From Allies to Abolitionists: Developing an Abolitionist Consciousness and Anti-Racist Practices in White Teachers
Date of Award
Doctorate in Education
School or College
School of Education
This study sought to investigate the efficacy of a professional development designed to equip teachers with antiracist practices and support them in developing an abolitionist mindset. The study was designed for white teachers. Participants of the study engaged in a 6-week course grounded in a constructivist learning theory, TLT, and centered around the text, We Want to Do More Than Survive by Love (2019). Participants also engaged with a variety of other texts and resources grounded in asset pedagogies. The sessions were participant-led and focused on cultivating the skills for antiracist teaching while cultivating a mindset grounded in abolition.
The data gathered through surveys and a focus group revealed that some design elements, such as continued reflection, affinity space, and building community before engaging in critical dialogue, were found to be highly effective. Stages of development emerged as teachers moved from leveraging culturally responsive practices, to engaging antiracist practices, to critiquing systems of oppression. As teachers deepened their understanding of abolition, they became more aware of the implications of systemic racism in education, and how educators can play an active role in dismantling it. The current study, along with the growing body of research on asset pedagogies, could provide a road map for what effective asset pedagogy professional development could look like.
Smith, Deonna, "From Allies to Abolitionists: Developing an Abolitionist Consciousness and Anti-Racist Practices in White Teachers" (2022). LMU/LLS Theses and Dissertations. 1153.