Teachers as Social Capital in 3rd Space:  Advocacy for Student Voice and Leadership in Out-of-Class Time Middle and High School Safe Spaces 

Marilyn Davis, Facilitator


It is believed that middle and high school students’ retention rates increase where students have access to and participate in student-centered learning organizations and communities that nurture and reinforce positive self-identity, academic identity, achievement, accountability, and a sense of positive racial and social identity (Crosnoe, Cavanagh, & Elder 2003).  Gutierrez, et al (1999), submit that experiential opportunities using multiple, diverse and even conflicting mediational tools promotes the emergence of a safe third spaces or zone of development for expanded learning.

This professional development session focuses on middle and high school teachers who are committed to understanding the importance of lifting students out of oppressive conformities and providing them with access to social capital for academic identity, social identity and social advancement.  This session will serve as a pilot to explore future replication of out-of-class time Student Unions, to advance student led voice, leadership and academic support.

In this session teachers are introduced to a brief: Self Identity Exercise; History of Student Unions (historical context of identity empowerment for academic preparation); and learn to understand who or how others see, perceive and are conditioned to know students from diverse backgrounds.

  • Session 1: Teachers will have an opportunity to explore their own identity, beliefs and practices using a Culturally Responsive Teaching framework of commitment to: student academic develop; the nurturing and support of cultural competence and funds of knowledge; support develop of their own and students’ sociopolitical competence and critical consciousness (Ladson-Billings, 1995).
  • Teachers will engage in discussion to answer the question: In what ways are you able to build positive beliefs about your students and translate that belief to your students, for student self-efficacy and academic success.
  • Session 2: Teachers will work together to design a one hour facilitation guide for a Middle or High School Student Union meeting.
  • We will come together to offer feedback using critical friend protocols.
  • Resources for implementation at your school will be provided.

Timeline:  Sessions are 1.50 hours each consisting of content, discussion, questions, and dialogue.  Tuesday, December 6, 2022 and Tuesday, December 13, 2022, via Zoom.

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