
mentor, and friend, Greg Peters, to show his face so that you can see who the two of us
are at the beginning. Hi, to everyone across the country. We’re incredibly excited and pretty overwhelmed
with the regional representation that’s on this call. So, we’re really holding space for a national
call right now. So, we wanted to start today by grounding
ourselves in why we’re in this conversation. We are here to talk about identifying and
transforming educational inequities. And I really want to concentrate on those
first two verbs, “identify” and “transform.” And our essential question that we call into
the work today is: What might we need to know and do to interrupt implicit bias and microaggressions
in an educational setting? I want to pause because we are coming to this
conversation with the intention to bring the concept of school climate and culture, as
it intersects with implicit bias and microaggressions so that we can really work towards creating
an educational context—not only for our students as their student learning outcomes
are equitably achieved but also, for those of us working in systems and in teams and
in school settings and how we can relate to each other—which we know impacts the young
people that we serve. So, this webinar is part of a two–part conversation. So today we’re in part one and we’re going
to be focusing on really grounding ourselves in the language and the context of why we’re
in this conversation. So, what school climate is; what implicit
bias and microaggressions are; and how that relates to our work. We’re then going to move into an introduction
of a framework for transformation, and really focus on transformational leadership that
guides us through this really hard and important work to do some of that awareness and interruption
and Greg will be introducing us into his framework that he’s been catalyzing throughout the country,
and [then] we’ll close. Part two in a couple weeks is going to be
focused on the next two stages of this framework, so it’s going to be a continued conversation. Today, as I said, we’re in part one of the
conversation. We’re moving into awareness so that we can
get to interruption of both the implicit biases that all of us hold that really charge the
way that we already come listening to conversations with our colleagues to policies, practices
that we implement and lead and to, most importantly, the work that we do with the young people
that we serve. And we’re going be introducing two tools that
Greg will be offering us, that are really hard practices to integrate, that do the radical
interruption of some of the barriers to us getting to the work that we need to do. So, to ground us, when we were thinking about
why this conversation—and again, I just want to call out that there’s obviously a
resonance to the words “microaggressions” and “implicit bias” in education around the
country, based on how many of you have said “yes” to joining this morning. And part of that “yes” to joining is this
idea that in the past couple decades in our education context, we’ve been really focused
on the product, on the outcome, on the action, and on the doing, right? We’ve been asked from that, and for that,
of each other. Right now, we’re in this really incredibly
cultural shift moment across the country of not just holding on to academic outcomes but
to talk about some of the more wobbly things that undergird how we arrive at our work. The Parker Palmer quote that we call in today
is—and I’m going to read this in case some of you are just in audio, is: “If we want
to grow as teachers, we must do something alien to academic culture: we must talk to
each other about our inner lives—risky stuff in a profession that fears the personal and
seeks safety in the technical, the distant, the abstract.” So today, we’re going to be talking about
our inner lives, sometimes in a risky way—actually, always in a risky way—so that we then get
to the technical in a way that is equitable for ourselves and our students. So, we’re going to move through. Part of today’s objectives—in order to reach
that risky space so that we can get into more of the wobbly stuff to speak to our technical
outcomes—our objectives of today are to deepen our understanding on what implicit
bias and microaggressions are and how they relate to school climate and culture. And then to begin to engage in inquiry individually
and collectively about role bias and microaggressions. And so, how does that play in our lives? How does that play [out] in the skin that
we’re in, across all the different hats that we hold on to: as a colleague, as a staff
member, as a student, as an administrator, et cetera? So, I’m going to pass the torch to Greg to
ground us in launching the conversation. DR. GREGORY PETERS
Thank you, Leora. Greetings all. Thank you so much for joining us. I thought we would start by doing a little
bit of reflection about what brings us here, what brings us to this conversation in the
skin that we are in? I think too infrequently we ask the question
of why did we choose to commit, not just to go into—we are going into education but,
why did we choose to commit to education? And when we ask that question, I think we
have our passions and our reasons, but I think it’s also important for us to know our history. Thought I’d start with a piece of history
that comes from the historical timeline of public education. In 1779, Thomas Jefferson proposes a two-track
education system with different tracks, in his words, for “the laboring and the learned.” Scholarship would allow a very few of the
laboring class to advance, Jefferson says, “by raking a few geniuses from the rubbish.” This is a very important quote to me because
it makes me think about what…not just why did I choose education, but what is the system
I have committed to going into for my career, for a life choice? So, it’s important for us to know that—regardless
of our reasons, that just from the design of public education, historically, the very
design of public education is intended to serve some better and some worse than others. And that’s important because we go into this
field believing that we’re here to serve all equally, and yet when we think about the design
and we study the design, it becomes evident why we are actually getting the very results
that the system was designed to get. It’s also important for us to be asking the
question of, again: why did we choose and why do we choose to stay in this profession? And so many of us espouse this commitment
to equitable outcomes for every single student regardless of our demographic predictors. And we are in a system that continues to perpetuate
inequities based on demographic predictors. So, right up front, we’ve chosen a career
that puts us in a situation of conflict. And finally, it’s important for us to ask
personally: what were our formative experiences in the skin that we are in that informs our
work, informs our decision to come to this work, and how we show up for this work every
single day and therefore, the results, the related results of our work. These formative experiences include those
for us as students, as educators, and as leaders. I thought I’d take a moment just to share
a little bit about what brings me and the skin I’m in as a White man to this work for
educational equity. So first of all, as a student, I was a student
who went to the premiere high school of my city and yet when I got there, I realized
that I was a small fish in a big pond—but I also wasn’t the same kind of fish. My family was working poor; we were not of
the culture or the community of folks that really sent their children to these… this school. And so, when it came time for me in the 11th
grade to seek out my counselor and talk about college, she, she had no time for me. And at one point, when I finally got her attention
she literally said to me, “Greg, I don’t have time for you. Your family cannot afford college.” From that point on, my whole being as a student shifted. In the next year, I cut 80 days, and nobody
knew. I would show up for the tests, I would ace
the tests, but nobody knew. I never got a phone call home, nobody ever
did an intervention or checked in with me. All that mattered was I was showing up and
I was fine on their grade books. That experience, I took with me to my choice
to become an educator. That experience, I took with me every single
day to my practice as an educator—and I still take with me every single day. Sometimes how it influences my decisions is
unconscious, sometimes it’s very conscious depending on the level of work that I want
to do with myself, about myself. As a teacher…When I first moved to California
and became a math teacher, I remember I was the newbie in the department and my department
sat with me and they said, “You’re the new guy, you get the throwaway kids.” And I thought to myself, “Who are the throwaway
kids? How is that even a term?” And I sat with a principal, who very embarrassingly
expressed her concern for that phrase as well, and so I just said, “Can we reframe that? Instead of it being the throwaway kids, can
it be the throwaway class? Can I throw away the books? Can I throw away the curriculum?” And from there, we created a partnership to
really rethink what class and what education—what the studies would look like for these students—to
an incredibly positive result. And then finally, when I became a leader one
of the first things that I learned as a leader—as a White principal—was that even though my
role was to be the leader, one of the most important responsibilities for me as an ally
activist, as a leader, was I had to be in touch with my humility because when I sat
with the families of the students that we struggled most to reach—we struggled most
to serve—these families, they already had information. They had expertise around the work that needed
to happen, and so what I learned as a leader was to be a partner in this work and not to
do for but to do with. All of these were formative experiences that
bring me to the work of who I am today and what I do today. So, my question to each of you, and I hope
that you’ll take some time to reflect on this if you’ve not already, but what brings you
to this conversation and what brings you to this work in the skin that you are in? With that little bit of reflection, I thought
we would do an opening exercise, so that we could just bring our skin into the game and
think about this work. The slide that you have before you, the image
that you have before you—and I apologize for the folks that are on the phone calls,
you obviously cannot see this—but the image you have in front of you was drawn by an elementary
school student. And this student, you know, her task was to
draw her picture of school, her understanding of school. You’ll notice there are two prompts that we
want you to guide, that we want to guide your feedback within the chat box. The first prompt is: what do you think?
