The Research Collaborative and Equity: Framing the Conversation

By Eric Toshalis
September 6, 2019

In education research, whose knowledge do we most trust? Who is at the table when we make decisions about where we’ll investigate, what data we’ll gather, and how we’ll make meaning of our observations? And whose voices are represented when we interpret findings and translate them for a variety of audiences? 

The team at the Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative is asking these questions for one crucial reason: We will never achieve equity in education until we center the expertise of marginalized stakeholders. 

This fact could not have been clearer to us and our attendees at last fall’s convening of the Research Collaborative. Through our keynotes, plenaries, breakout sessions, networking events, and receptions, we witnessed how much we can advance the field when we prioritize the perspectives of those who are harmed by our educational system, and when we design spaces and activities to destabilize dominant narratives about what works and who most benefits. We know we didn’t do this perfectly and it’s clear we have a lot more work to do to ensure student-centered learning research is used to overcome historical and systemic oppression. But we’re setting a course and making sure our crew can get us there.

In the coming months, we will be releasing a series of blogs featuring the diverse voices of the Research Collaborative. Each blog will cover either a step that we’re taking toward achieving equity, an equity-related topic that we’re ruminating on, critical self-reflection and pledges to improve, or questions for the field to ponder. Specifically, we’ll be covering:

  • Researcher positionality: Why it is important to consider very carefully who is leading educational research and how they are prepared to answer questions related to forms of oppression that occur in and through education 
  • Youth-led research: What we believe and have learned about supporting students to design and lead investigations into student-centered learning 
  • Learning from practitioners: How equity-driven educators are thinking about equity and how it informs their daily work in schools
  • Our role in achieving equity: What we’re asking of ourselves and of the field as we work to dismantle systemic oppression in education

This blog is part of the Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative Equity Series by JFF and KnowledgeWorks and created with support from its funders. Learn more about this work.

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