Identity Affirming Classrooms Spaces that Center Humanity
Learn how to create identity affirming classroom environments that honor the humanity of students.
Although schools have potential to be spaces of inquiry and joy, they can also be the source of trauma and pain when educational equity is not a foundational element. With a race-conscious lens, Dr. Erica Buchanan-Rivera explains how to actively listen to the voices of students and act in response to their needs in order to truly activate equity and make conditions conducive for learning. She also offers insights on how we need to do anti-bias and antiracist work in efforts to create affirming, brave spaces.
Throughout the book, you’ll find features such as Mirror Work and Collective Work to help you bring the ideas to your own practice and discuss them with others. You’ll also find excerpts from students' voices to hear the why behind affirming spaces through their perspectives. With the powerful ideas in this book, you’ll be able to create the kinds of classroom environments that students deserve.
Part I: Do the Work 1. The Role of the Classroom and the Sociopolitical Context of Schooling 2. Leading for Equity Part II: Components of Identity Affirming Space 3. Unpacking Identity 4. Intentional Spaces of Belonging 5. Humanizing Approaches and the Power of Community 6. Authentic Student Expressions Epilogue: Love Letter to Those Doing the Work Appendix A: Responsiveness Assessment for Classroom Environments (RACE) Appendix B: To Teachers who Face Resistance
"For educators who are trying to live out their commitment to equitable classrooms and schools, Dr. Buchanan-Rivera is the guiding voice that our movement needs. Here, she starts with a question, and ends with a love letter. What lives between those pages is the insight, encouragement, and love that will help us to forge a nation of powerful classrooms."--Cornelius Minor, educator and author of We Got This: Equity, Access, and the Quest to be Who our Students Need Us to Be, Brooklyn, New York
"In Identity Affirming Classrooms: Spaces that Center Humanity, Dr. Erica Buchanan-Rivera draws on personal stories and student voices to bring to life what it means to learn in an environment that affirms one's identity. This accessible text offers a significant contribution to the ongoing conversation about how to provide an equitable education to all students. Identity Affirming Classrooms: Spaces that Center Humanity begins by offering foundational knowledge about identity development and concludes by asking educators to take a look at the beliefs and practices that impact students as soon as they walk into the room. Growing up, I was privileged to have classroom environments that affirmed my identity as a Black girl. It was not until I became an educator that I understood how rare my experience can be. Classrooms often privilege a single dominant identity, forcing marginalized students to diminish themselves. The experience leaves some students wondering if school is for them. Yet, as Dr. Buchanan-Rivera illustrates, every child deserves to learn in a space and with a teacher who sees who they are and what they can become."--Val Brown, Principal Academic Officer at the Center for Antiracist Education
"As a parent of color and educational leader for Equity, I believe that our classrooms, all classrooms, should be identity affirming spaces where every student is nurtured, validated, and affirmed. Dr. Buchanan-Rivera skillfully provides the reader with the knowledge and strategies that will create the spaces that "honor the humanity" of our children while growing our own awareness and consciousness. Identity Affirming Classrooms: Spaces that Center Humanity is a timely and necessary read for every educator and educational leader."--Dr. Rosa Perez-Isiah, Director, Author, and Equity Advocate