Radical Pedagogy

Radical Pedagogy (2015) 

Volume 12 Issue 1 

ISSN: 1524-6345

Nothing About Us Without Us: Teacher-driven Critical Professional Development

Bree Picower

College of Education and Human Services

Montclair State University, USA

E-mail: picowerb@mail.montclair.edu


      While the literature on social justice education (SJE) is robust, few professional development opportunities exist to support teachers committed to SJE. This article focuses on an example of critical professional development (CPD) called Inquiry to Action Groups (ItAGs) to understand how this model might support the social justice needs of educators. Findings from this qualitative study indicate that ItAGs supported the development of social justice teachers by providing them with a community characterized by a sense of camaraderie and professionalism. By providing support, reflection time, and discussions about SJE, ItAGs benefitted participants in three ways. Emotionally, they gained renewed motivation, energy and confidence. Intellectually, they gained content knowledge on the topic of their ItAG. Professionally, they gained resources such as readings and lesson plans. These benefits supported them to push their practice inside and outside of their classrooms. Understanding the impact of CPD can support others looking to fill gaps left by traditional professional development in the pursuit of SJE.

     Keywords: teacher professional development, social justice education, critical

                       pedagogy, grassroots organizing