The second prompt is: what do you feel? And those are two very different prompts. There are two things that are important about
this visual for me and this exercise. The first one is, this is an elementary school
student. And regardless of our interpretation of this,
it is showing that we have an incredibly effective way of educating our subtext as early as you
know, as early as elementary school. The other piece is that, the reason we want
to ask the question about how do you feel or what do you feel…these formative experiences
that we have as well as the emotions we have about what is happening, they actually have
an impact on the actions that we take, and we want to create conditions where we can
access those emotions and be able to bring our full self and our most thoughtful self
to this work. So, that was one of the reasons that I thought
was important for us to start with this exercise. DR. LEORA WOLF-PRUSAN
Thanks, Greg. So, part of what comes up in that image and
what came up in our chat conversations is that, that schoolhouse, that our young people
were coming into and our young people were leaving is the schoolhouse that all of us
participate in, that we carry out, that we work in, and that we embody. And so, when we talk about school climate
or school culture, we want to just take a moment to think about what that experience,
the environment and the ecosystem is in that box of a school. And as well, understand that all of what we
come into the school [with] and all of what we leave the school [with] is also embodied
in how we experience our education, our narrative, and how we make meaning of ourselves in the
world. So, we’re going take a moment to pause and
do a little bit of double–clicking into what school climate and culture is. So, school climate and culture, we often sometimes
use them interchangeably in the research field and practice field. School climate generally talks about or refers
to the perceptions or subjective experiences of school. And so, that is a lot of what we were interpreting
or reading into that young person’s illustration of their subjective experience of school,
right? What school climate might have felt to that
young person. Where school climate tends to talk about the
actual or “objective state of the school”—and there are many of us, maybe that’s a whole
other conversation of, if schooling can ever truly be measured as objective because there
are so many influential and variable factors. We wanted to ground ourselves in that difference,
and so when we look at that school climate and culture—I know many of us have used
this iceberg analogy in our own teaching and practice, but we really tend to think of school
climate and culture as the combination of both the “over the surface”—both what we
see as the iceberg, right? The programs, interventions, services, and
curricula that are rooted in the “under the surface”: the beliefs, and norms, and values
that are often not named or assumed, or not called in to be as seen as connecting to what
we see as “over the surface”. And so, these experiences are all transmitted. The “under the surface” is transmitted into
the behavior, and the language, and how we provide support is directly connected to how
each one of us individually comes to work, right? How we enter our own schoolhouse, and what
we’re expecting the product to be when we leave the schoolhouse—both for ourselves
and for our students. And so, we want to hold both of this, particularly
because as Parker Palmer was calling us in that opening quote, we are very…It is so
much easier and so much more comfortable to often concentrate only on the programs; on
the intervention services; on the curricula; on the “what;” or on the “how;” but not
necessarily as exciting, easy, comfortable to concentrate on the “why” and the “who;”
the beliefs, and norms, and values. And so, part of what Greg and I are welcoming
you into considering today is to expand our definition of school climate and culture. To not only think about the “over the surface”
but also the “under the surface,” and the connections between the two. So, part of that, is that when we think about
if we actually suss out—if we massage that iceberg a little bit more—part of what we
think about is that the under really does influence the over. So, if we think about under the surface…Actually,
let’s start with over the surface first because that might be some of the pieces that we’re
more familiar with, right? So, over the surface, as I mentioned, those
are the programs, interventions, services, curriculum…and this can kind of sound like
what our discourse probably feels familiar to folks, right? Trauma informed, PBIS, we’re going do restorative
practices and I really want to welcome folks to put in the chat box some of the over the
surface, how that resonates with how you are feeling in your work around what are the over
the surface factors that are often part of the conversation and part of the work all
the time. Right? There are many folks on this line. I was seeing some of the roles that you carry
into this conversation. There are some of you who are in charge of
LCAP; there are some of you who are in charge of implementing programs and services and
so you’re really familiar with the “what,” right? Another over the surface is the behavior. So, behavior is the outer layer of “feeling”
that then speaks to the under layer of “need.” And often times, we are really overly concentrated
and only talking about the behavior. This is pretty evident in the way that we
talk about discipline, in the way that we measure teacher performance, right? It’s on the “doing” without thinking about
the “why.” And that’s part of the exciting shift. As we see nationwide, in really adopting a
trauma informed and brain science based lens to education—and doing some intersection
here; because we’re understanding that, actually, only concentrating on the why doesn’t actually
do any interruption. So, some of those behaviors—and we’re going
talk about micro and microaggressions briefly—is where we see those manifestations come out. We’re going talk about dominant discourse
later on in the webinar. What we refer to dominant discourse is the
way in which we all talk—both implicitly [and] explicitly—that comes out in our design
of curriculum; it comes out in our design of policy; that comes out in the faculty lounge;
that is the kind of assumed language, the kind of language of, “Well, we always talk
about that. This is how we do things here.” And the dominant discourse is assuming that
the way that we do things or the way that things are, are the way that they need to be. And so, part of…Greg will go into dominant
discourse later. What we want to hold is that programs, behaviors,
the dominant discourse—all of those three major components of school climate culture—the
way that we experience school and education are fueled and really influenced by what’s
going on under the surface: so, our beliefs, our unchecked norms and values. Right?
