The Teachers’ Democracy Project is dedicated to helping to establish cohesive groups of teachers and community members committed to working in and strengthening Baltimore’s public schools. Each year Teacher Fellows join the program because they are interested in envisioning and, ultimately, creating the kind of schools and classrooms that make the concerns and dreams of a community central to their operation. They work together on a variety of shared projects including: the TDP Summer Institute, shared teacher publications and conference presentations, jointly produced videos focused on a variety of student and teacher advocacy issues, and semester-long teacher inquiry groups.
Our program design involves two different but interrelated initiatives.
Critical Pedagogy: Teachers experiment with a variety of classroom tools and teacher practices to accomplish authentic, equitable engagement in classrooms. Teachers reflect, read and discuss as a way to develop a critical analysis of curriculum and the institution of schooling. The process invites teachers and students to make links between lived experience and larger public issues and an understanding of how to teach using the rich history of African American institutions and intellectual thought in Baltimore.
Public Advocacy. Teachers write and produce media about their perspectives and experiences in their schools along with analysis of related policies and trends. They publish and share their reflections in a variety of venues as a way to invite other thoughtful teachers to engage with the tension between policy and practice. They use a combination of events and face-to-face meetings to contribute to a wider movement of teachers, students, parents and community partners who engage in advocacy efforts across the city.
Our work draws upon university-based people and other knowledge resources to support the research and practical work of teachers, students and community members. The university home of TDP is UMBC’s Language, Literacy and Culture doctoral program.