This week, I went to the annual National Association of Multicultural Education Conference (NAME) in Salt Lake City, Utah and I must say that it was a very timely and necessary conference meeting that happened.
First, I want to say that I really enjoyed myself at this conference! It was great listening to fellow scholars, teachers, and educational practitioners theorize and share their research on how to best create equitable spaces for children of diverse backgrounds in K-12 classroom. I went to a few sessions and presentations, so I’ll share out the speakers’ name & content info that I received during their sessions.
Gloria Ladson-Billings, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “What We Not Finna Do Is: Reviving the Tradition of Resistance in Multicultural Education”
- The power of language as it language can (and sometimes cannot) accurately capture what one is thinking.
- Different Types of Knowledge: Joyce King’s Knowledge Categories–Invisibilizing Knowledge; Marginalizing Knowledge; Expanding Knowledge; Deciphering Knowledge
- She spoke of the pioneers of multicultural education to acknowledge that they were creating a true paradigm shift of how we think about knowledge/curriculum, truth, and history in K-12 schools and higher education programs.
- There are 3 acts of resistance: (1) Resist the master/dominant narrative; (2) Resist stale pedagogies; (3) Resist the temptation to comply….in other words–be active!
- Ladson-Billings also showed a powerful image (I’ll upload a picture of it as soon as my phone acts right!) where she compares a picture of Kaepernick kneeling to a picture of the 1968 Olympic Games where Tommie Smith & Juan Carlos extended their fists to show support of the Black Power Movement of the time. I thought this was a powerful image and I appreciate where Ladson-Billings was going with this. This juxtaposition of these two images is a whole other blog post on its own.
Chanelle Wilson-Poe, University of Delaware: “Race Matters!: Cultivating equity literacy and racial literacy through critical inquiry with pre-service teachers”
This was a very informative and engaging presentation by this SisterScholar. Ms. Wilson-Poe, through frameworks of culturally relevant pedagogy, constructivist-based learning, and racial/equity literacy, wanted to examine how teacher candidates understood and made sense of their knowledges of race and equity. From this qualitative study, these were her goals & findings:
- Explore a commitment to equity to increase racial literacy
- Build teacher candidates’ racial literacy by focusing on racial identity & bias–specifically whiteness
- Engage in inquiry & reflection to support the building of racial literacy and equity-based literacy practices.
- Another finding that Wilson-Poe found was that candidates assumed that just because a K-12 student was black, for example, that the student was also poor. In other words, poverty is not synonymous to race, but this not how some of the teacher candidates understood this phenomenon.
Kristina Ruggles, Utah Valley University: “Re-imagining our practice: Recognizing & Utilizing Students’ Assets in Teaching”
I thought that this presentation was very eye-opening and informative as well as it encouraged the participants to consider the practical aspects of asset-based teaching. Asset-based teaching is a pedagogy in which the educator approaches teaching with the strengths, gifts, and talents within the curriculum. Asset-based teaching stands in stark contrast to deficit-based teaching, in which the students’ funds-of-knowledge, backgrounds, and interests are not valued and even more, are viewed as a limiting, unimportant, or irrelevant aspect of teaching.
Ruggles defines students assets as: Funds of Knowledge (Moll et al); Community Cultural Wealth (Tara Yosso); Sociocultural (Banks, Gay, Nieto); Strengths & Interests (Dewey). Ruggles argues that research has demonstrated that when educators focus on assets, rather than deficits, student success significantly increases.
Now, one thing I wish to add about this term “asset-based teaching”….One, in my opinion, this argument that is made about asset-based teaching has been the crutch of the literature in multicultural education, culturally relevant/responsive pedagogy, and equity-based pedagogies. However, asset-based teaching is giving specific reference to the term assets which is emphasizes the students strengths specifically.
All in all, I thought this was a very powerful, informative, and timely conference. I was very excited to be there and I’ll definitely be at the next one, which will be in Memphis, Tenn, 2018. Visit http://www.nameorg.org for more details.