Our dominant culture. How are we arriving at our expectation of
what that schoolhouse is supposed to look like, supposed to do, supposed to be? My expectation of myself as an educator? Or in Greg’s case as principal, as school
leader, as a thought leader? And really influenced by the thoughts and
feelings and the past history of both ourselves…both in what we are conscious of and also what
we carry unconsciously. And that, is really connected to our understanding
of bias. So, we hold all of this because we’re here
in conversation. Greg and I are assuming—and I think we hold
to be true—that all of us are committing to this time and this conversation this morning
because we have a commitment and a vision: the ultimate goal for a whole, healthy, vibrant
school environments, climate, and culture; not just for young people but also for ourselves
as employees. And so, to do that, we want to take time to
suss out, again, not just the over but the under. So, let’s get into a little bit of that. We’re going take some time to talk about implicit
bias. Which is coming up particularly a lot in the context of the disproportionately in discipline, right? So, we, at this point, have an enormous amount
of research that demonstrates that policies that might appear to be neutral on their face,
at the surface value, actually result, in actuality, in a disproportionate experience—particularly
across the country for students who identify as Black young men in: suspensions, expulsions
and referrals, right? I often think about one of…a student that
I used to work with many years ago. We had done this—what I thought was a beautiful
lesson—on empowerment and on voice and really as a school, we really wanted to partner with
young people—or so we said, we wanted to partner with young people—to have their
student voice elevated. And two periods later, I’m walking down the
hall during my prep period and she comes storming down the hallway…one of my students from
the earlier period comes storming down the hallway. And I said…I asked her what was going on—she
was clearly upset, and she said, “Miss. I was just doing what you told me to do to
be resilient and the teacher told me that I was being defiant, and now I’m being sent
to the principal’s office.” And so, we think about the way that we’re
asking students to rise, to be resilient, to kind of…all these values; but when it
comes to our own practices, it can often result in how other teachers or how our school systems
are set to read that type of behavior like defiance. So, this…Kirwan Institute for Race and Ethnicity—which
is the source of a lot of the work that we’re going to be introducing today—is out of
Ohio, they are a really key institute for research on bias, on race, ethnicity in education. And these five pieces—disproportionality
in discipline; disproportionality in special education; educator mindsets and beliefs;
tracking; and dominant discourse—these five are the key five ways in which our implicit
bias shows up strongly in how it impacts schools and education. And so, we want to concentrate on one main
[piece] today that we’ll hear about later: the dominant discourse. So, the ways of thinking and talking about
students and families diminish, underestimate or even pathologize them, right? So, thinking about them, sometimes called
the “pobrecito” effect or referring to students and families as deficit based. As I mentioned earlier, that’s an over the
surface way of how implicit bias shows up in our behavior, and Greg will be talking
more about that later. But we also want to hold that that educator
mindset and belief is something that we’re asking for folks on the call, ourselves as
facilitators as well, to constantly be working and checking, even in this conversation, around:
what…how are we arriving at our expectations for ourselves and the students that we serve? So, just to be very clear before we move forward,
that what Greg and I are introducing is that that last component—dominant discourse—we
see that as fundamental in interrupting the disproportionalities in special education,
the disproportionalities in discipline, [and] the tracking behaviors. We see the last piece as one of the main interrupters. So, we want to just take a moment…We did
just talk about implicit bias—that under the surface—and now we’re going to go over
the surface and do some conversation around: “How does what…How do our unchecked beliefs
and norms and values influence our behavior in a harmful, often violent way, to those
that we actually are trying to come to with good intent?” So, microaggressions are defined by some of
the leading researchers and scholars on this subject as, “Brief and commonplace verbal,
behavioral or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate
hostile, derogatory or negative slights and insults to people of marginalized groups.” So, we bolded whether intentional or intentional
because we assume that we all come into this work with good intention and at the same time,
as we are introducing, we also want to hold that intention does not always equal impact. I can come into a conversation with Greg,
with full, good intention and actually do, potentially, some harm in some of the ways
that I’m either talking or sharing or thinking, and we, in our educational…In order to create
healthy school climates, we actually want to create a way that Greg could then call
me in and hold me accountable, not just for intention but also for the impact of how what
I did and said landed with him as a colleague. The other piece that I want to highlight are
two other pieces. One is the environmental indignities, so we’re
not only just talking about individual behavior. We’re also talking about systems, cultures
and ecosystems and we’re going be thinking about that as we move forward. And then, the last piece is this idea towards
people of marginalized groups. This calls us to do some further, deep work
around understanding how the larger issues of historical, social disenfranchisement,
and violence in our country’s history—and we can actually probably call in global history—impact
the way that we arrive at schools and education now. So, we’re having a pretty direct entry point
in talking about implicit bias and micro-aggressions but this is contextualized and locked into
a much larger conversation for us to do some deep work about how we understand marginalized:
What it means to be marginalized? Who is marginalized? and by whom? And why? What is the outcome of that marginalization? One piece that…and Greg will…I hope that
Greg feels comfortable with me introducing this but…A teaching that Greg offers that
I just find so profound is, this conversation around, “implicit for whom?” Right?
Implicit bias, implicit for whom? And microaggressions, “Micro for whom?” They might be micro on the account of the
perpetrator, but they generally do not feel micro on the account of the receiver. So, we just want to hold that we’re using
this term microaggression but actually, that term in itself may not serve us to understand
the true power of that impact. DR. GREGORY PETERS
It’s important…I really appreciate you bringing up this idea of: what is the “micro” in microaggressions? Micro does not mean it’s a small act or it’s
a small impact. Micro is simply referring to the fact that
the way that this aggression comes out is—to some extent because of the norms of our society—invisible or could be diminished by some as it wasn’t a big deal. And so, it’s really important to…I really
appreciate you surfacing the difference between the intent versus the impact or what it looks
like versus the impact. Microaggressions in no way are felt in a micro way. That’s not what it’s saying. It’s suggesting that, in the norms of our
society, we might minimalize it or try to make it invisible or less important. And that’s part of the impact of microaggressions,
is that those on the other side of the microaggressions are further stressed by the responsibility
of saying, “Am I crazy? Did that just happen?” Versus it just being understood that…I put
in the quotes…I literally heard this just yesterday but, microaggressions are frequently
referred to as or equated with “death by a thousand paper cuts.” DR. LEORA WOLF-PRUSAN
Yes, thank you. Great. So, part of one of the…In another workshop
that we were doing recently on this work, a participant surfaced that, as an administrator,
right, they ask their students for who…Even as a practice, they often ask their students
for signatures from a mother and father. And recently, a student said, “Well, actually
I don’t have a mother and father. I have a mother and a mother.” And this school continued to ask the student,
“Mother and father, mother and father,” for permission slips, for other pieces for parent
conferences even though the student had surfaced that they come from a mother–mother family. And so, there’s an example that as our bias…our
bias, in this case, for this educator was the assumption that all families come in one
shape—and that shape being heteronormative, that there’s a mother and father—so that
was the bias. The issue is that it continued to manifest
in the school’s behavior—that the school didn’t stop how that bias was translating
into that student—and that…one of the key words in this quote is “indignity.” That ultimately, the “death by a thousand
paper cuts,” is the small not in the feeling but in how we as a culture value these indignities
ultimately create experiences of dehumanization. Right? And so, part of why we’re in this conversation is because we all—as you are saying in the chat box when you were looking at that image—it’s
painful to see our young people see schools as dehumanizing. It’s not only painful for them, it’s painful for us to be seen as perpetrators and participants in it. So, this conversation is offering us the opportunity
and window to do some breath, to do some pause, so that we can figure out how we can interrupt
