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101. Teaching History for Justice with Dr. Kaylene Stevens and Dr. Christopher Martell

by Lindsay Lyons
February 7th 2023
As educators, our classrooms should be mimic movement building. Teaching students to be activists is essential, and th... More
We are in for a treat Today listeners. We have the authors of a book that I absolutely love teaching history for justice. Centering activism in students study of the past. This book was phenomenal. There was research, there was brilliant, there was freedom dreaming, there was was tons of connections to other stuff we've talked about on the podcast before. There were case studies of here's what it could look like in your class at all these levels. It was absolutely phenomenal. So our guests today are the authors of that book. We have dr chris martell and dr Kaylene stevens on the podcast. I'm gonna do a quick intro of both of them and then we'll get right to the conversation. Dr chris martell is an associate professor of social cities education at the University of massachusetts boston where he teaches social studies methods courses and supervises student teachers. He's authored numerous research articles and books. His current research focuses on teacher education across the career span, with a specific focus on social justice pedagogy and in great based instruction in the history classroom. Both Colin and chris were also formerly social studies teachers at Framingham High School in Framingham massachusetts, which is super cool because that's where I live and I work with that team there now Doctor Kaylene stevens is the program director for the social studies education at boston University Wheelock College of Education and Human development and current lecturer in the department of teaching and learning.

She is a faculty affiliate with boston University's Center for anti racist research. Her research interests lie in how to best include marginalized groups in the social studies classroom and curricula as well as how to lift up the voices of teachers prior to her work at boston University. She of course was a public school teacher and department head at Framingham. She's had several publications on gender equitable and race conscious teaching in the social studies classroom and her work has been featured in the Journal of Social Studies Research and Theory and research in social education. Here we go, everybody. This is a fantastic conversation and let's get right to it. I'm educational justice coach lindsey Lyons and here on the time for Teacher ship podcast, we learn how to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice design curricula grounded in student voice and build capacity for shared leadership. I'm a former teacher leader turned instructional coach. I'm striving to live a life full of learning, running, baking, traveling and parenting because we can be rockstar educators and be full human beings if you're a principal assistant superintendent, curriculum director, instructional coach or teacher who enjoys nursing out about co creating curriculum with students.

I made this show for you. Here we go. Dr Kaylene stevens and dr chris martell. Welcome to the time for Teacher Ship podcast. How's it going? Thank you so much for being here. I'd love to just hear if there's anything that either or both of you want to say to frame the conversation today. Well, I mean, we're on here talking about ways that history teachers can use their classrooms to teach about justice, which includes activists and movements. And so I think as we kind of get into the conversation Kelly and I will be thinking a lot about all the many teachers we've learned from over the years. Um our book is based on 10 years of researching um social studies teachers and 20 years of being social studies teachers. So, um much of our ideas are not our own, but really are borrowed from all the excellent teachers we've we've worked with and studied over the years.

Yeah, I love how Chris always says our book, Teaching History for Justice is it's not just our book, but it's a combination of all the teachers that we researched all the teachers we work with our work as classroom teachers and public school teachers. Um I think it's almost like a love letter to all these people who have been doing this teaching for Justice work for so long. And I always say when we're talking about teaching for justice work, it's not about um checking a box or okay, I've arrived. It's work that you have to do every day. It's daily work. It's it's unlearning so much and working in the systems of oppression that we all live. Um, so it's about sort of digging deep every day. So I think that sometimes you want to think, oh, I've arrived, I've done it. I've checked this box and now I I am an anti racist teacher, but it's it's a daily work. I love that framing and I think that enables people to move towards action right?

Instead of kind of being frozen in that fear of it's not perfect yet. So I think that's a really great point. Excellent. So in terms of this, I think this is actually your work is so perfectly aligned to dr Bettina loves writings and what she talks about and I love what she says about freedom dreaming where she describes it as dreams grounded in the critique of injustice. And so I think it is so clear that there is alignment there with your book in this framework. But could you each answer maybe what's that big dream that you do hold for curriculum and instruction and even specifically for history curriculum loves work is so inspirational to our book. In fact I teach a class now E D two A five, it's designing learning experiences and I've used love as the foundational text for for that book. I guess if I was freedom dreaming, my hope is that if we teach If the curriculum and what we teach and how we teach in schools becomes different and becomes a way to examine the oppressive structures that exist, then the values of our country will start to change.

