Learning Spaces That Affirm Students’ Identities

Buchanan-Rivera specifically highlights trainee voices to assist us comprehend how the design of class, and the action taken within them, can develop identity verifying environments.
Buchanan-Riveras argument for producing identity affirming classrooms centers on ensuring that students humanity comes. The epilogue concludes the book by bringing attention to Buchanan-Riveras fellow scholars who are doing the work to make identity verifying class occur for trainees. What I took pleasure in most about Identity Affirming Classrooms was Buchanan-Riveras beautiful blending of scholarship with her own experiences, student interviews, actionable practices, and concerns that educators ought to be thinking about on an everyday basis to learn, relearn, and unlearn. If we want our trainees to grow, grow, and discover in our classrooms, we should work towards producing and designing areas that promote identity advancement rather than suppress it.

She is a zealous reader of middle grade and young adult books and delights in sharing her love and enthusiasm for checking out with her students. In 2022 Katie finished from Northeastern University with her doctorate in education, where her research study examined the effect of class libraries on middle school trainees reading engagement.

Identity Affirming Classrooms: Spaces that Center Humanity By Erica Buchanan-Rivera( Routledge/Eye On Education,2022– Learn more).
Reviewed by Katie Durkin.
” An identity verifying class is a student-centered environment where the contributions, reflections, and feedback from youth are celebrated and encouraged” (p. 142).
As a very first year instructor, I remember the enjoyment of getting my own classroom. I was prepared to embellish, plan lessons, and make choices about my teaching that I thought would best benefit my students. I was a TEACHER!
I still feel this excitement every August, however this year I have been especially motivated to think more about the space I am creating in my class to guarantee that my students feel enjoyed and taken care of which their identities are valued– thanks to my time invested with Identity Affirming Classrooms: Spaces that Center Humanity by Dr. Erica Buchanan-Rivera.
Identity Affirming Classrooms starts with an intro, followed by six chapters divided into two sections. In chapter one, Buchanan-Rivera welcomes educators to think of how they can “Do The Work” (p. 21) of producing identity verifying class by first considering the historical roots of our finding out spaces.
The context Buchanan-Rivera provides includes considering the role that oppression has played in the style of school and how antiracism is at the heart of producing a class that is identity affirming for trainees.
Comprehending equity.
The books first section ends with a second chapter specifying equity for educators, specifically calling the qualities teachers who lead for equity will have in their schools and class.
These qualities include educators who are system-focused, who disrupt the status quo, and who accept urgency of their own work. These equity leaders aim to build a neighborhood founded upon responsibility and interaction (p. 53-54). Buchanan-Rivera offers specific questions to end this very first part to help educators grow an equity frame of mind.
What are identity affirming areas?
The second part of Identity Affirming Classrooms looks into the components of identity verifying spaces. Chapter 3 starts with a definition of identity and how “deficit thinking and dehumanizing ideologies” threaten trainees multifaceted identities (p. 79).
Most importantly in this chapter, Buchanan-Rivera offers instructors actionable steps they can take to fix harm that has taken place within a classroom community. What I discovered most effective were direct quotes from trainees about their own experiences. Buchanan-Rivera specifically highlights student voices to assist us comprehend how the design of class, and the action taken within them, can develop identity affirming environments.
Chapter 4 gets in touch with teachers to believe about the physical environment of their class. When teachers are creating their areas, consisting of the physical design of chairs, tables and other furniture pieces, they need to be doing so with identity in mind.
Buchanan-Rivera uses tips that will assist teachers think about how to promote collectivism in a class through the focus of community. This includes more than considering the environment in regards to a physical space but likewise about the actions of the instructors themselves and how they reveal assistance for their students identities.
The impact of trauma.
The humanity of mentor is one of Buchanan-Riveras overarching themes. Chapter 5 dives deeply into this style, assisting teachers think of the human operate in education, specifically how the functions of trust, connections, positionality, and vulnerability are all part of what it suggests to be an instructor.
I felt that this chapter was incredibly crucial since it likewise helps instructors to think about the function injury has actually played in forming students lives and their identities. This chapter consists of actionable steps educators can take to produce a knowing community that values, verifies, and takes care of each human being in the classroom.
The last chapter of the book concludes with how instructors can take advantage of student voice through “personalized conferences, listening tours, and the development of student affinity or advocacy groups” to listen and find out from trainees themselves (p. 143). Buchanan-Riveras argument for creating identity affirming class centers on making sure that trainees humanity comes. And if we wish to comprehend this humanity, she writes, we need to ask the students.
Resources and actionable steps.
The book ends with an epilogue and 2 appendices. The epilogue concludes the book by accentuating Buchanan-Riveras fellow scholars who are doing the work to make identity verifying class occur for students. This was a great place for me to discover more authors and writers who can help me explore this work even more.
The first appendix supplies readers with a ranking scale to assist instructors assess their existing class and environments.The 2nd appendix provides actionable actions educators can take if they deal with resistance when working toward identity verifying spaces.
Mirror work and cumulative work.
What I believe to be the most effective and arguably essential part of this book is the mirror work and cumulative work included in each chapter. Buchanan-Rivera makes the point at the beginning of the book that if instructors are to develop identity affirming classrooms, they first need to examine themselves, their beliefs, and their identities through mirror work.
Educators also require to group with similar-minded colleagues to do collective work, where they take a look at, question, and work towards common objectives together. Buchanan-Rivera supplies readers with guided questions for mirror and collective work to assist them consider the focus in each chapter. This work includes Buchanan-Rivera advocating for readers to keep a journal to track their believing about the topics covered in the book.
While this book was a fast read being under 200 pages, I would argue that this is a text that needs to read more than as soon as and with other individuals. The work Buchanan-Rivera asks educators to do requires time, reflection, sincerity, and tough work. It is not thinking that could be done solely from reading this book.
A must-read for all professors members.
What I enjoyed most about Identity Affirming Classrooms was Buchanan-Riveras beautiful blending of scholarship with her own experiences, trainee interviews, actionable practices, and questions that teachers ought to be considering every day to find out, relearn, and unlearn. It supplies teachers with the background knowledge they need to do this work, along with actionable practices they could execute in their class environments right now. She reminds us that we remain in the human company. As teachers we are contacted us to teach, help, and foster learning in our humans..
This book is timely, required, and a should check out for all teachers, coaches, principals, curriculum coordinators, and diversity and Inclusion officers. Its a call to action. If we desire our trainees to grow, thrive, and learn in our classrooms, we need to work towards producing and designing areas that promote identity development rather than suppress it.
In Chapter 5, Buchanan-Rivera remembers a professional advancement session where activist and civil rights lawyer Fania Davis began the work by asking the audience a concern that is a greeting from the Maasai people, a people in Kenya and Tanzania: “How are the kids?” (p. 133).
This concern stands upon the foundation of the cumulative, rather than the person, and as teachers, we live, thrive and often fail in the cumulative work we do every day. By thinking of this question day by day, we will continue to like, teach and affirm the humans in our care.

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