Seeing Yourself: The First Step in Developing Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy

Seeing Yourself: The First Step in Developing Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy


This session calls for international schools to be sites for sustaining our students’ cultural ways of being. This session will be an eye-opening experience for some but a cathartic experience for others, allowing each participant to develop a deeper understanding, investment in, and appreciation of CSP in our respective schools. It will be community-oriented, with an ‘we-are-all-in-this-together’ approach. Each of us will assume collective responsibility in making the institutions we work in more culturally sustaining communities. This session will also push us to develop self-efficacy beyond any one institution, challenging us to also be reflective in our own lives. In this space, we will be bold and vulnerable in order to explore what is possible within ourselves and within our school communities.

Session Audience:

Whole School

Session Goals:

The primary objective for this session is to explore the knowledge and tools we need to create schools that are culturally sustaining. We must enter into this work by recognising that we are individuals with identities that are very much impacted by environments that are neither culturally or politically neutral terrains. As such, another key goal is that we reflect on who we are in relation to others.  Knowing who we are as people, understanding the contexts in which we teach, and questioning our knowledge and assumptions are as important as the mastery of techniques for instructional effectiveness.

Session Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate self-awareness of and pride in our own social identities.
  2. Express comfort and joy with human diversity in international schools.
  3. Recognise why it is absolutely necessary for international educators to adopt a culturally sustaining pedagogies.
  4. Demonstrate empowerment and the skills needed to transform our classrooms so that our students explore, take pride in, and, at times, interrogate who they are.

Presenter Bio:

Darnell Fine is a classroom teacher and writer whose work focuses on questions of power and critical thought. He facilitates creative writing seminars and social justice workshops in the U.S. and internationally. An educator by trade, he applies radical imagination to the profession of teaching. He seeks to empower his students and encourages them to transform society into a more just place.

Darnell was also a 2012 recipient of the Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Culturally Responsive Teaching.