LEARN with Marginal Syllabus (January): Generative Principles for Professional Learning for Equity-Oriented Urban English Teachers

January 07, 2019
By Educator Innovator

Our January reading for Literacy, Equity + Remarkable Notes = LEARN investigates the experiences of three early-career secondary English teachers in urban settings who sought professional development opportunities to support teaching for social justice. In an article published in English Education, authors Allison Skerrett, Amber Warrington, and Thea Williamson share the results of a longitudinal study that examined the professional learning and teaching practices of the teachers over five years, leading to the identification of six “generative” principles for professional learning for equity-focused teaching.

This is the third month of LEARN, a Marginal Syllabus co-developed with the National Writing Project (NWP) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Each month during the 2018-19 academic year, we’ll collaboratively read and discuss an article, published by NCTE, that investigates the intersection of literacy and equity. Refer to the syllabus for information on all the annotatable readings, which will go “live” on the first Monday of each month, along with related events hosted by CLTV and others.

January’s reading:

“Generative Principles for Professional Learning for Equity-Oriented Urban English Teachers” by Allison Skerrett, Amber Warrington, and Thea Williamson

At the same time the teachers were putting this assessment to work in their classroom practices, they all took on roles and identities of knowledge producers.

In January, we read about the experiences of Jasmine, a Black woman from a working-class family; Octavia, a White woman from a middle-class background; and Andrew, a White male from an upper-middle-class background. These three teachers all hoped for, and actively sought out, professional learning to help them teach with a focus on social justice. Their commitments to equity-oriented teaching were, at times, supported in professional learning in district and school settings, as well as self-selected professional learning outside of a school setting. Authors Skerrett, Warrington, and Williamson asked, what professional learning experiences did three urban secondary English teachers find significant to their learning about literacy education and social justice, and what supported them toward their goals of teaching for social justice?

The three teachers’ experiences give rise to six principles for organizing equity-focused professional learning with attention to agency, collegiality, and collaboration. This article names possibilities for fruitful learning across varied professional learning contexts, and also includes implications for both preservice and inservice English education, as well as English education research.

We invite you to engage in a conversation about professional learning and social justice in the teaching of English by annotating in the margins of this important study.

Join the Annotated Conversation

We invite you to read ““Generative Principles for Professional Learning for Equity-oriented Urban English Teachers,” and annotate the text with your own thoughts and reactions. Annotations may be added using the web annotation tool Hypothesis. To add your own annotations, as well as to respond to others, sign up for your free account.

Share your annotations as you read or any time throughout the month. We also encourage you to use these readings and the opportunity to annotate however it best works for you—organize a study group, bring a class you are teaching, engage as an individual, or connect it to a meeting.

Image credit: Stephanie Rollag, Minnesota Writing Project Connected Learning workshop