About 5 years ago, I wrote a blog post calling out the problematics of Teach Like a Champion (TLAC). It gained a bit of traction, started some conversations about why this very controlling pedagogy was becoming so popular in schools that served primarily Black and brown children.
After this past summer of 2020, with the murders of George Floyd, Breana Taylor, Amaud Arbery and so many others, the Black Lives Matter movement became re-centered on the conversation about anti-Black racism in the U.S. and its all too frequent lethal consequences.
In June, I participated in #Strike4BlackLives, led by physicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, re-upping that post along with a more explicit call to name the dominating and controlling TLAC approach as a tool for anti-Blackness. I encouraged people who agreed with my perspective to let their opinions be known on public forums like Amazon or Goodreads, since the book’s popularity continues unabated.
Subsequently, education journalist Jennifer Berkshire and historian Jack Schneider did a story on their Have You Heard podcast about TLAC and its racism problem. Interestingly, I learned from listening to the episode that TLAC’s emphasis on controlling Black children’s bodies has eerie resonances with Reconstruction-era teaching approaches for formerly enslaved children, with a lot of anti-Black notions of “correcting” their amoral character.
So here we are in September. I am participating on Tuesday, September 8 in the Scholar Strike for Racial Justice, a mass action of higher education professionals protesting racist policing, state violence against communities of color, mass incarceration and other manifestations of racism.
I encourage you to follow #SCHOLARSTRIKE on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and to engage with the teach-in occurring on the Scholar Strike YouTube channel.
My contribution to the teach-in is available here. I will also be holding a Twitter #SlowChat using the #EndCarceralPedagogy hashtag on Tuesday, September 8, posting questions every hour from 8 AM to 4 PM Central time. Please join me if you are able to .