that translation of bias into behavior, into microaggressions, right now. So, just to do a little bit more, a little
bit more reflection in microaggressions and then we’re going shift from the kind of “who,”
the “what,” all of this conversation, into some of the “how.” So, we want to hold that there are three different
ways that microaggressions surface. There are micro–assaults—which are seen
as conscious. We have experienced national micro–assaults
in the last couple weeks, that we know that there are ways in which they are explicit
identity–based attacks on character, attacks on our colleagues, and on our civilians and
our students, and those are purposeful. So, micro–assaults are conscious, they’re
purposeful and exist not only one-on-one, interpersonally but also in our environment
and in our larger culture. The second type is a micro–invalidation
and, you know, it’s termed as an unconscious but we can often invalidate pretty consciously. So, these are actions that exclude or negate
or nullify feelings, and you heard…or the experiential reality. And someone put in the chat box this idea
that, often times when folks from a marginalized group—folks of color, folks who identify
as non–heteronormative—speak up about an experience, right now, they might experience
someone saying, “Oh man, it’s too much energy to be PC,” or, “That’s not true, that didn’t
actually happen,” as Greg was saying. And so, even these nullifying…the nullifying
or negating someone’s experience, who comes from a different group is part…that is a
microaggression in itself. It’s a micro–invalidation and we might do
it unconsciously but that has very, very…that has incredible impact in how a person experiences
feeling whole and human at work and obviously outside of work as well. And the last type of microaggression is this
micro–insult—which is also called unconscious. This idea that behaviors or actions or verbal
remarks convey rudeness, insensitivity or demean that person’s social group, identity,
or heritage. This piece is one for us to do some big reflection
on because we may not know—if we do not ask, if our policies and practices are demeaning. And so, part of the question comes in are,
what are some of our schools’ assumed ways of doing and being that we thought might be
celebratory—we might think that having a Cinco de Mayo or a taco day on May 5th is
celebrating heritage—but actually might feel pretty insulting to some of our colleagues,
especially if it doesn’t really understand the true history of where Cinco de Mayo came
in, came from. And so, part of what we really want to do
is really do some of that unpacking, that checking, of “What does it mean if we demean
our colleagues’ and our students’ social identity or heritage?” And at this point, I want to be very direct,
that at this point we have enough understanding of how our identity, heritage and feeling of safety… We talk about students’ safety so much and
this is student safety. It’s not just if there are guns at school. It’s not just if there are drugs on campus. It’s not just the amount of school resource
officers. It is also our behaviors and actions and verbal remarks that either invite every single student—equitably and equally—to feel humanized or do not. That is also part of student safety. And so, with that, that really calls us into
a task of pretty rigorous leadership, and so we’re going shift into talking about how
we interrupt those beliefs, practices and experiences that are harming us. Just to be very direct, we are experiencing
an enormous amount of harm in our school cultures and systems. Not only [are] our students are experiencing
harm, our staff, but also, how we have arrived and created some of the cultures of our school
districts and systems. There are many of us on the line that know
that there are young people who are ending their own lives. We have colleagues who are ending their own
lives. There’s an enormous rise in not only direct
violence, but emotional violence at schools, and I want to put that context that right
now we are at a time in our country where if we do not start to interrupt our experience
of harm and unsafety and violence will only grow. There are those of us on the…we are in this conversation because we are saying, “We’re done. Enough.” And so that’s our task as transformational
leaders. I’m going pass it to Greg so that he can introduce
us into taking a way of holding this conversation true into our practice. DR. GREGORY PETERS
One of the things I appreciated about that question, and that slide, is it talks about
the importance of interrupting some of the beliefs, practices, and experiences that are
harming others and it’s listed under this title of transformational leadership. I think the one thing, even as I read that,
is that we have to actually…When you say that—especially in the time we’re experiencing
right now, if we don’t take the time to interrupt…and I think we need to unpack the word “interrupt”
and it really is about interrupting and transforming. Because I frequently joke with people that
I’ve been learning how to interrupt since I was born, as a White man—and quite frankly
in my family we’re pretty good at it— but that’s not about transformation. And so, the importance—as we move onto the
next slide—of what we’re seeking is not just the interruption, not just the stopping,
but actually the transformation, because what we know to be true is that a lot of the inequities
experienced by our students, and families, and communities; they’re experiencing these
inequities that are perpetuated by educators who— going back to those beginning slides—went
into this work to do good. At times when I need to look in the mirror
most at where I’m least effective: it’s usually when I’m doing my best or doing what I believe
is my best. So, if all anybody does is to interrupt me,
I’m going get a pause and I’m going do a little thinking but then I’m going go back to doing
my best, which was what was happening before. And so, we need something; we need some attention, not just on the interruption but also on the transformation. For those on the phone, we have a quote in
front of us from Carl Jung that says, “If there is anything that we wish to change in
the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could
better be changed in ourselves.” What I really appreciate about this quote
is it’s a reminder that we are not…We somehow—our profession and the conditions of our profession
have us doing so much external work, so much looking out the window work—that we don’t
have the capacity, we don’t have the systems to keep us looking in the mirror as well;
and so, I really appreciate this. If we go onto the next slide, his quote really
does inform, or lead to, a pretty commonly held understanding that the work we need to
do as educators, the work we need to do for transformation is—and I don’t know if this
term is new for folks, it’s been around for a while but it’s—”inside–out work.” We have to start internally because we’re
not just learning a curriculum that we’re going to facilitate. We’re not just figuring out which order of
papers we want to have students write. We’re talking about changing the way things are. We’re talking about transformation, and when
we’re talking about transformation, it’s hard to lead others to transformation when we have
not—and are not continuously— experiencing it ourselves. At its simplest, when we’re thinking about
the theory of transformation, it simply says that in order to really be agents of transformation,
we have to first be engaged in our own personal transformation. Only by looking in the mirror and transforming
our own schema; our own way of looking at the world; our own biases; will we institutionalize
sustained professional transformation. And then, when we are in the place where our
professional work has been transformed, and it is sustained, and it is systemic—about
how we see ourselves and how we are seen and experienced as professionals—then we are
in a position to have what is considered transferred transformation. Transformation not only for our students and
their experiences and their results, but even…we’re transferring the impact of transformation
and we’re supporting our peers and other adults and professionals to be in a cycle of transformation
themselves. As I mentioned, this is not new work, but—when
I left my principalship and was asked to start the nonprofit that I’m at—what was missing
for me was we were clear that transformation was needed. There was not a lot of body of work, there
was not a large body of work out there about what that meant. There was a good amount of work of what transformational teaching looked like. In other words, how to create transformational
experiences for students but that did not talk about what was necessary for us to be
in our own constant cycle of transformation as educators; because frequently—as Leora
was talking about this—our own biases, our own histories frequently, get in the way of
ourselves and our own espoused goals or our own espoused desires as educators. I was fortunate that we were able to do some
work and study around this notion of transformation and in the next slide. And for those on the phone this is in the
handouts. I’m also keeping track of other resources
that I know we want to send as a follow–up to this based on some of the great stuff coming
up in the chat box but you should have this slide in front of you if you’re on the phone. It’s the transformational…the conceptual
framework for transformation. The good news is: transformation happens. It’s called evolution and it doesn’t happen
nearly quickly enough for the students that we’re going face tomorrow. We wanted to study those teachers that were
both identified by their students, as well as by their results as being impactful, and
really impact what was going on for them that they were both: able to work in a system that
perpetuated injustices and work against that system at the [same time.]
