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Session 5

Wednesday, May 24th and Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Reading: Chapter 1 and Chapter 3 from Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks.

Discussion centered on the notion of “self-actualization” – what it means for the instructor and for the students. The question that was raised was, “How do you know when you are doing this?” Responses included:

  • considering how students address faculty (e.g., prof, first name, last name, etc.)
  • reflecting in the moment (Did I do the right thing?) and after the fact (reviewing what happened, considering how you could do it better, “member checks” with colleagues, etc.)
  • sharing reflections on what happens in the classroom with the students
  • succeeding in creating a community where students are open to each other and to the instructor as evidenced by student behaviors and explicit expressions of openness and vulnerability

Session 4

Wednesday, May 10 & Thursday, May 11

Reading Ch. 3 “Yes, But How Do We Do It? Practicing Culturally Relevant Pedagogy” by Gloria Ladson-Billings

This chapter reiterated how CRT is a way of being first and that the “doing” part falls into place thereafter.

Group members referenced works from Max Van Manen – The Tact of Teaching & Giroux’s Border Crossings


  • All has come full circle – Self examination of one’s practice is key and understanding that there is no rule book.
  • What is the ideology of your curriculum?

Session 3

Thursday April 20 & Wednesday, April 26

Reading Ch. 4 “The Empty Desk in the Third Row: Experience of an African American Male Teacher” by Richard Simmons

This chapter had the group reflecting and discussing how both students and teachers balance their classroom selves and home selves. Also, as teachers we have to think about how we can model certain expectations and hold our students accountable.

Topics/Questions/Comments Included: 

  • How can we mobiles diversity for learning in the classroom?
  • How do we teach the hard topics that our students live?
  • What are students learning from me and not someone else?
  • Of the questions that Simmon’s presents in this chapter which of these questions do we feel are achievable to matter to us? (How do we stay authentic to ourselves?)
  • It’s about creating an atmosphere where students can be themselves.

On meeting students for the first time:

  • Write on cards: What do you wish your teacher knew about you?

On Respecting Students:

  • We need to show and share respect.
  • Have students hold themselves accountable: Janine to students: “You give yourself the grade.”

Session 2

Wednesday, April 5 & Thursday, April 6

Reading Ch. 5 “But Good Intentions are not Enough: Doing What’s Necessary to Teach for Diversity by Richard Milner

The group discussed many of the question the chapter raises about teachers self-reflecting upon their teaching practice and relationships with students. We need to think of ways to validate the contexts of the students’ lives. We also need to understand and think about what are the good intentions of our students.

Comments and Questions included:

  • Do we speak in terms of deficit or difference with regard to our students?
  • Self examination is critical. We wish there was a script to follow to teach, but there isn’t.
  • Recognizing our own expectation and ask what should the skill look like.
  • When it comes to students with disabilities we also have to recognize that many of them do not want to see them as fragile.

Session 1

Wednesday, March 22 & Thursday, March 23

  • Introductions – What is Culturally Responsive Teaching? (CRT)
  • Remembering Jamila Lyscott and Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz talks.
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