We write in the book about how a lot of groups in power think everything's okay. I think there's a quote that says 37% of white Americans feel um that only only 37% of white americans feel that the country must go further in providing equal rights for people of color. So that means the majority of white americans think everything's just fine, same thing. Um only 42% of american men feel there's a need for gender equality and only 37% of upper and middle class americans believe that the advantages in life, our personal wealth is the main factor. So, you know, those who are in power think, oh everything's just fine. And I think teaching the oppressive structures that exist and teaching history different and teaching it from away from that great man, that white male rich perspective that one person swooped in and made everything great or made the changes.

I mean our books about activism and movements from the ground up. So teaching about students how to be activists and about activist movements might change the way we, what we value in our society. So I almost think if we can change what we, what we teach, maybe hopefully the values in our society can slowly start to change too. Yeah. And I think that what Kaylene saying, um, you know, I the reality is that our student population, particularly students of color, are increasing in the United States. Yet the the teaching force is still overwhelmingly white. Of course our books for, for all teachers, we hope it's for all teachers, but we definitely especially want to change the pedagogy of white teachers. Um, and I think Pitino, I think all white teachers need to read. Bettina loves work because it will help them understand um, a very different way of a very asset based way of thinking about their students of color in particular, their black students.

So um, you know, white teachers need to listen and learn from their colleagues of color, their students of color scholars of color, um, to really um, you know, figure out ways to uplift their students of color, find ways to help the students of color see see themselves in the curriculum and then um understand how their ancestors resisted, but also how their ancestors found joy. And I think that there are some key aspects of her book. So I know I've read it multiple times, I'm sure Kaylene has as well. And you know, and, and, and I, you know, I guess my my freedom dreaming is that white people will read it and take it to heart deeply and then try to do better and be better. Yeah. And to chris's point, like I think that sometimes the most marginalized groups like feel the double burden of being marginalized and then also having to be the sole advocate for their marginalized groups. So like if men never helped with the Me Too movement, there would be no movement, right?

We need, um, you know, men to care about women's issues and we need white people to realize that they need to be activists and anti racist in their own teaching. So I think that's a big dream for us freedom dream. Those are wonderful responses. I love that. Speaking to so many of the demographics that are realities, speaking to that kind of discomfort. And I love how in the book you write about the need to be uncomfortable, right as why educators and that this is ultimately going to shift values. Like I think that's why I got into teaching. My parents are both teachers and I said, I will never become a teacher because of that and then became one because I was like, how do we ultimately shift the values in our society to be more justice focused and like this is it right here. So I, I love that. That's kind of the ultimate goal and I think it will happen. I have hope. I'm wondering now too, I talk a lot about the ideas of kind of like our mind set. Our cultures at school are student centered pedagogy and student voice. Um, this idea of like an activist, project based assessment and also the content itself being identity affirming reflecting like you were saying collective movement, practice joy.

I'm, I think you've already spoken to us a little bit, but to do elaborate on how any of those pieces kind of resonate with your approach to justice center curriculum design everyone. It's Lindsay just popping in here quick to say that today's free resources very connected to helping teachers and departments create anti racist curriculum. I'm linking my exact planner that I use in curriculum boot camp and you can find that at lindsey Lyons dot com slash blog slash one oh one Back to the conversation to be filled, right? And the mindset is your values and beliefs, which their foundation for all the other stages. And I think one of the things that was important with chris and I and writing our book, teaching History for justice is really about making this practical, So many educators that we work with as teacher educators are like, yeah, I want to be an anti racist teacher. I want to combat sexism and classism and all able ism and heteronormative culture in my classroom, but like tell me how, so we wanted there to be a practicality to our work.

Um, that can often be, let me put this nicely, can often be um, forgotten in academia. Sometimes there's so much of a focus on theory and um, the practice reality can often be overlooked. So if we think about the mindset as the sort of the foundation and the theory all around that and then thinking about practical ways to address like your pedagogy, like for example, you can have another teacher come in your classroom or an observer and say, how many people that identify as boys am I calling on people that identify as girls? Am I calling on, how many students of color am I calling on whose voices of my privileges, who's talking just doing a simple call call account. Like there's really practical ways to see like who were getting space to in the classroom. We can look at the content obviously. And are we teaching? Uh, you know, in the book we talk about social inquiry and critical multiculturalism and social inquiry. Are we teaching about people of color and nuanced and complex ways.

