Hello and welcome to my faculty page. I am an Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in English education in the Department of Secondary and Middle Grades Education in the the Bagwell College of Education.
Before coming to KSU, I was a classroom teacher for 11 years. I have had the good fortune to teach in a wide variety of settings from grade 6 - grade 11 and in rural, suburban, and urban settings serving students and families from diverse backgrounds.
Promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity is a strong thread that is woven into my scholarship, teaching and service. The framework for most of my scholarship derives from culturally responsive teaching and critical literacy and, to a lesser extent, liberatory pedagogy. It also reflects my own journey and growth in becoming a critical educator.
First, I interrogated my own positionality and the way it shapes how I take in the world. During this period, I co-wrote the article "Preparing culturally responsive teachers: Effective practices in teacher education" published in Action in Teacher Education (Ellerbrock, Vásquez, Cruz, & Howes, 2016). My work and presentations during this time encouraged pre- and in-service teachers to practice self-interrogation and to learn more about their own students who are often "othered." The intense reflection and knowledge gain during this period compelled me to want to take action. What can we do to empower students to use their own voices for change?
This question prompted me to write about taking action and encouraging educators to work from a standpoint of liberatory pedagogy. At this time, the International Society of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning invited me to join an international writing group. We published "Student voice in work integrated learning scholarship: A review of teacher education and geographical sciences" (Thomson, Draper, Gilmore, Majury, O’Conner, Vásquez, & Waite, 2017), a systematic, cross-discipline literature review that investigated what has been reported about work-integrated learning in relation to student voice, how student voice has been represented, and how it has influenced practice. The following year, KSU colleague Dr. Jennifer Dail and I published "Google Drive: Facilitating collaboration and authentic community beyond the classroom" in the leading journal of middle grades language arts education Voices from the Middle (Dail & Vásquez, 2018) and a chapter in the book Towards a More Visual Literacy: Shifting the Paradigm with Digital Tools and Young Adult Literature (Dail, Witte, & Bickmore, 2018). Both of these pieces focus on expanding the means and media teachers can employ to encourage students to use their own voices with authentic audiences. When in-service teachers heard us present at conferences or implemented the ideas in their own classrooms, I learned more about the push back critical educators experience from students, administrators, and parents. I began to believe that the only way teachers can sway the public to support critical literacy is through action research in the classroom.
To that end, I began writing about and seeking funding for assisting pre-and in-service teachers to conduct classroom research on transformative teaching and its impact on student learning, classroom climate, and aspects of social and emotional learning. This accounts for my edTPA presentations as well as "Rethinking teacher preparation: Does action research fit into the transformation?" (Kelley-Jackson, Vásquez, Myers, Jean-Sigur, & An, 2019), and “Interactive Research Methods Lab 4-Teachers: A professional development tool to help teachers’ use of research-based practices and data-driven decision making” (Jorrín-Abellán, Gaines, Vásquez, Chang, Koz, & Kim, 2019), and seeking grants such as the Spencer Foundation Grant. Diversity, inclusion, and equity allow us to see the world from multiple perspectives, through the eyes and hearts of those who have walked a different path. We would do well to learn from one another.