About Using Their Words
Why this site?
Many new teachers are inspired by the social justice and multicultural theory presented in some teacher education programs, but need to see examples of it in action. Some people believe that younger students are not capable of discussing difficult or controversial topics. This site counters that notion by showing teachers and students engaged in social action on complex topics. It provides a multimedia space to see social justice projects in action.
All the units housed on this site:
- were designed and implemented by elementary school teachers and student teachers
- focus on social justice issues such as racism, gentrification, fairness, child labor etc.
- help students ask difficult questions about the world
- are designed to engage children in social action to change the conditions of their worlds
- have been integrated with standards or mandated curricular program
About the Site
This site features the work of Dr. Bree Picower and her students. Bree Picower is an Assistant Professor at Montclair State University in the College of Education and Human Development. Her current research focuses on the development of teacher activists as well as the role of Critical Inquiry Groups as a strategy to support urban educators to teach for equity and social justice. Her book, Practice What You Teach: Social Justice Education in the Classroom and the Streets is available from Routledge. She has taught in public elementary schools in Oakland, California and New York City. She is currently a core member of the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE). Bree also co-edits a teacher planbook called Planning to Change the World: A Plan book for Social Justice Educators. This site features blogs from Bree’s students as they engage in teaching about social issues and engage their students in social action. It also includes an extensive annotated bibliography (click children’s literature) maintained by her students of social justice books for elementary students.
Publications by Dr. Picower include:
Picower, B. (2012) Using their words: Six elements of social justice curriculum design for the elementary classroom. International Journal of Multicultural Education. Vol. 14 (1).
Picower, B. (2012). Practice what you teach: Social justice education in the classroom and the streets. Routledge, New York.
Mack, T. & Picower, B. (Eds.). Planning to change the world: A plan book for social justice teachers. New York: NYCoRE/Edliberation
Picower, B. (2011). Learning to Teach and Teaching to Learn: Supporting the development of new social justice educators. Teacher Education Quarterly. 38(4), 7-24.
Picower, B. (2011). Resisting compliance: Learning to teach for social justice in a neoliberal context. Teachers College Record, 113(5). pp. 1105–1134.
Katsarou, E., Picower, B., Stovall, D. (2010). Acts of Solidarity: Developing urban social justice educators in the struggle for quality public education. Teacher Education Quarterly, 37(3). 137-154
Picower, B. (2009). The unexamined whiteness of teaching: How white teachers maintain and enact dominant racial ideologies. Race and Ethnicity in Education, 12(2), 197-215.
Picower, B. (2007). Supporting New Educators to Teach for Social Justice: The Critical Inquiry Project Model. Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education, 5(1),
Picower, B. (2004). Teaching outside one’s race. Radical Teacher, 70. 11-18.
Blogs on this site feature the teaching of members of these two programs:
The Newark Montclair Urban Teacher Residency Program (NMUTRP) is an innovative apprenticeship-based teacher education program. The 13 residents in the 2011-2012 cohort created social action projects that they implemented in their elementary classrooms in Newark, NJ.
The New York University Social Justice Critical Inquiry Project was a small group of teachers committed to teaching for social justice, even in their first years of teaching. Facilitated by Bree Picower, the group met biweekly for 3 years to support each other in negotiating the challenges of beginning to teach.