Transformational Sanctuaries in the Middle Level ELA Classroom
Creating Truth Spaces for Black Girls
Drawing from an arts-based research and humanizing methodologies, Dywanna Smith documents transformative and liberatory spaces in ELA middle level classrooms, where students address and counteract discrimination, colorism, sizism, and body shaming. Grounded in an original qualitative study of adolescent Black girls, this book examines how such "truth spaces" serve as a medium for adolescents to self-examine their intersectional identities and give voice to their resilience in the face of marginalization.
Incorporating original narratives, including the author’s self-actualizing verse novel and the voices of Black female students, Smith shines a light on new culturally sustaining pedagogies and offers much-needed implications for practice. Smith expertly weaves together poetry, research, and empathy; the result is a pioneering text that urges readers to understand the impact of anti-Black violence and the important role literacy sanctuaries can play in supporting Black girls’ resilience and development. The novel in verse at the heart of the volume is not only a provocative and necessary call for transformative change, but also a window into a courageous lived experience. This book is essential reading for pre-service teachers, scholars, and students in literacy education, inclusive education, and teacher education.
Table of Contents
Preface. Wanted: Educator Activists Seeking Transformation
Chapter One. Demanding Truth Spaces: Tell Me How I Stay Positive When They Never See the Good in Me
Chapter Two. Gems of Truth: Research Partners as Love Advocates
Chapter Three. Fake Love: The Truth Behind the Caring Myth
Chapter Four. Stepping Behind the Veil: A Methodology for Crafting a Loving Sanctuary
Chapter Five. Poetic Justice: Truth Revealed in Verse
Chapter Six. You Can’t Heal What You Don’t Reveal: Ethnopoetics as Truth, Resilience, and Resistance
Chapter Seven. "Quiet as It’s Kept": Teachers as Truth Warriors Moving Forward with Urgency
Dywanna E. Smith is Assistant Professor of Education at Claflin University, where she serves as Middle Level Education Program Coordinator and Interim Assessment Coordinator.