2021 September Language Arts, v99.1
Issue theme: Antiracist Pedagogoies
This inaugural issue for the new Language Arts editorial team explores its theme, antiracist pedagogies, by acknowledging, confronting, and reimagining elementary classroom pedagogies and the current structural racism and inequality that exists. The pieces featured aim to inspire and motivate teacher educators and scholars to work toward an educational future of justice and inclusion. The issue also features three new columns that will regularly appear in Language Arts: Responsive Teaching in Action, Writing Matters, and Know Your Village, a one-page selection of recommendations curated by the editors themselves.
Calls for Manuscripts
New Editors’ Introduction and Vision: Advancing Critical, Antiracist, and Inclusive Elementary Literacy Pedagogy
Sandra L. Osorio, Rebecca Woodard, Rick Coppola, and Kara Taylor
Abstract: In this introduction, Sandra Osorio, Rebecca Woodard, Rick Coppola, and Kara Taylor introduce themselves as the new co-editors of Language Arts.
Freedom Dreaming Antiracist Pedagogy Dreams
Elizabeth Claire Spaulding, Jaminque Adams, Damaris C. Dunn, and Bettina L. Love
Abstract: Almost forty years ago, Angela Davis told the world, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist; we must be antiracist.” Sadly, it took decades of Black death, Black pain, and Black trauma for Davis’s words to leave the social justice echo chamber and begin to be embraced by the masses (this is still not enough).
Antiracism is now the new social justice buzzword, as schools around the US rush to become antiracist with little understanding about the term, its goals and history, and ideas of justice. Moreover, the antiracism framework is being heavily utilized to address the systemic and structural racism of public education but seldomly focuses on the freedom dreams of antiracism. If educators see the purpose of antiracism as only to address oppression, then they—we—have failed justice once again. The authors contend that antiracism education must freedom dream and conjure new possibilities of educational justice.
Doing the Deep Work of Antiracist Pedagogy: Toward Self-Excavation for Equitable Classroom Teaching
Marcelle Mentor and Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz
Abstract: The heinous murder of George P. Floyd and the influential publication of Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist (2019) have led to the proliferation of schools seeking the label of “antiracist institution.” Moving away from the belief that workshops can “regulate the heart,” the authors have invited their students and participants in their workshops to engage in an Archaeology of Self™ process that counters the idea that becoming antiracist is possible with a few quick fix-it professional development sessions.
As teacher educators of antiracist pedagogies, we must begin by asking ourselves these questions: How do issues of race, class, religion, and sexual orientation live within us? How does our societal conditioning shape the way we show up in classrooms? This paper examines the art of excavation as we use our own lives and practices as educators to model ways that develop racial consciousness and build a reflective, antiracist practice.
Eliminating Prerequisites for Personhood: A Framework for Enacting Antiracist Language Instruction
Janna Brown McClain, Mariah Harmon, and Emily Phillips Galloway
Abstract: English language arts teachers who wish to enact antiracist pedagogies when teaching language often experience tensions in antiracist theory, instructional practice, and school policy. How do critical race theory and sociolinguistics research inform a practical framework for the ongoing process of enacting antiracist language instruction? In this article, the authors first connect critical race theory with the history of racism in English language arts curriculum, then lay out the key distinction for assimilationist versus antiracist language pedagogy: making language proficiency a prerequisite for personhood. After establishing the difference between assimilationist and antiracist language instruction, the authors describe a cyclical, ongoing process for enacting antiracist language pedagogy at the intrapersonal, instructional, and institutional levels.