You mentioned joy and resistance and not only talking about black people or people of color in the curriculum when it's enslavement or civil rights. So it's, it's those ideas of, of thinking about your content and in your curriculum in a really a really deep, deep way. Yeah. And I think, um, you know, with these, these four different kind of buckets as Kaylene called them. Um, they can be either done in, you know, anti racist way. So they can be done in racist ways, right? Like I think about testing right? Like we can look at paradise testing as kind of being a perpetually racist device. Um, we can look at, you know, uh, and I'm talking about generally when they're multiple choice tests or short open responses. Um, and, and that kind of change each of these and reimagine them in ways that focus on justice or focus on equity in the, in the book. We talk about, you know, assessment. um as not kind of a standardized form, but as much more kind of, you know, paul would have called it kind of like a problem solving um pedagogy and so assessment should also be problem solving right.

Like if students aren't trying to address problems than what are they doing, you know, like, I don't know, doing summary essay on what happened during the american revolution is not going to transform the world, but thinking about, you know, does our country um uphold the values that the revolution was about? And or should we change our values would be a very important question to ask. Um which rarely are gonna be asked in kind of your state standardized test, right? Or or the S. A. T. Or whatever. Um And and so with that, I think, you know, with all of these, um obviously like mindset is really important. I feel like mindset almost cuts across the other three and that um you know, teachers really need to think about their position. Al Itty um you know, white teachers approach this differently than teachers of color. Um Same with straight teachers approach is different than queer teachers or women teachers approach it differently than men. Teachers, and it's about really kind of being self reflective as a teacher.

Um particularly for white teachers, thinking about power and privilege. Teachers of color in a system that often doesn't in power kind of trusting themselves to to, you know, uh to do this work. And um you know, i I I think that ultimately with that. Um and you know, we're not particularly troubling time. I mean, um I think there's, you know, how many states have passed anti divisive concept laws or anti critical Race theory laws. Um and with that, I will also say, you know, the response I often hear is we don't teach critical race theory, the K 12 level. And that deeply troubles me because at its core, Critical Race theory is teaching about systemic racism. So why aren't we teaching that the K 12 level? I know I did as a teacher. Um Yeah, maybe we don't call it that academic term, but like um so this idea of um you know, teachers need to kind of change their their change their mindset, but also consider their position al Itty.

So, um I think, I don't know Caitlin, do you wanna talk a little bit about what we've been doing lately? We've kind of renegade teachers. And I mean, just like, two minutes before we went into this podcast, I got an email from someone at bu saying um can we do Q. And A about Virginia's Governor proposing? Have you seen this chris proposing like new history standards? So all over the country, right? The don't say gay in florida, all the sort of terrible bands. The book banning that has increased um this backlash against critical race theory when as chris mentioned earlier, teaching about race and racism is part of what we need to do as educators. Um, and that's been that has been a common principle for many, many years. And then there's a fear that is sort of created and manipulated by groups who for some reason are really interested or are fearful of what's being taught in school and using words like a doctor are being taught to hate myself and all these things.

So when chris and I do our our professional development, whether we're presenting to high school teachers or middle school teachers or school teachers or even done professors, um, curriculum writers, they the question comes up, what do I do about parents or what do I do about if I have a community that's not supportive? And we're talking now we're actually working an article about like being renegade and then being like subversive. So like the different ways in which you can do this work. So knowing, we talked about knowing the context in which you work in knowing the climate creating allies, making allies who who a community of people who who also want to be anti racist educators, or you also see the social studies classroom as a mechanism introduced sexism. Classism, racism, sort of all the ills that affect our society. So, finding an an ally in allies in your group, We also think a little bit about if you are in one of those contexts where there are being laws passed and there's a school board that that doesn't necessarily embody the values that you've been taught in your teacher education program or that you believe this idea of starting local.

So we want to teach activism, right? We want to teach our students to be activists, but we don't necessarily need to tell them what to care about. So whether that's uh, you know, cleaning up the local like park or um, doing a food drive for the Salvation Army or like in my own classroom, we raised money for needle, which is the National in disorder Association was one of our students. Um, she wanted to come out and share that she disorder. So, um, we took a whole like couple week long project and we partnered with the art department and we made a paper mushake barbie and the report, they were really frightening. And we had P. S. A. And we raised money for Nita and people are not going to criticize the fact that, you know, we're raising money for an organization that's treating young people for eating disorders. Um, it's about teaching students to use the levers of democracy to to make changes.

And when there's so much fear around that, I think if you open it up and you start locally right? Um, then that alleviate some of the fear like this is what we're doing right. We're raising money for this organization or this is what your students care about. And we're showing them how to write letters to the congress people, but I think chris can speak to that. And then there's sometimes where you have to work against the system. Yeah. I mean, our idea of kind of a renegade comes from like Ron and her colleagues kind of work where they say like socialist teachers who are doing social justice work need to be renegades. And, and, and in writing our book, we realized in some places that's easier than others, right? So it depends on you have to know your like political, your local political context, your, your local communities values. But this work can be done everywhere. So even if you're doing it more subversively, you're approaching it in a way that's still centering justice and it's still getting student, you know, and all. Whenever the idea of indoctrination is brought up, you know, it often is coming from the people that would prefer education to be indoctrination and they're trying to hedge it so that you think that they're not doing that, right?

