Date of Award

Summer 8-22-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Education: Curriculum and Teaching

First Advisor

Jody N. Polleck

Second Advisor

Melissa Schieble

Third Advisor

Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz

Academic Program Adviser

Marshall George


Schools in the United States continue to dramatically under-educate students with marginalized identities. Although professional development for teachers regularly fails to develop the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and commitment needed to interrupt educational inequities and ensure all students thrive, scholarship on teacher learning has identified promising practices such as critical inquiry groups for social justice which can foster teachers’ capacity to interrupt inequitable instructional practices and school policies. (Gorski & Dalton, 2020; Manfra, 2019; Peters, 2016). The three manuscripts in this dissertation explore the experience of a CIG comprised of seven teachers working in an urban elementary school that serves multiply marginalized students. The first manuscript employs Sealey-Ruiz’s (2021) six components of racial literacy development as a framework to analyze how the CIG teachers’ racial literacy supported them to interrupt racism on interpersonal and systemic levels. The second manuscript traces one white teacher’s trajectory from savior toward accomplice, focusing on three major shifts in his perception of his students and families and his conception of the role of a teacher for equity. The third manuscript describes how the CIG teachers inspired each other to think critically about how service-learning projects could either further or interrupt deficit perspectives. Each manuscript concludes with recommendations for designing justice-oriented professional learning spaces.



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