Collaborative Conversations: Learning to Become Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Educators

Primary author: Kathleen Cowin
Co-author(s): Sarah Newcomer

Primary college/unit: College of Education
Campus: Tri-Cities


Our research reports on a study bringing teacher and school leader candidates together to deepen the candidates’ self-study about socially just, culturally sustaining pedagogy, with the purpose of allowing candidates to reflect on their teaching and leadership practices together. Our goal was to learn more about how to connect teacher and school leader preparation coursework, and to study the efficacy of this collaboration between teacher and school leader candidates.

Teacher and leader candidates were engaged in four collaborative dialogue sessions focused on six assigned research articles. Small groups were formed of both teacher and school leader candidates so the candidates could share their perspectives as teachers and school leaders with one another. After each session the candidates also met as a whole group for a review of the highlights of their small group discussions, especially focusing on their own study of their culturally sustaining and socially just teaching practices. Candidates also wrote written reflections based on their insights from the discussions. An electronic platform was used to capture the candidates’ reflections on the readings and the dialogues. These reflections were shared with the whole group and with the researchers.

We will report what we learned about the candidates’ communication from observing the dialogues. We will record the topics of the dialogues as well as the candidates’ report of how their self-study impacted their culturally sustaining and/or socially just teaching or leadership practices.