Microcosms and Epicenters

Submitted By:
MarQuis Lebron Chappell, The Harpeth Hall School, Nashville, TN

Textured Teaching: A Framework for Culturally Sustaining Practices by Lorena Escoto Germán
Heinemann, September 10, 2021

As Lorena Escoto Germán argues in Textured Teaching: A Framework for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, there are five hallmarks of an anti-oppressive classroom that center the intersection of learning and social justice: it is student-driven, community-centered, interdisciplinary, experiential, and flexible. Drawing from her own experience attending a high school comprised primarily of a Latinx student body whose culture, values, and interests were absent from the classroom content, Germán offers teachers a culturally-sustaining framework. It both invites students to bring their most authentic selves into the classroom and prompts teachers to identify how course content can inform equity and justice work. Germán challenges teachers to reimagine their classrooms as microcosms for social change. Such work begins, she suggests, with four brief yet profound questions, including "What will I make sure I do consistently to have positive impact in the classroom and in our school building as I strive for change?" At its core, Textured Teaching places urgency upon the need for independent and public educational practitioners to recognize that anti-oppressive classrooms can be the epicenter of social change if students are challenged and supported in "develop[ing] a sense of cultural proficiency" and led to "deconstruct the harmful practices our society has socialized us all into."

Teaching Practice