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Dr. Lisa Gilbert @gilbertlisak
, 12 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Sometimes you read a research study and it haunts you. For me that's been the case with K. B. McKenzie's "Emotional abuse of students of color: the hidden inhumanity in our schools." eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ831103 All teachers should read this article. #EduColor
She's looking at the kind of things we've all heard frustrated teachers say:

"I don’t know how many times I’ve said, ‘You want a mean teacher? I can be mean to you. I would rather be nice, But if you need me to be, hey.’"

In other words: "Why do you make me do this to you?"
Before we get too far, let's be clear this isn't a study about "bad apples." From the outset McKenzie is clear that "In other words, these teachers were not purposively chosen because they were the ‘bad’ teachers, but rather they comprised all the white teachers in this school."
McKenzie also writes that this dysfunction is not about systemic issues in schools - the kind of depersonalized forces that we can pretend to distance ourselves from. Rather, it is "vulgar and violent," "destructive and hidden" and we are all complicit
So these data came out of a study that was originally about white Ts' perceptions of working with SOC. McKenzie was surprised by "the abandonment with which the teachers released their hostility and racism toward their students and the students’ families" in focus groups
Findings: 1) teachers criminalized and pathologized their ELEMENTARY SCHOOL students, 2) teachers disrespected and blamed their students, 3) teachers humiliated and excluded their students
Here's a first-grade teacher describing a group of girls as a "gang": "She criminalized them. She did not see six-year-old first graders working together on handwriting; she saw gangsters, criminals."
Here are teachers saying that "these" students need to be treated disrespectfully because "they" don't understand approaches that the same teachers would have used in white, suburban schools
Here's a 4th grade teacher who said an African American boy whose mother had just died of AIDS just as his father had, whose sister was raped by an uncle, and who recently moved in with his grandmother somehow had "no reason" to act "defiant and difficult" and "attention-seeking"
Here's a 5-year-old at another school, the only African American kid in the class, who noticed that his (white female) teacher would hug all the students in the class except him
In her discussion section McKenzie considers the impact of such teacher behaviors on students by putting them in the context of research from psychology
She finishes with a call for all of us to recognize our responsibility - including those of us in the research community.

I have to say, I think about this study a lot. It's had a profound impact on how I see student-teacher interactions. Isn't that what research should be for?
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