So, you know, the people claiming that teaching kids about social justice and having them think about what that is having them maybe look at the past through those lenses are not really interested in, you know, what they're labeling divisive concepts or things they disagree with, right? So, um, and so there's teachers that have to work in that context. There's a reality there. And so I think, you know, kind of being an undercurrent and doing what is right and allowing students to have a space uh to do this. You know, I just read it was like a uh what was the piece I read recently, but it was a teacher talking about um politics. It was one of the it's like watching post story or something where they were talking about teachers in this current climate, and the teacher said, um students can talk about politics really well, and you can talk about controversial topics really well. It's actually the adults that have a hard time doing that, right. And so I I live with that, right? Like, we're doing this for the students.

They need a world where their teachers allow them to have that space to unpack these ideas and we need to do it. We need to figure out how to do it regardless of what, you know, the community is saying, especially that community is not um caring for their students in a way that would allow them to have these spaces. We always say that teaching is a political act, doesn't need to be partisan, but it's a political act. Like just the act of teaching and teaching your students about democracy is so important. So, again, you work within your system, like you find your ally teachers, you find your community, you you do your local your local projects, and then there are times where, as chris said, you need to take a moral stance and you might have to work against the system and you might have to protest the school board and depending on your status in the community and the number of years you've been teaching and how many allies you have, You make choices about when you need to work against the system, um, to, to fight um injustices and to stand for what's just, I love so much of what you all just said, I really appreciate the local peace and the framing of activism as not partisan, right?

It's just giving students meaningful opportunities to lead and take action and engage in democracy, right? Like this is I think one of the biggest barriers, I think sometimes to just like that cringe reaction of like collectivism, Oh no, that must stay out of the classroom, right? And it's like, no, this is we want students to be able to pursue justice in whatever way that looks like for them, right? And they can care like you said about different things and that is such a defining thing. If if listeners get one thing out of this episode, I think that is a huge one if they've been grappling with that, particularly administrators who are often like the containers for being able to enable students or teachers to do this work and ultimately students to do this work. And so I think this is so critically important. I also love the idea of um where was it? Oh, not teaching CRT chris oh my God thank you for saying that because I have been literally part of organizations where I am sub contracted to do P. D. For them and and their policy is to say that. And I'm like I can't work here anymore because I literally can't say these words because we should be right.

We should be talking about looking at the past and the present throughout racial lens. Right? This is important work. So I just really appreciate you naming that. Well yeah. You know you know I will I will say to I don't want terms band on the other side of the political spectrum as well right? Like um it's important to talk about free market capitalism or it's important to talk about. Um you know um what is the pro life movement or you know like I find any attempts to kind of stifle when teachers are teaching about or what students are learning about highly problematic. You know um you know going back to Latinas love work if we're gonna have freedom in this country, we're going to need to have freedom. You know what I'm saying? So Have freedom. It sort of reminds me of what the word feminism became in the 80s that it was a bad word that if you were a feminist it meant like you hated men and you you know let your bra on fire and threw it up right?

And all this sort of taking a word and making it this piece of propaganda is what's happened in critical race theory when simply teaching students about race and racism, which they already know about? I mean, students as young as kindergarten can can understand the concept of difference in skin color and equality and equity and fairness. So, um, demonizing these words are banning these words. It doesn't serve any purpose in in our educational journey, right? And I appreciate that you had said, you know, the container to have that container in that space in the class is important for them to grapple because they are finding I mean, it's the age of the Internet. There are Youtube videos that are like radicalizing white teenage boys. I mean like it's happening. They're exposed to this information and we'd rather give them a nice container to actually grapple meaningfully in a way that can advance them towards justice than like figure it out on your own and like be, you know, sucked into and just like this radicalization perhaps that exists online.

So it's is happening like this, this content is out there in their lives in some ways. Yeah. So I am curious, we talked a little bit about the mindset shift I think in that conversation, I'm curious to know if you want to talk more about kind of the framework. I know you spoke a little bit about the specific actions that people can take. Is there something that you want people to be able to take away? And I mean, I think we have teachers listening. I think we also have administrators and leaders listening something that you want them to be able to take away and be able to implement as a result of that framework or something that's really aligned to to your approach for teaching history for justice? Well, I guess, I mean not to dwell on the struggles of doing this work, but Kelly and I both have had instances where we're classroom teachers and parents question something in our classroom or or or had heard things and and you know, sometimes like a telephone game with their Children, like they hear one thing and then they think another thing and um in any of those situations there was never a situation.

