Supporting youth voice as an adult requires deep, long-term learning about adultism and other forms of systemic oppression that youth experience. Be willing both to do internal work and take meaningful action.
Background and Strategies
Adults’ unacknowledged biases show up in their interactions with youth and in organizational practices. To begin to challenge adultism and other forms of oppression that youth experience, adults must look both inward and outward. Long-term self-education plays an important role in beginning to understand and shift internalized ideas that can harm youth.
How does implicit bias against young people based on age, race, gender, and other factors impact adults’ teaching practices? How can we work together as adults to challenge these things in ourselves and our educational spaces?
An abundance of resources exist to support educators seeking to understand their own relationship to the issues youth face. When adults utilize these resources to educate themselves and each other, they’re working toward building more honest, supportive, and authentic relationships with youth. This work can and should also lay a foundation for more equitable teaching strategies and organizational practices.
The Pittsburgh-based Empowered Educators Series provides a forum for teachers, educators, administrators, counselors, and the like to think critically and openly discuss topics of race, equity, bias, and pedagogy. Empowered Educators Series promotes ongoing learning, partnerships with supporting organizations, and community building among teachers.
Carnegie Museum of Art, Center for Urban Education, Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, the Learning Instigator, and Remake Learning have joined together to support educators in their approaches and abilities to facilitate thoughtful discussions about race in the classroom.
This series is fully supported by the Grable Foundation.
Best Practices in Action
“This is hard work. An adult-only space makes is possible to learn together, no one needs to be the expert, as everyone contributes and learns from one another. The learning can then be applied to interactions and time spent with students. A lot of this work is building understanding and confidence in how to talk about race and the injustices that have been done and continue to be done to marginalized people; raising our own awareness’s to bias – that is internal work. Work that needs to be addressed on a personal level before working with students. The Empowered Educator Series provides an opportunity for this work to be done within the support of a community of educators that are all working towards bettering themselves and their teaching practices.”
– Hattie Lehman, Carnegie Museum of Art Associate Curator of Education & Empowered Educators Series Coordinator
“Together, we can reflect more deeply, challenge each other, and nurture our collective growth as we inquire into our work with youth and continually ask ourselves, whose voice is being centered? Who and what does our pedagogy reflect and include and how? The EE series provides spaces to continually practice critical reflection and creation.”
– Erika Gold Kestenberg PhD, Consultant & Empowered Educators Series Co-Facilitator