Diversity, Social Justice, and the Educational Leader


The sociopolitical context of schooling demands that teachers acknowledge the ways their students’ and their own experiences are shaped by the intersections of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, and other discriminatory factors. This is especially true during times of heightened civil unrest resulting from pervasive and persistent injustice experienced by minoritized populations. To engage students in pedagogy that connects with their lived experiences and that equips them to critically examine inequities, teachers must refute colorblind pedagogy in favor of woke pedagogy. Woke pedagogy, like critical multicultural education, is defined by teaching practices that integrate critiques of contemporary justice-related issues with academic content in a learning environment that encourages introspection, interrogation, and insurgence. This theoretical framework for woke pedagogy outlines a wide range of knowledge, skills, and dispositions that equip teachers to promote critical thinking about complex issues—in other words, to be woke pedagogues. Grounded in Black feminist ideology, woke pedagogy distinguishes itself from critical multicultural education in important ways: 1) both teachers and students view their lived experiences as sources of knowledge and tools for knowledge creation, 2) teachers and students analyze injustice from an intersectional perspective, and 3) teachers exhibit activist care. This conceptual treatise includes suggestions for empirical research studies that will yield results that are crucial to the effective practice of woke pedagogy, a 21stcentury approach to critical multicultural education.