Maybe kelly agrees with me on this, that when I actually talked to the parents explain what we're doing, I showed the materials we're using. Did they not then understand? And and and often it shows that, you know, I'm respecting your home views and values like your student is very active and and talking about what they believe and think and um, so the the point of this is really just a challenge, right? Like, and if we're not challenging others to think differently, particularly, you know, if the only adults in a student's life ever talks to them about politics about justice, about racism, about sexism, about other forms of oppression is their parents, then we, our democracy is going to fail. You know, like we need to all come together and have tough conversations and that's what the classroom is and and and kelly and I really argue that that's what the history classroom is of like understanding the past, how we got to the present, so we can make a hopefully better future. Right?

Someone asked me like, what would you say to an an anti CRT parent? I said I probably start by listening and actually trying to figure out what the root of the fear is because it's probably based in in misinformation as you said earlier, lindsey, There's so much out there on the internet that is just not a reliable source. I mean a big part of socialist teaching now with media literacy, making sure that you can understand um sourcing and who is giving the message and how the different messages might be perceived and what the motives behind those messages might be. I also would say teachers listening to this, it is hard work, it is daily work. So build the community whether that people within your building your school that I think um about these issues that want to be anti racist teachers that want to teach justice or um you know, if you're in a smaller school or community that's not so open, are there people in your grad program or your undergrad program are their professors you can reach out to?

I think having like a community of learners and people who want to to grow together, I think is really important. Um I also think it's great for like white educators to, to listen to a lot of teachers of color as a way to check themselves and and understand um if their own privileges are leading them to miss things. I think that's really important. Um I always say like read a book on a topic that you don't know much about. So whether that, um, you know, a queer history of the United States or um if you, you know, there are so many young peoples, indigenous peoples history, like making up asian american, there's so many wonderful resources out there and it can feel overwhelming sometime to teachers like, oh my gosh, I have to do all migrating and all my planning and care for each of these students, but you know, just take one text a year right? Whether that young people in history or queer people history and it's something that you don't know a lot about that you want to learn more about.

Um I think is just like good practical advice. Yeah, we're, we're Collins talking about building kind of your own communities of support. I think there's another way to look at community too. And it's so it's, it's an and of like kind of building out your community, right? So, um, I think a lot of these things that we've been talking about are because frankly people in the community don't know what happens in schools and it's easy then to manipulate them and tell them there are these like indoctrinating teachers saying all these things right? Instead it means maybe one getting your students out into the community. So like Kaylee and I routinely um do field trips with our students to historical sites to, you know, and, and, and they would often be justice oriented sites. We did, you know, everyone in boston does the freedom trail, right? But we would do kind of a civil rights trail that we assembled all these other places in boston, the unknown kind of revolutionaries of like the 20th century around racial justice, Right? And in that student, you know, teachers see, I mean people in the public see teachers with their students learning history, it does become this like foreign thing, right?

So the flip side is inviting members of the community in, you know, having, you know, honoring their kind of knowledge of the past. Um, whether it's through guests to your classroom who can talk about living through a certain period, whether it's having students interview their family members about the past. Like, and in our book, we talk about all the kind of different ways that we can have students kind of do like history for justice, like be the historians for justice because that, that kind of, you know, when a grandparent who might be watching television and thinking their students are being indoctrinated by their history teacher are then interviewed by their grandchild about their lived experiences. It's gonna be harder for them to believe the classroom is not a space where they're looking at the past much more and much more complicated ways. I mean, the research clearly shows one of the biggest ways to combat racism and sexism and homophobia is exposure is exposure. And I love this idea that chris brings up of expanding your community. One teacher in my department um, did um when I was up Framingham, did civics project where high school students in 1718, they were seniors went to the local veterans um chapter and they interviewed veteran.

So you've got these 18 year olds with their like fancy phones recording um, what these, these veterans who wanted to talk about it, who were willing to talk about and wanted to share about their experiences. Um, and some of them, even we had Vietnam veterans and it was just a really great chance to have this intergenerational connection and and and people who would not normally maybe converse and share stories and then they would present that what they found. So I love that. Yeah, I love that idea too. In terms of like the interviewing and like the knowledge gathering a piece of that of being a story and also how you had talked previously about the actual thing that they're doing with all of the information, like the taking action and then the action is directly impacting the community, right? So they see they're going on the field trip there in reviewing these people and they're also doing something that is, I always say like it has an impact beyond the classroom. So like it's not just for the grade, it's not just for the teacher's eyes, right? Actually, you're seeing the actions that that students are taking.

