How Ethnic Studies Teaching Reduces Racial Inequality: Identifying Effective Pedagogy and School Efforts to Promote It

How can school districts identify and support new teachers to develop the necessary pedagogical skills to teach ethnic studies?

Penner will explore effective pedagogy for teaching ethnic studies and how this pedagogy contributes to reducing inequality in academic outcomes for racially and ethnically minoritized students. As part of a mixed-methods study, Penner will observe ethnic studies classrooms and conduct interviews and focus groups with teachers to better understand core aspects of effective practices. Linking these data to student records, Penner will also examine how the observed teaching practices predict student outcomes. Finally, using data from interviews with district leaders and teachers, as well as observations of ethnic studies professional development activities, Penner will investigate how school districts can recruit and train new ethnic studies teachers to use effective practices. With an interdisciplinary background and expertise in K-12 education policy evaluation, Penner will develop new expertise in ethnic studies pedagogy and formal classroom observation in collaboration with mentors Christine Sleeter, Professor Emerita at the College of Education at California State University Monterey Bay, and Heather Hill, Jerome T. Murphy Professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

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