Nadie más puede contar tu historia: Rewriting Whose Stories Matter through an Antiracist Bilingual Writer’s Workshop Rosalyn Harvey-Torres and Carmela Valdez
Abstract: Using antiracist pedagogy as a frame, this article explores a first grade bilingual writer’s workshop centering the lives of Latinx, Black, and immigrant students. Through emphasizing the urgency of sharing one’s story, and choosing mentor texts that reflected students’ races, languages, cultures, and lived experiences, Carmela Valdez made space for them to tell stories that are often silenced in schools and in society. This study reveals the importance of mentor texts in making immigrant students feel seen and valued and in contesting anti-Blackness in elementary classroom communities. The study also illuminates the ways that multidialectal Black students' use of Black Language in their writing and talk is often rendered invisible, even in bilingual classrooms. The authors conclude that instead of seeking quick fixes or scripted methods, teachers need to know and value their unique students in order to create and enact writing curriculum that is antiracist, agentive, and joyful.
RESEARCH & POLICY: Opportunity Centered Teaching for Racial Justice in Elementary English Language Arts Classrooms
H. Richard Milner IV, Jaleel Howard, Tequila Cornelious, Bryant O. Best, and Laura Fittz
Abstract: This column advances tenets of the Opportunity Centered Teaching framework to support educators in the work of racial justice to disrupt opportunity gaps in elementary ELA classrooms.
PERSPECTIVES ON PRACTICE: Antiracist Teaching in English Language Arts: Toward a Full Humanity for All Students
Crystal Chen Lee, Michelle M. Falter, and Chandra L. Alston
Abstract: Teaching for an antiracist future begins with educators. In reflecting on a question, part of which asked the authors “Is antiracist teaching a downer?” the authors respond by examining how antiracist teaching, though not easy, can be joyful as it allows students to achieve their full potential. The authors provide three examples of antiracist teaching that can be reflected through reading and writing practices in k–8 English language arts classrooms. The authors argue that antiracist teaching recognizes the full humanity of all students through dismantling oppressive structures in schools while affirming, celebrating, and advocating for all students.
PERSPECTIVES ON PRACTICE: Practical Teaching Is Antiracist Teaching
Valente’ Gibson and Deion Jamison
Abstract: As educators, we have a profound responsibility to confront racial injustice and create antiracist classroom environments. When racism continues to dominate most institutions in our society, schools must value children’s needs and we must be committed to justice and liberation. This article asks readers how they can engage in antiracist conversations to address individual and systemic racism and the silencing of those victimized in your classroom and suggests that, crucially, educators must be sure to welcome students’ identities into the classroom culture, engage in reflective and relevant curriculum, and honor their students’ home languages.
RESPONSIVE TEACHING IN ACTION: Embracing the both/and of Antiracist Pedagogies: A Dialogue in Letters
Elizabeth Dutro and Erica Caasi
Abstract: In this article introducing Language Arts’ new column, Responsive Teaching in Action, Elizabeth Dutro and Erica Caasi outline their goal for the new column: To respond to, reflect on, and encourage the demand for literacy educators to bring compassion, advocacy, and fierce action to teaching because continually seeking and enacting antiracist pedagogies is what each and every body-filled classroom requires.
WRITING MATTERS: The Power of Writing and Telling Our Stories
Tracey T. Flores and Emily Machado
Abstract: In this introduction to another new Language Arts column, Writing Matters, Tracey T. Flores and Emily Machado discuss the column’s call to action: to create a space to tell and share stories of the infinite power of young writers and the teachers who cultivate them. The authors express their wish to use the column to amplify the voices of young writers—and the teachers who love and support them.
CHILDREN’S LITERATURE REVIEWS: “Raised to Make Society Transform”: Using Antiracist Baby and Antiracist Text Sets with Young Children
Clare Landrigan and Aeriale Johnson
Abstract: This Children’s Literature Review column aims to move its readers beyond children’s book reviews to thinking about how the featured books can be incorporated into their instructional practices in ways that nurture children’s literacy and humanity. In this issue, the authors feature text sets to facilitate conversation and inquiry that nurture antiracist young children.
Know Your Village
Language Arts editors
Abstract: In this new one-page feature to appear in each issue of Language Arts, the editors offer on-theme examples of who they’re following, what they’re reading, who they’re listening to, and what’s inspiring them.