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Equity in Literacy & Education: Critical Conversations for Classroom Action

By Courtney Farrell & Dana M. Stachowiak
 | Feb 02, 2018

Promo image of #ILAchatWe are encouraged by the myriad critical conversations happening in the literacy world that center social justice, equity, and inclusion discussions, but we are often left wondering, “Now what?” and "How am I supposed to actually do that?”

As we spoke with our fellow educators, we realized we were not alone in this pondering.

Our Twitter chat series “Equity in Literacy & Education: Critical Conversations for Classroom Action” was born from a desire not only to discuss important topics of equity in literacy education but also to disseminate actionable strategies for educators to use in their classroom.

This four-part discussion will diverge from the usual #ILAchat schedule and instead occur every Tuesday during the month of February at 8:00 p.m. ET (5:00 p.m. PT). Our hope is that this compressed timeline will facilitate an intense, evolving discussion that builds across the month. We believe such focus is vital to creating more equitable and inclusive spaces in classrooms and schools.

The first chat, to be held on February 6, focuses on examining privilege, power, and oppression and their interplay in the schooling system and literacy classroom. The chats that follow will explore the expansive notions of gender, emergent bilinguals, and ideas around race, respectively, all focused on implications for our schools and our praxis as literacy educators.

Although we will be hosting the first two chats ourselves, we are merely facilitators for bringing together our hosts for the chats on February 20 and 27. Our discussion on emergent bilinguals will be led by experts Carla España, Tiana Silvas, and Rosa Perez-Isiah, and our discussion on race will have experts Kisha Howell, Arlene Casimir-Siar, and Shamari Reid developing and leading the conversation.

We have two hopes for this equity #ILAchat series:

1. That together we build a critical community of scholar–practitioners who challenge, inspire, and hold one another up

2. That you walk away from each weekly chat, and the entire series, with more a concrete and workable answer to the “Now what?” and “How am I actually supposed to do that?”

Series moderators

Courtney Farrell is the Founding Director of and a Literacy Consultant with The Journey Project, an inclusion- and educational justice-focused organization supporting gender-expansive and transgender children, families, and educators. She began her career as a classroom teacher in Title 1 public elementary schools in Los Angeles in 2001. After working alongside young people and their families in her classroom for twelve years, she began working with educators in Southern and Northern California on efforts toward schoolwide literacy transformation as a Staff Developer. Inspired by the communities she has served for nearly two decades and by her own transgender child’s transition in 2016, she has been researching anti-oppressive critical literacy pathways that enable elementary and middle schools across the nation to transform into more inclusive, equitable spaces for all students. Courtney, her two young boys, and one barky Yorkie, live in Southern California, enjoy trips to explore tide pools at the beach or to hike and ski in the mountains, and rejoice in visiting their local art store or bookstore to collect treasures that inspire their creative spirits. Follow alongside their evolving journey at or on Twitter: @EduCourts.

Dana Stachowiak is an assistant professor of Curriculum and Instruction in the Watson College of Education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she coordinates the Curriculum Studies for Equity in Education Master’s program. Dana is also a literacy consultant with The Educator Collaborative. She holds a doctorate in educational studies with a concentration in cultural studies from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Winthrop University, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Western Michigan University. Follow her on Twitter: @DrStachowiak.

We look forward to learning alongside you next week for our first #ILAchat, “Privilege, Power and Oppression: Working Toward Inclusion and Equity” at 8:00 pm ET, 5:00 pm PT.

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