Completed Theses of M.S. Urban Education Degree Earners

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Megan Soosai

Title:  Taking Anti-Racist Classrooms Beyond Wishful Thinking: Pedagogical & Classroom Reflections to Empower the Systematically Disenfranchised and Disillusioned 

Abstract: The dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice have incited change in many teachers’ practice that better serves their students of color. However, many White teachers in particular still have myriad, salient changes they can make to their practice to ensure that students of color feel safe and supported in their classrooms, especially after experiencing dual-pandemics that their White counterparts have not. In preparation for returning to in-person teaching for Fall 2021 after four trimesters of online and hybrid learning, I sought to answer the following research question: What intentional changes to my practice can I make to build community in my classroom and ensure that students of color feel safe to share their authentic voices during focused, academic conversations? The action research study was conducted at my urban, first-ring suburban high school where I have taught English-Language Arts since 2012. Through field notes, reflections, and quantitative data collection on student participation and personal connections, I sought to identify and analyze student dynamics in my classroom. In disaggregating self-reported rates of connection with students by race, I found that within the first fourteen days of the trimester, I had not yet meaningfully connected personally with 61% of my students of color. After critically reflecting on that overrepresentation, I implemented research-informed action steps to build toward a classroom community where students of color feel safe, supported, and Beloved (Aguilar, 2018).

Completed:  November 2021

File Attachments:
  1. Megan Soosai Thesis.pdf Megan Soosai Thesis.pdf
Author: Urban Teacher Program Manager
Last modified: 1/13/2023 3:40 PM (EDT)