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PROFESSIONAL LEARNING

The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner.

Research in the Media: Are Students of Color Healthier in Schools that Promote Diversity?

A critical role in my professional development is my engagement with contemporary research, informing my understanding of best practices for my students. Below, I have included two different research projects: the first, a thorough analysis of a research article questioning if students of color are physically healthier in schools that promote diversity; the second, a literature review on research engaging in the role of white teacher identity, especially in classrooms with predominantly students of color. Both research projects informed my own practice as a teacher, in fostering an environment where students are in the best position to thrive, and in recognizing the role my whiteness plays in the classroom. 

A critical role of teaching is the dedication to the development of the whole person, rather than the academic achievement of the student alone. Several researchers investigate the role that school attitude surrounding diversity affects key several key health indicators in students of color, but not white students in their study "Students of color show health advantages when they attend schools that emphasize the value of diversity" (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019).  

 

This project investigates the representation of a new research study in various news media sources, engaging in a critical analysis of the validity of the research itself. We then continue to analyze how popular media and news sources report the information, noting potential misrepresentations of data, over-generalizations, and a failure to disclose key information. 

Overall, the project served as a reminder of the key role school environment plays in a student's ability to effectively learn — and beyond that, the physical danger of fostering environments where students feel uncomfortable, excluded, and isolated. 

Literature Review: White Teacher Identity 

In my education course work, I have found scholarly texts, research, and instruction focused on teaching a diverse student population. The rhetoric surrounding classroom reform, while promoting cultural awareness, rarely examines the role of the teacher’s own identity in relation to race, language, ability, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, and learning type. Because predominantly white women make up the demographic of teachers, this rhetoric ignoring teacher identity affirms the idea that whiteness does not play a role in a classroom environment. As teachers, we can not effectively engage in identity work with students of color, without requiring the same work of their predominantly white and female teacher counterparts. This literature review engages in work confronting the role white female teacher identity plays in the classroom, especially in diverse classroom settings. 

WHITE TEACHERS AMONG DIVERSE POPULATIONS

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