And often our Children are so creative. I think school often reduces that creativity as they go up in age and get to the high school. Um, so as a former high school teacher, I think like I see like, oh, the creativity is like, where is it? I know it's in there somewhere. And so I think being able to enable them to creatively solve so many of the problems and tap into that creativity is so great. And that's another way to kind of expand into the community in terms of the project or the kind of summit of assessment that they that they have. Yeah, I mean, and with that too, I want to really emphasize that like we trust students, you know, like we need to give them more credit. I think, I think the worry from older generations is that they know younger generations don't always see the world exactly the way they do, but that's the way it's always been and so, you know, we want them to do history too because then they can use that as a tool when they're, you know, making the world a place they want the world to be right. So, and and I hope all of this kind of just shows like we need to trust students to be the future they are.

I know that sounds cliche but and I think that schools can sometimes stifle creativity and that we should try to make schools look more like life rather than these, these sort of machines that push us out to either like career or college. And I think um I'm a really big supporter of authentic assessment and chris and I talked about this in the book, right? You know, one thing we did was we research the sort of inequities in the prison system in the US and then we had students write memos and read and create prisons that were actually or rehabilitation centers that actually set out to rehabilitate and, and we're not sexist racist classes and all the things um that are problematic and actually did rehabilitate. But instead of having them like a paper on it, we did memos and presentations and you know, when you interview a veteran like these are skills interviewing, right, creating a presentation. Um these writing, sometimes I have my students write songs and create murals, things that they would actually do in their own life I think is really important as opposed to just um pen and paper skill and drill.

Yeah. And when you do that, students might come to the conclusion that prisons should be abolished, just like Angela Davis and others, right? Or or that war should be ended, you know, and, and that's and that we need to be comfortable with that because, you know, after we're gone, other generations of humans are going to have to, maybe, I'm hopeful maybe find ways to improve our society, right? Yeah. Or turn our system flip our system. That's such a good point. Last night, Chris and I were uh, part of a celebration of Howard's in people's history 100 years. And, and there was so much discussion about, um, the naysayers of Howard Zinn and Hymen intact training. But it was just that Howard Zinn like really wanted people to critique him and criticize him and he, he invited that deliberation and that debate oriented pedagogy we spoke about, um, because that's what real teaching is, right? It's not showing one point of view or one perspective, but really right showing students that the perspectives right?

And if they decide that from that we're gonna abolish prison system, like that's awesome. It's about giving them the resources to create their own, their own opinions and and bring those out and be activists with them. So I like how chris says we need to trust our students. Absolutely. I think that's one of like the look for is or maybe it's like a feel for is like, as a check in as a teacher, right? Like do you feel a sense of trust when you are in your classroom? Like could you walk out into the hallway and like just chat with another teacher for five minutes without looking back in, you know, and just be like, they're they're good, could you leave sub plans and be like, I mean, I got to the point where I was like, yeah, I left some plans that are like a sentence long because the students know what they're already doing and I trust them to do it and they're gonna tell the teacher that's coming into sub you know, like that's the kind of level of trust we want to get to. Um and I also was just thinking about what you were just thinking about like this connects, I think you may have written about it in the book as well, but McEvoy and has talked about like the settled empirical issues versus policy issues. And so I think that's something too, that's like a tangible thing that teachers can kind of grab onto in terms of well, what about, you know, hearing all sides, like what if people are bringing in like non factual information, it's like, well we can agree on the settled issue, we are sphere of education, like facts are important and then you can choose the different directions that you want to go to advance justice, Like we can agree that this is the baseline and then, and so I really like that frame you may not have used it.

But I think, I think I read it in there. Yeah. So as we're kind of coming to a close to the episode, is there anything that we did not get to talk about that that you wanted to share with folks? And then I'll ask for kind of call for action next step for people. Well, I think I'd just like to recommend some new books that are coming out that one that I've read and one that I'm, I've preordered but luxury king. I don't know if you know his work, but he's got an edited book coming out as I came out called racial literacy ease and Social studies. And I feel like it's in the same series. Both these books are in the same series as our books. So I feel like I need to promote their work because these scholars are amazing. Um but it's a must read. It's it's really about how we understand the teaching of race and racism. Um, and then a lot of the kind of similar lines Amanda vickery and an arena seem Rodriguez have a book that's about to come out called Critical Race Theory actually, if this is february, it's already out so you can get it Critical Race theory and Social studies Futures. Um, and I think that book's gonna take take us to the next level of like where we, where we need to go next.

