Critical Professional Learning Networks: A Revolutionary Space in an Oppressive Place
As our American education system continues to shift in favor of neoliberal views regarding public education teachers, students, and school systems themselves are perceived as commodities-objects that hold the potential for profitable gains. According to the American Psychological Association’s report of 2012 titled, Ethnic and Racial Disparities in Education: Psychology’s Contributions to Understanding and Reducing Disparities, students of color continue to underperform academically in comparison to their White counterparts. Challenges such as these can only be met by teachers, who are themselves, prepared to take a stand against a Eurocentric educational establishment through either ongoing teacher education programs and/or professional learning communities/networks.
In emancipatory spaces power and authority are reduced and teachers are free to expand their knowledge from a stance of revolution and resistance as opposed to traditional professional development models. The overall goal of this study is to focus on the experiences of Chicana teachers in urban education as they take part in a critical professional learning network in order to find a shared space in which they might foster their own critical consciousness raising and continue to grow in their own revolutionary stances in education through the method of testimonio. The theoretical frame, Chicana feminist theory, was used as a discursive scaffold in order to investigate the notion of extending theory in a third space. The findings indicate that when Chicana feminist educators come together in a “space of their own” (Garcia, 1989) they are able to theorize ways in which they are able to resist and persist in their personal and professional spaces. Thus, enabling them to carry on in their story(ied) lives as well as extend their urban revolutionary stances into marginalized and oppressive places.