Message from Division VP
Message from Division VP
Division K VP

Dear Division K Members,

It is a true honor to serve as Vice President of AERA’s Division K. As I start my tenure, I recommit to the much-needed work and movement toward a more just future. To do so, I believe that we need to re-envision the required transformations in our field to be more than practices of personal resistance. Instead, transformation demands the collective, purposeful, and proactive centering of the voices, values, practices, epistemologies, and paradigms of Black, Indigenous, and other people of Color. Only then may we start to undertake the much-needed work and provision of collective liberation. Our field is at a crossroads. COVID-19 made it impossible to ignore inequities and harms in schooling, yet the discourse has quickly shifted from reimagining schooling to repairing and remediating what has been called the “learning loss.” These reparative narratives of crises and racial capitalistic paradigms pathologically shape teaching and teacher education. It is in times like this when we don’t know what to do or how to deal with our anger, fear, and the sense of uncertainty, that the field can benefit from being guided by what Savannah Shange called “a North Star logic” in the book Progressive Dystopia: Abolition, Antiblackness, and Schooling in San Francisco (2019).

A North Star logic is predicated on designing, envisioning, and bringing to life futures that do not yet exist, and in most cases, have never existed. This means that as a field we need to firmly reject tendencies to continue to do what is expected and respected as established research agendas, policies, and practices in teaching and teacher education. Collectively, we need to focus on the potentiality of teaching and teacher education. Now, let’s not be naïve; no focus on potentiality is without obstacles. There has been and there will continue to be the kind of resistance and “friction produced in the encounter between racialized futures and pasts” (Shange, 2019, p. 65).

The days of teaching and teacher education research, policies, and practices centered on whiteness are far from gone. As a field we can no longer ignore the harm teaching and teacher education have inflicted. To address and repair such harm, as a collective, we must enact robust commitments towards racial justice, social transformation, and truly just teaching and teacher education. Despite frictions and tensions between past and future, the future of teaching and teacher education must be marked by movement toward freedom and emancipation as a matter of justice.

I am committed to expanding the stories, ways and systems of knowing, perspectives, paradigms, and experiences delineating research, policy, and practice in teaching and teacher education. This expansion and revisioning is necessary if we are to bring closure to a past (and present) of oppression and envision futures of possibility. If we want to imagine possible futures in the pursuit of justice, we need to recognize that there is more expertise distributed across professions than in any one profession. That is, even if teacher educators have more advanced degrees than teachers, we must commit to prioritizing the voices, values, and perspectives of teachers—especially those historically marginalized and minoritized—to forge a future of potentialities.

Christine Sleeter, among others, has long documented as the overwhelmingly whiteness of teaching and teacher education and its problematics. It is essential that we learn from and with the stories of potentiality being brought to life day in and day out by Black, Indigenous, and other communities of Color who have been divested and harmed by teaching and teacher education research, policies, and practices over time. We must attend to the pervasiveness of intersectional systems of oppression in teaching and teacher education. This means learning from teachers and teacher educators in countries typically excluded or marginalized in teaching and teacher education scholarship, deliberately moving beyond the longstanding focus on Anglophone countries.

Importantly, a North Star logic can guide us to abolish imposed borders and conditions that exclude and “other” the individuals and communities most harmed in and by teaching and teacher education globally. This requires embracing approaches to teaching and learning that honor, cultivate, extend, and sustain multiple ways to read, write, talk, and more broadly communicate the brilliance of Black children, Indigenous communities’ epistemologies and ontologies, the sophistication of multilingual children, and so much more.

As Division K (re)commits to bringing teachers and teacher educators together across sociopolitical borders and professional fields in the pursuit of justice, my hope is that we can forge a powerful collective that can disrupt the status quo while reimagining our professional priorities in ways that are answerable to Black, Indigenous, and other communities of Color.

Although we have a lot of work ahead of us, I want to reaffirm my steadfast commitment to more equitable and just futures in teaching and teacher education. Yet, I want to underscore that this is not “other people’s work.” It is everyone’s work. As part of the teaching and teacher education profession, as a collective, we must work toward, embody, and enact the transformation we hope to see.

I—along with Program Co-Chairs Drs. Mildred Boveda and Tia Madkins and the community serving Division K (see below image)—am energized, hopeful, and ready to work together with you. 

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Together, let’s ensure that teaching and teacher education—research, policy, practice—move toward a more just and transformative future. It is up to us!

As always, committed to the pursuit of justice,

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Mariana Souto-Manning, Ph.D.

Vice-President, AERA Division K (2022-2025)

President, Erikson Institute

Twitter: @SoutoManning

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Mariana Souto-Manning, Ph.D., is Vice-President of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division K (Teaching and Teacher Education). She serves as the fifth President of Erikson Institute in Chicago. Before serving as President of Erikson Institute, Souto-Manning served as Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and held academic appointments at King’s College London and University of Iceland. She has published extensively in teaching and teacher education, and her scholarship has been recognized by several AERA awards. In particular, she is recipient of the Early Career, Mid-Career, and Innovations in Diversity in Teacher Education Research awards issued by Division K. Throughout her career, Souto-Manning has been a teacher, teacher educator, and education researcher. A longtime member of AERA, in addition to serving as Division K VP, Souto-Manning is a member of the Executive Committee of AERA.

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