About my work

My work focuses broadly on preparing teachers to disrupt systems of oppression in K12 U.S. schools. In particular, I am interested in the design of teacher preparation courses and university-based programs, and the instructional tools used in them, that support teachers’ development of pedagogies that likewise serve to interrupt historical and current inequities in U.S. schools.  First and foremost, I seek to better understand learning trajectories for teachers’ development as anti-oppressive educators, especially as related to concepts around professional responsibility and professional judgment.  Related to this, I look at how critical incidents — the moments in which teachers are “pulled up short” (Gadamer, 1980; Kerdeman, 2003) and made to see their assumptions, biases, and prejudices — can help teachers develop.  Finally, I am interested in instructional tools that provide a safe, supportive setting for future teachers to learn from their own missteps but that also protect actual students, families, and communities from the cumulative effects of micro aggressions and overt prejudice they regularly experience in schools at the hands of “colorblind” teachers, administrators, and systems.

My research explores instructional tools that help teachers recognize their assumptions, biases, and prejudices within the context of systems of oppression. My current research is a design-based experiment using simulations in social foundations courses in both preservice and inservice teacher education programs. In these live-actor simulations, teachers encounter a common problem of practice through interaction with a student, parent, or colleague, played by an actor. The approach is a modified version of the standardized patient encounter in medical education and loosely based on previous work with clinical simulations in teacher education. This work has been featured in articles on EdWeek and Chalkbeat and on a podcast for Leading Lines. In my future research, I seek to further refine these tools, especially in order to better support teachers more advanced in their development as socially just educators. I am especially interested in looking at how the needs of teachers from non-dominant communities — for example, teachers who are of color, bi- or multi-lingual, differently abled, or part of the LGBTQ community — can be better met, both to elevate their perspectives related to their lived experience and to further develop them as change agents within systems of oppression.

Within teacher education, I am interested in developing theory to support the reappropriation of instructional tools from one professional setting to another.  Also, I seek to explore my own role as a person from dominant communities in the work of preparing culturally and linguistically diverse teachers.

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