[inaudible] What came as a result of that work and that
study was this framework. And I want to say that this framework talks
about the stages of work—or the stages that an individual or a community needs to go to—and
then the work of us as leaders, and the work of our institutions is to create the conditions
for this work to happen. This is not a one and done. We’re trying to create conditions for people
to be in constant and continuous cycles of doing their own work and doing their collective
work towards transformation. I will quickly walk through this. I think it’s important, if you look at the
visual, to recognize there are two stars on two of the stages. That’s the focus of this webinar. The next webinar, we will focus on the other two. Right now, I’m just going quickly go through
what that framework is. There is a text that you have access to about
bridging the gap that includes a deeper overview of this framework—so if you’re interested,
I’ll push you to that text—but when we’re talking about creating conditions for transformation,
we need to…If we look at the bottom box first, this is where we need to create opportunities
and conditions, and support ourselves and each other to understand our stance and our
schema—our way of looking at the world. We need to create conditions that allow us
to be able to look in the mirror and be able to say who we are in the skin we’re in, what
our history is, how our history shows up with us, not just as individuals but quite frankly
even as a society, even as institutions. It’s not just me as a white man asking, “What
was my experience?” I tried to walk you through that in that first
slide when I said what brings me to this work and I just gave you three little formative
experiences. While there are countless formative experiences
that I’m constantly thinking about: How does this show up for me? As somebody who grew up receiving food stamps,
when students came to me and said they were hungry, something happened for me. Something happened for me and it influenced
how I responded to them. To what extent am I conscious of that? To what extent am I unconscious of that? How we look at race growing up informs how
we show up in the class and how we face students across racial difference, et cetera. This is the work we need to do but we also
need to do that same work in looking at our institutions, in our systems and the history
there because we are working in a system, and we are cogs in the system, and if we’re
not clear about what the purpose of education is versus the purpose of schooling, and if
we happen to have the discussion or the reflection of why… whether or not there is a difference
between education and schooling, that’s part of the work that we need to do and we need
to create those conditions. Some of this work, however, is not just discovering. It’s not just organically forming definitions
on our own. Some of this work is based on facts and history
that already exist and, as difficult as it is for adult learners to not create their
own learning, it’s important for us to also, as part of these conditions [inaudible] about that, from taking some time to understand our stance and schema because we can’t transform
to something as efficiently as we might want to if we don’t have an understanding of that
which we’re transforming from. Once we create time and space to be in that
work and we have begun the work of stance and schema awareness, what we need to do then
is: we need to create conditions that allow for interruptive or catalytic experiences. Again, as I mentioned, we are a profession
filled with people—for the most part—who are in here with very, very, very good intentions,
and so the idea that we’re doing something that requires interruption—it’s a challenge. We also live in a society where public education
has become this bastion of blame for social ills, and so, there’s not a lot of willingness
to take risk. There’s not a lot of willingness to be vulnerable
in a public way: recalibrating our discourse and recalibrating our way of collaborating
so that we are not only being interrupted but we’re welcoming that interruption. We’re not just interrupting somebody but we’re
sitting with them for the transformation. That’s a different schema. That’s a different way of being in public education. That requires a lot of shift and intentional
shift in our conditions. We need to take time and really understand
what are the norms? What is our vision? Are we attached to that mission? Are we attached to that vision? What does it look like when we prioritize
our work and our decisions through a student–centered, mission focus versus that which feels comfortable
or that which is, perhaps going keep our job safe? Which again, in this society, is a rational
and reasonable reaction for many in our profession. Do we understand there’s so many words out
there that are power words in our society: equity, success, achievement, et cetera? Have we calibrated what that language means? Not just for me but for you and for each other and have we decided what it means for our community? I went into a community once where they were
trying to agree on norms and it was really striking to me because one of the things that
they said was that they were really held up in agreeing on a final set of norms for two
months because they could not agree on one norm, and that was whether or not they were
going have the norm of “be respectful.” And I thought to myself, “That’s fascinating,”
because I know that many of the students who we serve, they’re like, “That’s not an option,
that’s not an option.” And so, I went into the community and I asked
a few questions, I said, “First of all, what does respect look like? Are we even agreeing on what respect looks like?” There are things that are respectful to one
culture that are completely disrespectful to other cultures. They’ve not even begun to do that work. Then I finally just asked the question, “So
if we were to say that we can’t agree on this and we don’t vote on this, is the norm therefore
to be disrespectful?” That was the end of the story. They realized that this was just a detour
from having the harder conversation about what does respect look like and feel like
if we’re not just using a dominant culture lens. We need to do a lot of work of calibrating
“who” and “how” we are and how we want to be in order to allow us to be able to do those
interruptions. And I also want to say, that we also need
to practice those interruptions. We need to use protocols and structure conversations—not to contain our discourse but rather to scaffold us to the organic discourse, so we have practice
of what it looks like to have equitable or shared space. We need to practice, quite frankly, sentence
stems around how we might interrupt somebody or how we might interrupt an inequity when
it’s happening before us. We need to practice inquiry in using probing
questions instead of judgmental statements. That’s a lot of the work in creating the conditions
for this stage. Once we’ve created the conditions, we also
need to actually make new meaning because the—I’m moving on to the third stage—because
it’s not just about the interruption, as I mentioned. Once we have the interruption, once an inequity
is interrupted, we need to take time. We’re always in such a rush in our schools. We’ve always got the constraints of time working
against us. We need to create time and sacred space for
us to make new meaning of our dilemmas, new meaning of our inequities, and what we learned
in our work is that happens not in one way, not in two: There are three explicit spaces
at least that are necessary for that new meaning to happen. Some of that is work that I have to do on
my own. We all come to this journey in different ways
and on different paths. We need to create space where there is individualized
learning for adults to learn about the inequities and the strategies needed to interrupt those
inequities that might not actually…If we had teacher ed programs that assured we had
equity–minded educators day one, maybe we wouldn’t need to do so much work alone, but
the truth of the matter is we’re in different places and we need to allow and support individual
learning. Not in a way that slows the community down,
however—which is why we also need people working together in affinity. When we talk about “in affinity”…While we
do focus on race and say: race like affinity is important in our schools because in our
schools, there is a racial opportunity gap for students based on how we identify them racially. Affinity could mean other demographics as well. We just say, when we talk about affinity we
ask, “Who the students you’re least reaching?” and that is an indicator of a place where
some of the work in affinity might need to happen. The reason we do work in affinity is that—for
