Ed Marquez: Enacting Multicultural Education

How does Ed enact multicultural education in his classroom?

Developing Positive Academic Identities

Developing positive academic identities means that students perceive themselves and members of their own identity groups as intellectually capable and able to achieve at very high levels. They connect their own knowledge and sense of purpose with challenging academic skills and concepts. Ed explains a few of the key strategies he uses to support learning for all: a) Growth mindset, b) Random seating every 3 weeks, and c) Using exit tickets twice a week and disaggregating by race, students with special needs, gender, etc. whatever the needs dictate.

Below are several examples showing what Ed does to develop students' academic identities.

Watch as a student of color explains a process to a paraprofessional, an English Language learner and another group member.

Using Stanford created COMPLEX INSTRUCTION, Ed's class of approximately 36 students illustrates students of color, English language learners (including those from poverty backgrounds), and girls learning to perceive themselves and members of their own socio-cultural background as intellectually capable and able to achieve at very high levels, when teachers hold high expectations of them, build supportive family-like relationships with them. When working collaboratively, the students are the teachers of one another.

The class that is diverse ethnically, and includes English language learners and students with special needs, is working collaboratively. In the first minute of the video, an English Language Learner explains to his group. In the second minute, a student of color explains to his group.

This video shows a whole group discussion where the class processes questions that came up during small group work. Ed uses an inquiry method to stimulate students thinking as they co-create understanding of the math concept. Rather than telling the students a right or wrong answer, Ed positions the students to develop agency as the bearers of knowledge.

Developing Positive Social Identities

Ed discusses his social identity in high school. He highlights Athletes in Math Succeed (AIMS), a program he and his wife Michelle created, as a vehicle for developing positive social identities all five of the identities. Below is a feature on the local news channel in which Ed describes the program.

Student/athletes in the program mentor elementary school students at Lafayette Elementary and high school students with special needs while taking the most rigorous math class they can all 4 years of school. In doing so, the goal is to inspire high school student/athletes of all genders and ethnicities to become community leaders that grow in their character by challenging themselves rigorously in math, becoming role models that mentor elementary school kids, and being prepared to complete a college degree with long term career value.

Female students became a part of AIMS in 2017. A former president of AIMS, now attending UC Berkeley, shares how being involved with AIMS helped her perceive herself as intellectually capable and able to achieve at very high levels. She shares, “So being a part of AIMS gave me a lot of confidence both academically and in my personal life. It gave me confidence in my personal life to take more leadership roles and be more confident in making decisions. Academically, it gave me focus in my ability in math; in making me think even if something is hard, I can still achieve in math and learn new things.”

Former AIMS student Grandville Taylor graduated from Washington High. He went on to play football and graduate from ASU. He is now in a career in financial management and dreams of educating people of color how to navigate the stock market.

Developing Respectful Engagement with Diverse People

Students participating in Athletes In Math Succeed build supportive relationships with students having special needs. In that way, they learn to recognize unfairness on the individual level and injustice at the institutional or systemic level, analyzing its harmful impact on themselves and others. They learn to link their own well-being with that of people who differ from themselves and understand that one’s well-being may result from the marginalization of others.

"Beacon Buddies" refers to this pairing. In the video below, you can see a little bit of how Beacon Buddies works as the high school students play the counting game 21 with their Lafayette Elementary School buddies. .

Developing Social Justice Consciousness

Ed discusses the power of making caring common at schools to develop social justice consciousness:

Through credit recovery, students learn to recognize unfairness on the individual level and injustice at local/national level by learning about abused mothers with children and the economics of starting a business if you have capital.  Credit recovery courses typically have students of color that are repeating failed classes.

In our credit recovery course, rather than using traditional methods to reteach, students work collaboratively to use their math minds to create projects and impact their community. For example, they learned how to sew soccer balls using geometric patterns. They developed a "Shark Tank" sales pitch they delivered on stage to adults. They made a care package with their soccer balls and on a field trip delivered them to a shelter for abused mothers where they were able to listen to the moms share their stories. Evidence shows that students of color and, to a lesser extent white students, can learn to analyze individual unfairness and systemic injustice, locally, nationally, and globally, in terms of its harmful impact on oneself and others, when a curriculum designed to decolonize students’ understandings focuses directly on these issues, and teachers use a pedagogy that supports students as they struggle with difficult issues.

Developing Social Action

Ultimately, as the video below illustrates, Students in Math Succeed leads to social action.