Thursday Aug 24, 2023

Episode 17: Building “A Place Called Home” with Math Educator Geniuses Crystal Watson and Dr. Dawn Williams

Shane and Alcine are back with this on-FIRE conversation with Cincinnati math educators Crystal Watson and Dr. Dawn Williams who remind us that “The sun does not ask permission to shine, and neither do I.” These Black women leaders take us on a journey to understanding the type of math pedagogy that will transform and empower future generations of learners. We learn from Dr. Dawn why it’s important for leaders to create a place called home for teachers and, in turn, for students. Crystal and Dawn model a culture of listening to students as they enter classrooms, always asking, “How will that one child feel…?”, engaging in learning alongside students, all in efforts to affirm to students that the classroom is “your space”. They also teach us how to have a student-centered Data Meeting, how to support teachers to practice active listening (even when it’s uncomfortable!. They explain how anxiety specifically with math triggers fight or flight, diminished executive function, and distracting behaviors in the classroom and how building authentic and trusting relationships can help teachers guide students through that anxiety. Finally, we celebrate the truth that Black educators are “everything” while acknowledging the emotional labor of being a Black woman educational leader.

For further learning:

Book: Choosing to See by Dr. Pamela Seda and Kendall Brown

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