some of us, affinity spaces are healing places that we can go—especially for our more marginalized
communities—places to go where we can actually be with each other and heal. It’s also a place for us to get mentorship
for those folks who are further along the journey and for those who are newer in the
journey. We need places where we can go and have conversations, and have mentorship, which quite frankly, those across difference don’t need to hear
about. Very frequently…I know that my colleagues
of color talk about needing to be in community because they need to have a conversation—unfiltered,
so that they can be in community with us. And frequently, I know that my people: White
people, we need to be in conversation with each other so that we can say the things that
we’re afraid to say because we might make a mistake but they’re still there and we need
to talk about it and we need to move through some of our work and our colleagues across
difference don’t need to be part of that and hear that. So, we need to do that work in affinity; ultimately
our alone work and our affinity work is so that we can come back—and if it’s without
this third step, we’re missing a critical component—so that we can come back and intentionally
work across difference, and it’s in that across difference work that we find some of the richest
new meaning making of our inequities that are before us. When I think about this as a condition, I
frequently wonder, “How many schools are intentional about creating the space for that type of professional development in these three different spaces?” Only when we create new meaning are we in
a place where we can actually make radical change and bold action rather than just tweaking
what exists. Rather than just moving the chairs on the
Titanic. When we talk about making radical change and
bold action, the truth of the matter is we are stepping out of even just ourselves or
our own communities: we’re talking about these political forces that don’t want change to
actually happen. The status quo serves many, many, many people
in our community and unconsciously or consciously, there are folks who will push back and react
to a change towards justice. We have to be doing a lot of work in the conditions
for radical change and bold action. We have to do a lot of work to prepare and
partner with our larger political systems. We have to literally do a lot of work, even
just around how people experience risk and failure, because we have to be able to take
risks and not succeed—in order to break away from not taking risks but being clear
that we’re not going succeed. This framework, while it may seem like it’s
oversimplified because it’s on one page, results in a continuous and constant cycle of change,
and work, and condition setting, and supporting in the communities that are committed to transformation, and justice. I want to just pause for a second. If we could go not to the next slide but,
to the slide after that. I want to step away from all that technical
description and just walk you through an example in my life where I thought about a time when
I experienced a transformation. I’m oversimplifying it because we know that
a lot goes on in our lives to contribute to change and growth, et cetera, but, I’m hoping
you’ll be able to see how by having the conditions to go through these cycles shift can happen. The experience I’m going just share about
is: my experience with…my relationship with Black female students. And again, as a White male educator, I’m specifically
focusing on my Black female students. When I was a math teacher, I was assigned
and focused—as I mentioned to you at the beginning— the classes where students had
been traditionally least reached. As one might imagine, these were in diverse
schools. These were classes that were made up disproportionately of students of color, and as a math class: disproportionately also of female students. So, in my classes, I prided myself in having
good relationships with my students—and we struggled together, et cetera. I never even was very conscious about the
fact that compared to others in my school, I happened to have successful relationships,
positive, personal relationships with my Black female students. There wasn’t—in my mind, intentional actions
for that. It was my way of teaching, their way of learning. It seemed to go well, so I had in my mindset,
just as an assumption that me [and] Black female students: we hit it off. Then I became a principal and once I became
a principal, almost overnight, my experience—my day to day experience—with my Black female
students was radically different. It was radically different. And the thing for me was—again, unexamined
my stance was, “But I have positive relationships with my Black female students?” I had enough wherewithal to say, “This must
have to do with me being a principal,” and so I just kept my vision on the outside. I was looking out the window and I just was
like, “Oh, this is about them. They have an issue with authority. That’s just good to know.” And then one day, I got a referral for one
of my students, a Black female student. I remember speaking to her counselors, her
advisor—and I could justify this and simply say this was my standard M.O. of working with
students—and I said, “Can you just get me all of her records before I meet? Can I see her previous referrals, her attendance
records, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera?” She was being referred for defiance. A senior. The adult looked at me—her advisor looked
at me—and gave me the most quizzical look as if I had three heads, and she said, “Greg,
this is our valedictorian. She has no file.” I remember in that moment, that turned into…She
wasn’t trying to interrupt me, it was actually a catalytic experience for me. I remember in that moment, something shifted. I don’t know what exactly happened but in
that moment, I was like, “Oh my gosh. This is me. This isn’t about her; this isn’t about them;
it’s me.” That, regardless of what my previous experiences
were, regardless of what my new role was, I had not been in a place yet to examine and
look in the mirror and say, “There is some implicit bias that I have about Black female
students and it is playing out. And probably, playing out even if I have strong
relationships with my Black female students.” Something shifted, and I was like, “Well,
if I’ve got a bias, I’m not going solve this on my own.” So, in my “New Meaning Making,” I actually
wanted to own my work. I basically went on a listening campaign where
I just needed to humble myself and just: listen, listen, listen across difference. Listen to the wisdom of those who were successful
with our Black female students; who were Black female students; who were the families of
Black female students; et cetera; and I wanted to make my struggle transparent to hold me
accountable. I shared with folks that this is what I was
struggling with and I wanted to be a learner, I wanted to be a receptacle and not the leader
of that work. I did so much learning in seeking out those
partnerships, and doing readings, and making that a focus—literally a focus of my own
improvement—that my change…my radical change for me, was I got to a place where
I had to recognize that, that bias would never go away: that I would only be able to have
some level of responsibility, of checking it. So, I really, created this mantra—and again,
I made this mantra public with those close to me—was that I was going assume that when
I was working with my students across difference, that my bias was playing out. I was going assume that, and I created structures,
and I created reminders for me to check my bias in multiple ways: seeking data, critical
friendship, et cetera, whenever I was engaging in a high leverage or high stakes interaction
because of my power—my position of power—versus the interaction with my students across difference. As a result, over time—by me constantly
checking myself and checking my bias, some of that stuff becomes internalized and I feel
positive about the continued dialogue that happens even now, years and years later. That’s just an example. And if we were to go back to the slide before
that, you’ll see how it’s just a blank version of this. While we can’t be this interactive on a webinar,
I wanted to still share this because my question with you is—just for your own learning and
trying to track—again, oversimplifying it into boxes. Where’s a moment where your schema, where
your way of understanding or seeing something shifted—and in no way needing to be shifted
permanently but just shifted. What were the conditions that allowed for it? How were you aware of your stance going into this? What allowed for the interruption? What was the interruption or the catalytic
experience? How did you make new meaning and what changed
in your actions as a result of this? As we move, like I said for the webinar, we’re