It's a lot of if we're talking about Bettina Love and and kind of freedom dreaming, I think it's it's gonna hopefully help us as a field freedom dream about where we go. I also have been thinking a lot about intersectionality. I think like um the the younger generation like understands intersectionality so well and I think a lot of times when teachers are doing the justice teaching work, especially in the history classroom, it's like okay, I gotta focus on an anti racist curriculum or like I really want to heighten the voices of indigenous people and like taking people's identities and and just file owing them right? Like you know, you know, you can be a queer indigenous, just you know, all these these uh identities embodying that. So I think like one of the next steps for all of us in this work is is taking the complexity of our social identity and not styling it and you know, you can be one thing in one setting and a different thing that in a different setting.

So I think that's really important. So I always say like Kimberly depression out of work is just such a sort of a guiding light on that because I think we all kind of in an effort to think, oh there's so much there's so many marginalized groups in our society, how do we work out? But thinking about the intersectionality when we're doing our curriculum, but also of our students seeing all their social identities and how how they identify. Yeah, there's a really great tool, I think it's from and y you Steinhardt school that has, it's like a culturally responsive curriculum audit tool and it's so simple, like they just have a simple graph at one point or a table where the rows are, I think race and the columns or gender or something. And so it's asking people to inventory, you know, who are the authors and the texts about in your classroom, but don't just like count for one category, count at the intersections. And I think you could do that with like 600 tables of all the various intersections, but I just love that accused your mind to be like, oh right, not just one, it's like where the intersections and then the glaring gaps become glaring and you're like, oh okay, I'm completely missing this piece, but I love that.

And also I mentioned to you before we started recording that I love listening to podcasts Kimberly Crenshaw has intersectionality matters so for listeners who don't already listen, that's a good one. Yeah, I mean you should really go to the source in community crenshaw for understanding intersectionality, right? Because I feel like it's become more popular and its usage, but a lot of people misunderstand it as almost like, you know, okay, so there's this type of oppression, So but another group suffers from another type of oppression, she really helps us understand that it's about the layering of oppression, right? So that um you know, obviously, like races is a serious uh target of oppression in the United States, but how is that when layered upon with sexual orientation or gender? So, so yeah, that nice, nice promotion. You know, everyone should listen to her podcast. So yeah, one of my favorite tweets from dr Kimberly Crenshaw was it's not additive, it's re constitutive and in terms of intersectionality and was like, ah that's so good. It's such a short, like bite sized piece of what it is about.

But yeah, she's she's so brilliant. So, as we're kind of closing out the podcast, I'd love to hear, we talked about a lot of things that people could do or think differently about. So if you could choose one thing that listeners could do when they end the episode and put something into action to kind of live in alignment with these these values of justice, what would that be? I think for me it would be know where you are and then start there, right? So if you're not doing any kind of justice oriented work in your classroom, then then start small, you know, add at a at a lesson here or make sure when, you know, even it could be as little as you know, for history teachers, make sure that the sources you're using on any given lesson has at least one voice that you wouldn't expect to be in that event. Um, but then you build up, right? So if you're starting kind of more in the middle, then you might be saying like, why? Like what's can I use all sources from people that typically wouldn't be centered in this event? Right? Um or, you know, if you're kind of more at a more advanced level, then really challenge yourself, like what what don't I know and how can I seek the knowledge to to make it better?

So, I guess, I guess like we all need to be activists. We all kind of enter activism in our wherever we are, but always be constantly trying to do this work better. I it never ends. I'm always kind of trying to do it better. I know Colleen feels that way too. Yeah, we're all a work in progress for sure. With this work, I would say. And I know I said some of this throughout the contest, but three things you can do this week, right? And I think one is examine your own bias. Uh think about who you spend time with, who your neighbors are, who your family members are, who your dentist is, who you take classes with, you, what what social identities are you familiar with and which ones are you not exposed to as much, right? And think about who your students are and all of that, and then read one text that lifts up the voices of a marginalized group that you don't spend a lot of time with that you aren't exposed to. Uh find an area that when you're examining your own bias or your own um lack of knowledge in a certain area, then go ahead and read a text about that.

