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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities




American schooling is a colonized construct that seeks to maintain white patriarchal hegemony (Battiste, 2013). As a critical educator whose personal epistemologies are shaped by Indo-Caribbean feminism and Coolie feminism, I continually grapple with a large bureaucratic system that thrives on the perpetual dehumanization of teachers, families, and students. The sudden shift to remote learning surfaced the particular cognitive dissonance I navigate, both within myself and in my professional spaces, as I work to decolonize my classroom spaces while inadvertently perpetuating them.

As a high school English teacher serving a population of exclusively BIPOC students in a small urban school, I took the shift to remote learning as an opportunity to engage in an autoethnographic study aimed at examining the decolonization of virtual classroom spaces. Utilizing Smith's concept of the line, the center, and the outside (2012), I interrogated the process of decolonizing schooling both in my English literature courses and in my leadership of the English department. Using Lyiscott's fugitive literacies framework (2019) as a lens, I examined ideological, institutional, interpersonal, and internal manifestations of white supremacy in the decolonizing process. As a result, I crafted a unique tool for critical reflection and analysis called "the decolonial compass." This tool was used to situate my personal identity within relevant socio-political and historical contexts. This was achieved by integrating the larger frameworks of decolonizing theory and critical constructivism with my personal epistemologies. This study documents my authentic decolonizing process during the tumult of the COVID-19 pandemic with two major findings: (1) relinquishing epistemological control is central to decolonizing classrooms and (2) critical love is a tool for combatting dehumanization. Recommendations for teacher education and professional development are included.

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