Some in the education world may already be familiar with EduColor, a loose collective of teachers, parents, students, and others promoting honest talk about race in education and ensuring that diverse voices are heard. Beginning this week, #Educolor is easier to find and follow because the group just launched a website and biweekly newsletter.
As an example of their work, EduColor issued a challenge to New York Public Schools this past fall when a mostly white faculty was encouraged to wear NYPD t-shirts to school, as a protest of union action against police brutality. Rather than simply call out the misstep, Educolor lobbied for cultural competency as a core teaching value and began organizing to promote dialogue and training in the city’s schools.
The most recent #educolor Twitter chat is now available, in Storified version, on their website. Like other such chats, it shares interesting discussion and resource-sharing. This one explores the topic of code-switching in and outside classrooms.
One participant suggests that people in the dominant culture don’t necessarily understand what code-switching is and how it affects educational interactions. The recommendation is this short video from Jamila Lyiscott who calls herself a “tri-tongued orator” —
“The reason I speak a composite version of your language is that mines was ripped away,” Lyiscott reminds listeners, in the powerful spoken-word essay, “Broken English.” She employs shifting speech patterns and accents to celebrate the three distinct flavors of English she speaks with her friends, her parents, and her classroom.
Chatters pointed out that code-switching is still a taboo subject in some school communities. Meanwhile, whether discussed outright or not, code-switching encompasses history, culture, and student individual identities, as well as ideas about which ways of speaking and writing might be “correct.”
Teachers pointed out that students need to know there is no such thing as “normal” and “abnormal” in English, and that value is socially constructed.
Learn more on the new Educolor website.