just going focus on the first two stages in this framework. And again, between now and the next webinar,
I encourage you to read the changing the… I’m sorry, “Bridging the Gap” article. As we think about this idea of stance and
schema awareness—the identity work we need to do about our individual and shared history,
just keep in mind, when in your life has your own awareness or unawareness of yourself,
in the skin you are in, been keenly influential to you and your work? If we can move on to the next slide… I often remind people, just because… Just like Leora mentioned, when we talk about
implicit bias—implicit to whom. Sometimes because the work we need to do is
unknown to us, we think it’s unknown to everybody and students are often the voice that is my
check to reality. I love this quote from a high school senior
where she says, “I actually think that it is true, that teachers are taught to base…to
judge students when they first see them. Let’s say they’re Black or something…some teachers will kind of be with a cautious approach…watching them and how they act, or some teachers will
just judge them and just separate them or something.” Next slide. When we think about the stance and schema
awareness, again, we’re talking about this is not a “one and done,” but the work of constantly
and continuously deepening our awareness and knowledge of ourselves, our system, but also
of others in our seeking to be allies across difference. What in our schools are we doing? What in our districts and communities are
we doing to allow and sort of lift up that work? It’s important to know that we are doing this
work in part to learn and understand that cultural differences are not barriers. We have to flip the script and recognize that
our differences are not barriers but actually assets. So, there’s an operant theory that we need
to be able to support and so we need to create opportunities for us to study—study our
identity, study the system’s identity and study our history—and those are two different
things: doing identity work and doing history work. While it’s a Venn diagram and they overlap,
it’s important to know that both of those are important, because when we’re talking
about history, we’re not just talking about formative points in history. We’re also talking about the cumulative effect
of history. When I hear about, “that was then, this was
now,” when people say, “Well, slavery is over,”—besides the fact that some would argue, “No, in many
ways it’s not,” and there’s examples of it, there’s still the cumulative impact or effect
that slavery has had—not just on Black people in our country but on our country, on our
society. We also want to constantly be in touch with
our current reality. So, we need to create systems and opportunity
to consistently interrogate both quantitative and qualitative data regularly but also, publicly. We want to share meaning making around what
the data is telling us about our community. And another piece of that qualitative data
is to be looking at our school design and decisions and ask critical questions. Who does and who does this not benefit? Next slide, please. One of the pieces of work that we…Just to
share an example of this work, you’ve heard me use this terminology “the skin we are in,”
it’s important to understand that when we’re talking about “the skin we’re in,” yes, we
are talking about race in America, that, race is unapologetically something that we need
to focus on but it’s really all of the formative experiences and you’ve heard me scaffolding
throughout this conversation examples of formative experiences. This is just one example of how we might create
the opportunity for each other to explore our culture, explore our identity and how
our experiences consciously or unconsciously might be showing up with us, influencing our
actions with our students—both students who are like us and unlike us. Just as an example, you’ll see this little
gingerbread person over here and I did some of that work and I won’t go through it in
great detail, but I will share with you how I used this with my colleagues and with others. Imagine a blank gingerbread person where you’re
asking yourself, “What are those formative experiences and identities? What are the experiences that you just carry
with you? What are the identities—that parts of your
culture and how you self-identify, that you carry with you?” Again, consciously or unconsciously. This is something you could be reflecting
on for a very long time. What I like to do is I like to use the outline
of the gingerbread person to distinguish how I see myself versus how others see me. So, when I…what’s on the inside of the gingerbread
person…You’ll notice some is on the inside and outside, very much by design. But what’s on the inside of the gingerbread
person is what people might not know about me when they first see me—unless they get
to know me but it’s still something that’s important and influential in how I show up. On the outside, this is what people might
see or might think of me because it’s not just how I see myself that’s informed in how
I exist in this world and how I react in this world but, how I’m perceived also has a great
impact on how I exist in this world. If we don’t think that’s true, ask our students. Our students are very keen. They’re keenly aware of this through their
lens of fairness. So, what I know is on the outside, I am seen
as White and I am White and that affects how I show up every day. I am male.
I am married. People know I’m married because they see a
ring on my finger or they assume I’m married, et cetera. Just a couple of examples on the inside of
what people don’t know—especially if we’re not talking or engaging, if they just see
me and they see the ring—they don’t know that I’ve been married four times. I’ve been married four times because I got
married…my partner and I got married every single time we could because for us, it was
about politics, it was about social justice, and it was about love. It was about all of that. And so, three of our marriages were because the state said we could as a gay couple—get married. One of them, had nothing to do with the law
and we had all of the hundreds of people join us and witness it, et cetera. And so, there’s pieces…and these are very
formative experiences because I also identify as both politically and sexually queer. On the inside—and what people wouldn’t know—because
I have a position of power, they wouldn’t know that on the inside I was bullied nearly
every single day of my school career. That shows up with me. That plays out. Again, there’s more here. I use this as an example and I would ask you
to, sort of, look at that and think about why I might have put that in. If this was not a webinar, I would speak more
to it. But similarly, with your blank gingerbread
person: Who are you in the skin you are in? What is it that shows up with you—whether
you are conscious or unconscious of it, into your work, every single day? If we can go on to the next slide, please. Leora’s going close out this section. DR. LEORA WOLF-PRUSAN
Yeah, we’re going do this briefly because I want to give time to the next stage that
is really crucial in this work, but we wanted to offer folks time in the chat box for you
to offer, “When in your life has your own awareness or unawareness of yourself, in the
skin that you are in, been keenly influential to you and your work?” And I want to offer that you could also not
only include your personal experiences, but you could also put in the chat box questions
that are coming up for you. Sometimes I know that I often grapple with,
“How do I live in what I’m aware but also put myself in contexts where what I am unaware
of can become something I’m aware of?” And often times, that only comes from explicitly
putting myself as an educator in contexts that are uncomfortable—in contexts across
difference, so that the pieces that I might be unaware of suddenly become forefront. It doesn’t also mean that what I was unaware
of was not influencing my work. They were absolutely, right? That’s the under the surface influencing the
above the surface. I want to offer for you, if feel willing and
comfortable to put in the chat box. Again, if not your personal experience, questions
in your practice of what’s coming up. That can also serve as supporting our dialogue. Greg, we’re going move forward. DR. GREGORY PETERS
Sounds great. The slideshow you all have…I’m actually
going go through a couple of slides a little bit quickly or just even pass them. For this next one, we’re going talk about
the second stage, about: developing community and shared agreements and practice as conditions
for interrupting inequities. I’m just going push forward to the next slide. And, there’s a quote here—a very powerful
quote, and I just want you to, as I read this, to ask—just be in touch with what’s the