There's an expert in that and then figure out whose voices you're privileging. So I always say invite someone in your classroom, have them figure out who you're calling on how much airtime certain students are getting. If you're an administrator and you're running a meeting, ask another administrator. Hey, who am I calling on this meeting? Who am I? Who is voice my privileging and how much air time are you getting? Because you'll you'll be surprised that whoa. A lot of times when we do this work we find that it is white male of our class um people that are being called on often and and their voices are being privileged and it's it's ingrained and it's it's unconscious sometimes. So it's about sort of three things you can do examine your own bias. Read one text about a marginalized group that you don't know about a lot about figure out whose voices you're privileging in your classroom in in your life. I love that. And I've been thinking too recently about Shane's appears. Um and Jamila Dugan's pedagogy of student voice within their street data book.

And I love the they say 75% of the class time should be students talking. And so I think a really great planning tool is to be like, did I plan for 75% of the last time to be students talking? And then you have so many more opportunities for so many students to be talking and sharing their ideas because you planned intentionally for it. So I will, I will add in thing for listeners as well to, to think about that and planning. I mean that that your classroom should mimic movement building, you know, like in movements, there's not one voice that's dominant, right? That that in movements you listen to the other people who are forming the movement with you and, and that's what I really hope classrooms are like, that's a wonderful reference there to, to, to kind of show like I would like to teach your voice to be even maybe a little bit less than that agreed. And so as a final kind of two questions for you, I'm curious to know something that you have personally been learning about lately or I know you're probably, you're mentioning you're working on a lot of things to whatever one feels best to share.

Um, and then finally where can, where can folks actually get in touch with you? I know you said you did pd and different things. So if people have questions um, where can they find you Well, I guess as far as like what I'm learning, I'm very privileged to be part of uh, a program assisting the boston public schools in their ethnic studies programming. It's really being led by the teachers of the boston public schools. But some of us from UMass boston are kind of assisting them and um, and, and it's, you know, it's a really wonderful project and that both groups are kind of working together and um, and so, you know, I've been learning so much because I'm one of the few white folks in the room and, and just from learning from my colleagues and I say colleagues, I mean the teachers and the, and the folks at the professor's UMass boston. It's been, it's been really helpful for me and I think it's, it's pushing me to keep approaching things in different ways and using different lenses. Um, we just applied for a grant um through and hopefully the National Science Foundation, hopefully we will get, um, which looks at how to use data science in the history classroom for activist purposes.

So, um, I think there we've talked a lot about what to do in the history classroom, but it's not just the history classroom. This grant has math teachers and science teachers and socialist teachers all work together to look at big data. The students then analyze the big data, whether it's poverty rates or health rates or health disparities and then then in their social class they plan like an activist project around the data they use. So hopefully we'll get that grant. So that's something I'm excited about is is really like channeling the activists work beyond the history classroom, thinking about how it can be used in other means. And I know Chris and I are going to say like we don't even know about these projects were not in each other's projects, so I'm really excited to hear what he's doing. That's cool. We haven't got the grant yet, so it doesn't happen. Maybe you can still do something with it. Yeah, maybe someone and the foundation will hear this. Um I know Chris is more active on twitter than I am, but if you email me like a lien, K A Y L E N E S at bu dot e D U.

I will respond like if you email me, even if you're you're a teacher who heard this and have a question or, or you know, chris and I will do pds will do things. We we don't mind presenting, we're happy to do it and then I am on twitter. Um although who knows what's happening with the future of twitter, but it's um at Kaylene, M stevens, Kaylene, K Y L E N E stevens with a B S T E V E N and folks can email me too. It's Christopher martel at umbc dot e D U. And I'm on twitter at, at chris, see martel, so Haley and Chris, thank you so much for spending almost an hour with us on the podcast today, appreciate you so much. It was really fun. I love thinking and talking through all this stuff. So thank you if you're leaving this episode wanting more, you're going to love my live coaching intensive curriculum bootcamp. I help one department or grade team create feminist anti racist curricula that challenges affirms and inspires all students.

We leave current events into course content and amplify student voices which skyrockets engagement and academic achievement. It energizes educators feeling burns out and it's just two days plus you can reuse the same process any time you create a new unit which saves time and money. If you can't wait to bring this to your staff, I'm inviting you to sign up for a 20 minute call with me, grab a spot on my calendar at www dot lindsey Beth Lyons dot com slash contact. Until next time leaders continue to think big act brave and be your best self. This podcast is a proud member of the teach better podcast network better today, better tomorrow and the podcast to get you there, explore more podcasts at teach better dot com slash podcasts and we'll see you at the next episode

101. Teaching History for Justice with Dr. Kaylene Stevens and Dr. Christopher Martell
101. Teaching History for Justice with Dr. Kaylene Stevens and Dr. Christopher Martell
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