17 episodes

Can education be liberatory in its current state or must a new system be built up?

WHBLE founder, award-winning writer, director and applied theatre educator, Ah-Keisha McCants, hosts conversations with educators, school leaders, parents, and students to discuss the state of education, and systemic problems facing youth in schools. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/whble/support

WHBLE Presents Education As Liberation Whole Body Literacy & Education (WHBLE)

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 9 Ratings

Can education be liberatory in its current state or must a new system be built up?

WHBLE founder, award-winning writer, director and applied theatre educator, Ah-Keisha McCants, hosts conversations with educators, school leaders, parents, and students to discuss the state of education, and systemic problems facing youth in schools. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/whble/support

    Education As Liberation Episode 17

    Education As Liberation Episode 17

    Our Students Are Not a Monolith

    WHBLE founder, Ah-Keisha McCants speaks with Claremont Graduate University, PhD Candidate Kenya Marshall-Harper about the power of relationship-building in schools, leveraging the needs and assets of students and families, the problematic role of productivity in schools, and the importance of the talent development of underserved youth, including Black women and girls, and teachers.

    Kenya R. Marshall-Harper is a PhD candidate in education at Claremont Graduate University.  Her research interests include K-12 education, early preparation of gifted and talented students, and underserved populations.  As a secondary English and English Language teacher, she has worked with diverse students for over 14 years.  She has received national and international awards including the Tae Han Kim Award and the Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Award for high achievement. She has presented at numerous conferences on the talent development of notable individuals including successful women of color.  Her dissertation focuses on the talent development and productivity of African-American female faculty.


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    • 47 min
    Education As Liberation Episode 16

    Education As Liberation Episode 16

    Solving the Inequities that Divide

    WHBLE’s CEO, award-winning writer and director, Ah-Keisha McCants talks with Kwame Sarfo-Mensah, founder of Identity Talk Consulting. A former math teacher in Philadelphia and Boston public schools, Kwame talks about the rampant and ignored racial and socioeconomic disparities in educational access, the reactionary approach of schools in the midst of the pandemic, and what might be gained in meeting the demand for alternative career pathway opportunities as a means of achievement and liberation for Black students and their peers.

    Kwame Sarfo-Mensa is the founder of Identity Talk Consulting, LLC., an independent educational consulting firm that provides professional development and consulting services to educators globally who desire to enhance their instructional practices and reach their utmost potential in the classroom. Throughout his 14-year career as a public school educator, author, and entrepreneur, Kwame has been on a personal mission to uplift and empower educators who are committed to reversing the ills of the public education system in America and globally. As a staunch ambassador and advocate for teacher empowerment, Kwame has spoken at numerous national education conferences and worked diligently to support the recruitment and retention of teachers of color in the education system. In January 2019, he was one of 35 Massachusetts teachers of color by Commissioner Jeff Riley to be in the inaugural cohort of the InSPIRED (In-Service Professionals Increasing Racial and Ethnic Diversity) Fellowship, an initiative organized by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education for veteran teachers of color to recruit students of color at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels to teach in targeted districts within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As an InSPIRED Teaching Fellow, Kwame facilitated professional development workshops for aspiring teachers at universities such as Boston College, UMass Boston, and Worcester State University and has served as a guest speaker for non-profit teacher pipeline programs such as Generation Teach and Worcester Public Schools’ Future Teachers Academy.

    Recognizing the increasing demand for alternative career pathway opportunities within the Black and Latinx teaching community in the Greater Boston area, Kwame founded and organized the inaugural Boston Edupreneurs of Color Symposium, a one-day community event for educators and community members looking to leverage their skill sets as educators to give back to the community, learn valuable lessons about the importance of entrepreneurship and the necessary steps they need to build a successful small business and/or a non-profit organization. A proud graduate of Temple University, Kwame holds a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and a Master's Degree in Education. He was honored as the 2019 Member of the Year by Black Educators Rock, Inc. for his unwavering commitment to the advancement of the teacher profession. As he has ascended the ranks of the teaching profession, Kwame has always stayed true to his identity as an educator and is motivated to help others do the same as they navigate their educator journeys.


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    • 42 min
    Education As Liberation Episode 15

    Education As Liberation Episode 15

    Framing Whiteness in Liberation pt. 1

    WHBLE founder, Ah-Keisha McCants talks with Applied Theatre Practitioner and Project Director at the CUNY Creative Arts Team (CAT) Mícheál Curtin about the surfacing the awareness of white identity, centering antiracism and history, the role of capitalism, the brilliance of arts educators, and the tensions around pedagogies and practices on the journey towards educational liberation.

    Mícheál Curtin is an applied theatre practitioner from Brooklyn, New York who  specializes in drama-in-education, process drama, theatre of the oppressed, and devised theatre. His work centers on creating theatre in response to communities’ needs as a way of en-livening conversation, making meaning, and developing theory.

    He is currently a Project Director at the CUNY Creative Arts Team (CAT), where he directs a theatre-in-education program in six high schools around New York City. With the Literacy through Drama team at CAT, Mícheál and six multi-ethnic actor-teachers develop theatre workshops around topics such as romantic and sexual relationships, policing and racist systems, loyalty, the power of language, immigration, and isolation. The team creates curriculum in response to the young people’s interests, needs, and concerns. For this reason they sometimes focus on skill-building around communication, self-efficacy, study skills, and career & college readiness.

    A speaker of Irish Gaelic, Mícheál works periodically in Ireland toward the revitalization of the language, whose speakership has declined over the centuries (from 100% to about 3% of the population) as a result of colonialism by the English. He uses drama, storytelling, and popular education methodologies in native-speaker communities as well as in learner communities to teach the language as well as generate dialogue and meaning around it. “I have found that learning my ancestral language has given me a surer footing in my work at home in the US.”

    Mícheál has also done applied theatre work in Rwanda with the CUNY School of Professional Studies M.A. in Applied Theatre (2011, 12), with Latinx communities in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, with LGBTQIA+ youth at The Door (a youth center in Manhattan), and in countless public schools around New York City as a teaching artist. He proudly holds an M.A. in Applied Theatre from the CUNY School of Professional Studies.

    Mícheál dreams of a world in which “everyone, myself included, is free to love, enjoy, celebrate, and create. I believe the biggest barriers to achieving this are white supremacist capitalism and neocolonialism. I believe that our ability to play, imagine, and create together are powerful assets in the struggle to dismantle these forces.”


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    • 47 min
    Education As Liberation Episode 14

    Education As Liberation Episode 14

    The  Systems That Bind pt. 2

    WHBLE founder, Ah-Keisha McCants talks with Educator and Assistant Principal at Boston Public Schools Gavin Smith about teacher messaging to students, encouraging agency and achievement within urban schools, the role of double consciousness in Black youth, and the reclamation of liberation in the face of systemic oppression.

    Gavin Smith is an educator, and Assistant Principal in Boston Public Schools. He is the former runner up for Teacher of the Year in Massachusetts where he taught biology for 7 years. Gavin is of Jamaican origin and spent the majority of his childhood between Jamaica, West Indies and Long Island, New York. He has worked at a variety of schools in Boston including alternative high schools, charter high schools, and exam schools. Gavin is a firm believer [in] education being a means of social change, and an advocate for children as a member of the mentoring group Minds Matter Boston. He is the co-founder of YMOC (Young Men of Color), a group designed to create safe space for intergenerational conversation and community building amongst men of color in the Boston area. Gavin holds degrees from Northeastern University, Simmons University, and Boston College. He is an avid runner, Knicks fan and lover of all things black.


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    • 45 min
    Education As Liberation Episode 13

    Education As Liberation Episode 13

    The Systems That Bind part. 1

    WHBLE founder, Ah-Keisha McCants talks with Research Analyst Donté McGuire about whiteness, white allyship and the redistribution of resources, the role of labels and the ways context and identity matter in navigating systems of oppression.

    Donté McGuire serves as a Research Analyst at Higher Ed Insight. He has experience in various educational contexts including international education, high school re-entry and completion, college access, residence life and housing, program evaluation, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. He is a doctoral candidate in the University of Maryland’s Higher Education program and is earning a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies. Donté’s scholarship focuses on improving educational access and success for marginalized groups, cross-cultural education and understanding, and culturally competent leadership. He earned a MEd in Higher Education Administration from North Carolina State University and a BA in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Wake Forest University.


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    • 54 min
    Education As Liberation Episode 12

    Education As Liberation Episode 12

    Healing for Liberation pt. 2

    WHBLE founder, Ah-Keisha McCants talks with registered nurse and entrepreneur Tekita Bankhead about centering Black women and girls, the negative toll a culture of exceptionalism, order, and perfectionism has on mental health, the role of learning via technology during Covid19, honoring the experiences and emotional expressions of Black women, and where dialogue is situated in liberatory in education.

    Tekita Bankhead is a registered nurse, entrepreneur, and Student Affairs professional. She currently serves as the Specialist in Education at the University of Illinois Counseling Center.  She received her Master of Science degree in Counselor Education with an Emphasis in Student Affairs Administration from Mississippi State University and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from Mississippi University for Women. Her professional experiences focus primarily on mental health, social justice, effective coping skills, race-related trauma, and women’s empowerment. Tekita is a noted speaker, instructor, and independent consultant who delivers innovative educational workshops designed to tackle complex issues of inclusive leadership, cultural humility, wellness, and identity. In her spare time, she enjoys being a community servant as an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and working as the Creator/Editor-In-Chief of her business, The Pedestal Project, LLC, which focuses on uplifting Black women through an online platform and dialogue-based events in the Champaign-Urbana community. To learn more about the Pedestal Project, LLC, visit pedestalproject.com or connect on social media (@pedestalproject).


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    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

allowthesun ,

So grateful for this podcast!

I can’t get enough of these chats! Every one and every educator should be listening to this right now!

King PHL ,

Episode 1

A thorough and thought provoking conversation! Great host!

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