feeling that comes up for you. We won’t report out. I just want you to be in touch with it, and
so Chief Joseph said, “Good words will not give my people good health and stop them from
dying. Good words will not get my people a home where
they can live in peace and take care of themselves. I am tired of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when I remember all
the good words and broken promises.” Leora was talking about the importance of
us knowing and interrupting dominant discourse. The framework that I went over—the four
stages. The interesting thing about that work is that
people—when we talk to people, are looking for the curriculum around it, and [while]
there’s tons of curriculum to support us in it but it’s not a book where you go step by
step over the course of X number of weeks. The key to all of those stages—the one key
to all of those stages, is discourse. And what I really appreciate about what Leora
was surfacing was that, it’s not just discourse, but we have to be conscious about what kind
of discourse are we talking about? Are we talking about dominant discourse or
are we talking about radical discourse? When I talk about radical discourse, I’m not
just talking about blasphemous. I’m actually going back to the mathematical
word “radical.” The discourse that gets to the root of an
issue, the root of the matter. That discourse—the dominant discourse, that’s
going be a lot of talk and not a lot of action. The radical discourse—I actually think what
Chief Joseph is doing here is radical discourse, and it doesn’t feel good. That’s actually a nice sign, quite frankly,
that we might be in the right discourse. So, if we can go on to the next slide please. Just very quickly, when we’re talking about
disrupting our mental models of our identity and our histories, we’re talking about the
importance of developing shared buy–in, community agreements, calibrating expectations,
and we have to constantly and continuously deepen and develop our community and trust,
we want to practice using equity centered rituals or protocols, calibrate our language…It’s
constantly be sharing stories across difference. If we don’t actually take the time for us
to be sharing stories and hearing from each other, we’re missing a big piece of that discourse,
and be in this work constantly and continuously. If we can go on to the next slide, please. There’s a seminal piece of work by researchers
Eubanks, Parrish, and Smith, that has really been powerful in our work and elevating sort
of, the difference between that dominant discourse and that radical discourse. They call this “Discourse One” and “Discourse
Two” and what they’re saying is that the current design and structure of schools are one that
are: we have Discourse One schools and their suggestion is that we need to be moving towards
the place of having our schools be Discourse Two schools. Discourse One, they define as, “The language
typically used to talk about, question, and plan the work of schools, change or reform. Discourse One dialogue supports and maintains
the status quo without appearing unresponsive to outside demands for improvement.” Discourse One is not language that’s hurtful
or hateful or harmful. Discourse One is that good-intentioned language
that sounds like we’re doing things but all we’re doing is reproducing the same results. While in Discourse Two, they define that as,
“The language that tends to be about uncomfortable, unequal, ineffective, prejudicial conditions
and relationships in schools. Discourse Two opens up the space for ambiguity
and change to be parts of purposeful structure.” In your…you will see the text we’re referring
to in your handouts. If not, I’ll make sure it’s there. But if we could just go ahead and go to the
next slide. Even after reading this heavy but important
text, people frequently are challenged by what does Discourse One sound like? What does Discourse Two sound like? So, what we decided to do [is] create some
tools to help people do this. This is not a checklist. This is just meant to be examples and my question
to a community is always, “What does Discourse One sound like in your community?” and, “How
can we turn this into Discourse Two?” For example: Discourse One deals with the
work of adults and sound like, “We can’t expect every teacher to know every student’s culture.” That’s reasonable. That’s a reasonable thing to hear. It’s just not going to lead us to the transformation
we need. While on the other side, Discourse Two, not
as a…The topics go together, the quotes don’t. Discourse Two deals with the learning and
experiences of students, and sounds like, “What LGBTQ students have to say about how
they’re experiencing school and us?” So, you can see how that’s a little bit more
ambiguous. It opens up the possibility of really hard
work. Discourse One is another example that deals
with systemic and social reproduction, hegemony, and sounds like, “Look at the parents. The apple does not fall from the tree.” So, it might help us to understand what’s
happening but it’s not a helpful statement at all. While Discourse Two deals with interruption
and transformation and sounds like, “When a student gets an F, who failed what? … Who failed whom?” We’re trying to flip the script here. Discourse One deals with how adults talk about
student learning experiences and sounds like, “One student should not stop other students
from learning.” I’ve heard this a thousand times. Discourse Two, on the other hand, deals with
how students talk about student learning experiences, “Only the Black kids get kicked out of her
class, because we’re loud but that’s because we never get help and are bored, so we play
around.” What we’re trying to do is one of the most
important ways that we can change the conditions so that we are accepting of interruptive experiences
and the transformation needed, is literally to think about how is it that we talk? This would be a text that I would strongly
encourage people to read and again—when we think about resources, there’s ways of
moving deeper into this. If we can move on to the next one, and I apologize,
I’m going very, very quickly here. We’re not going to go into this for time purposes,
but what I want to just say is we talk about norms as a condition for how we have conversation. I just want to challenge us to think about
how our norms explicitly or implicitly represent dominant culture. When we talk about being on time, this is
about compliance and control—and quite frankly I don’t know other jobs where it has to be
a norm that you’re striving to be on time versus it’s your job. Really, when we think about norms, we want
to talk about things that we should be stretching to, things that should be difficult for us
to do. It should not be bare minimum expectations—or
professional expectations but, the norms should describe how we want to be when we are together,
working with each other, through a social justice and equity lens. So again, I apologize that we’re running out
of time, but I’ve got some examples showing on the left: be on time versus stay engaged;
be respectful versus experience discomfort; step up, step back versus pay attention to
patterns of participation; and assume best intentions versus speak your truth. So, hopefully, those are good nuggets to just
have you muse over. Now I’ll pass it back to Leora. DR. LEORA WOLF-PRUSAN
Taking a breath, Greg, because that was a lot in a short amount of time. For those of you, I want to hold everyone…If,
again, if you are interested in more learning, our contact information and references and
resources are at the end, and so I want to hold space for that. We’re closing stage two with the essential
question of asking us to do some deep inquiry around: when we have faced an interruption
in our own schema, in our own way in which we approach ourselves—the skin that we live
in, and how we arrive at our work, and also in our relationships and in our worldview,
and what allowed for that to happen? I think if you haven’t picked up on it by
now, one tool—a radical tool that we are encouraging—is to do some adoption of some
real Discourse Two, right? The way in which the interruptions happen,
or the way in which we decide to check the assumed way that we do, be, know under the
surface. To call out and become… Move that unawareness into awareness so that
the over the surface starts to actually become intentional, authentic, and eventually equitable. And with that, I’m going to move to the last
slide that offers more questions to bring back to your practice. I know that most of you are either in a cubicle,
office, car, or school and you’ve got a lot of things to do this afternoon and so what
we wanted to do was offer you some questions to marinate in so that you can continue to
make meaning of this learning.

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