EdWeek Features Catherine Bradshaw’s Double Check Program
EdWeek highlights the Double Check professional development program, an initiative led by Curry's Catherine Bradshaw aimed at addressing race and equity in the classroom.
Fifth graders crowd around their teacher's desk to glimpse John Trumbull's "Declaration of Independence." The painting depicts the Declaration's authors presenting a draft of the document to Congress. The teacher asks the students to describe what they see.
"Well, everyone's white," one student says.
"Yes," the teacher responds, and then moves on with the lesson.
Researchers at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education point to this classroom scenario to demonstrate the need for instruction that delves unafraid into issues of race and equity. The Double Check professional development program, led by education professor Catherine Bradshaw and operating in 30 middle schools in Maryland, aims to foster classroom environments where students feel acknowledged and understood. The idea is that teachers should learn to "double check" themselves: stop, and think things through. What's at the root of a student's behavior? What's behind that comment? When the student pointed out there were only white people in the painting—an intuitively insightful observation—the teacher might have acknowledged the observation and explored it, rather than dismissing it.