During Kinloch’s sessions, I learned a great deal, and was prompted to think deeper and further about addressing inequity, especially in educational contexts—issues of race, class, and gender.
One of Kinloch’s most powerful messages warned about “putting on and taking off an equity hat”; in other words, addressing equity and diversity must be systemic and collaborative—not a one-shot workshop, course, or simulation.
At the heart of Kinloch’s message, I think, is her call for humanizing pedagogy, which is the cognate for naming, confronting, and replacing dehumanizing pedagogy, policies, and practices.
Since there is overwhelming evidence that the U.S. remains inequitable along race, class, and gender lines, we must also acknowledge that formal schooling reflects and perpetuates those inequities.
For me, the dehumanizing practices and policies in education that disproportionately impact vulnerable populations of students—black and brown students, impoverished students, English language learners, special needs students—include harsh “no excuses” charter schools and discipline policies, high-stakes testing, gatekeeping and tracking of students for challenging courses and programs, overcrowded classes, underfunded schools and programs, and inequitable assignment of experienced and certified teachers.
Dehumanizing practices and policies, for me, are all connected by deficit approaches to teaching, learning, and people.
Kinloch’s call for humanizing pedagogy is an encompassing challenge facing all educators interested in social justice and liberatory education.
This call raises the stakes about “they’re all our children”—regardless of race, class, or gender.
This call raises the stakes about the centrality of culturally relevant pedagogy as the foundational approach to teaching all children for a just and free society.
This call raises the question: Who is asking what of whom, and why?
This call raises the stakes about what it means to be an educator.
Listen, and then act.
For Further Reading
If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?, James Baldwin
What These Children Are Like, Ralph Ellison