Justice in Practice: Practice-Based Approaches to Learning to Teach for Social Justice

CMEI Colloquium
Longfellow Hall, Harvard Graduate School of Education
December 3, 2013

As more scholars are taking up the concept of core practices, research on teaching is focusing less on the beliefs and characteristics of effective teachers, instead turning attention to identifying and decomposing ambitious teaching practices. To date, core practice scholarship has primarily taken place among scholars interested in content-specific instructional methods in mathematics, science, and English language arts particularly. This talk applied the conceptual and pedagogical tools being used by scholars of core practices to re-imagine the goals and pedagogies of teaching for social justice, as it is usually covered in foundations courses in teacher education. Sarah Kavanagh proposed a conceptual, curricular, and pedagogical approach to understanding teaching for social justice as a set of practices that are identifiable, decomposable, and able to be taken up by novices. Employing conceptual tools from theories of practice and theories of justice to conceptualize the work of teaching for social justice, the talk explored potential core practices of teaching for social justice and pedagogical approaches to teaching those practices to novices.

Speaker Biography:

Dr. Sarah Schneider Kavanagh is a research scientist studying teacher education. Prior to her current role, Dr. Kavanagh was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University's Center to Support Excellence in Teaching.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where she directed Teacher Education by Design (TEDD.org), an open-source curricular library of practice-based tools for teacher education with a membership of teacher educators that spans over 200 school districts and 75 institutions of higher education. She currently directs the Mentor Labs Project, a collaboration between Seattle-area schools and five teacher education programs investigating innovative approaches to teacher mentoring. She began her career in education as a classroom teacher first in the Bay area and then in the Baltimore area.  Her work has appeared in the American Educational Research Journal (forthcoming), Teachers College Record (2016), the Journal of Teacher Education (2013 and forthcoming), and other journals.