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A more just society begins in the classroom. Everything we do supports the preparation and support of educators who can use teaching practice to foster learning and create classrooms for justice.
Across our educational landscape, profound inequities persist in classrooms and in society. Over decades, legacies of white supremacy, racism, sexism, ableism, and classism have created vastly differential access to educational opportunities for Black, Latine, and Indigenous children and those living in poverty.
Not only do these legacies affect everything from school funding to curriculum, they also shape normalized teaching practice. Although we acknowledge that structural inequities are the root of many educational disparities, we believe that it is through everyday teacher decisions and interactions that structural inequities directly impact students’ experiences, their learning, and their lives.
Our work is based on the conviction that teachers have the power to intervene on these inequities.
This means teachers must recognize the habits and behaviors in their practice that reproduce inequities and should engage in alternative teaching practices that interrupt them.
Yet, because racism and inequity permeate our society, most teachers do not automatically see these connections to their practice. Teachers need opportunities to see and actively intervene on those patterns and behaviors that sustain injustice. They need opportunities to learn to teach in ways that nurture young people’s learning and create classrooms for justice.
Our approach is to design resources and learning opportunities for preparing new and developing teachers to cultivate this orientation towards teaching, and the specific practices that enable them to enact it.
Our experienced team strives to make clear the connections between educators’ own identities, how they relate to their students, and their capacities to work actively to disrupt patterns of injustice through teaching practice.
We focus on how new and developing teachers can learn to use instructional materials with discernment. We develop ways to support teachers to evaluate the strengths and deficiencies of specific instructional materials, with respect to content, to issues of justice, and to approaches to learning. Using instructional materials wisely can help teachers and students understand why they are studying a specific idea, text, or topic, and why it matters for creating a more just society.
We also focus on the interactions and relationships that teachers have with their students.
We develop ways of supporting teachers to learn to identify normalized interactions where inequities can arise, such as control of children’s contributions in class discussions, behaviors, and bodies.
We support educators to understand how the social dynamics in the classroom have both individual and long-term consequences that can either reinforce injustice or contribute to disrupting it.
Of course, we recognize that teaching has the power to do harm through distorted content, negative interactions, and poor relationships. And yet we believe that it also has immense power to support children to thrive and contribute to a more just society. We exist to harness this power and to support educators to do the same.
The TeachingWorks team brings together talented individuals with diverse skill sets, identities, and experiences. At our core is a shared passion to advance justice through the power of teaching. We embrace this mission and work collectively to bring it to life every day.
Advancing the power of teaching to create a more just society depends on collaborative networks of people who contribute a range of expertise.
Our work is situated in the struggle for justice in education and society, requiring that we both confront patterns of injustice and create liberatory practice.
We are relentless in our work, acknowledging that the struggle for justice in our society will be ongoing.
In order to learn from our experiences, interactions, and partnerships, we continually examine the impacts and outcomes of our work. We seek to know our limits as well as our strengths, and we understand that our mission to disrupt injustice and to create a more just society requires ongoing self-examination and learning.
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