Teaching difference in multiple ways: Through content and presence

Professor Cheryl Jones-Walker, Swarthmore

Thursday, April 4 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Convener: Carolyn Chernoff, CTL Graduate Fellow, Education and Sociology

Location: GSE 424

Summary: I have used an auto-ethnographic approach to explore my experiences teaching two courses at a small, predominately white, liberal arts college. These classes present unique cases to examine my role as a teacher of color, teaching about “difference” in this context. The core introductory course for the department does not bear diversity, race, class or examinations of social inequality in the course title although these are key themes. Introduction to Education is a jointly designed course that has nearly identical class readings and assignments in the two or three sections offered each semester. The second, a course on urban education, is one that I have taught at the college once independently and later collaboratively with a white male colleague who is also junior faculty. Teaching the same course material as my white colleagues and having different interactions with students related to intersections of race, gender and class is fertile ground to examine how teacher identity informs classroom processes. Similarly, co-teaching a course that explicitly takes up unequal educational opportunities, the role of race/racism, nationality, language and class in American schooling yielded compelling personal narratives. The cultural accounting of the relationship between my students and I helps me make meaning as it aids in the identification of future pedagogical adjustments. At the same time the questions raised are central to my main research interests: 1) developing better theoretical frameworks to understand identity construction in the context of classrooms; 2) creating safe spaces in educational contexts to expand identities and explore social inequity.

All graduate students are welcome. This event grows out of concerns in the Education school and so may be most useful to students in related fields.
Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate.