Re-envisioning the Possible in Classrooms – imaginED


By Moraima Machado, Ed.D (Principal in San Lorenzo Unified Faculty District)

The purpose of freedom is human creative imagination, the enhancement, and elaboration of daily life ~ (Nachmanovitch, 1990)

When I was growing up in Venezuela, I usually discovered myself on my mother’s bed or at our eating room table listening to stories. We did not have a tv. My mother and Tia Elsita stuffed our room with all sorts of stories — from times when they had been developing up in the course of politically turbulent moments to far more up to date stories of their day by day life. The tales of our grandparents tapped into ancestral understanding and formed potential generations, stories of dichos, consejos, joy, sorrow, love, and resilience. I do not recall when the learnings from those tales started to affect who am I as a mom, spouse, sister, daughter, mate, colleague, and academic leader. But they did and for that I am usually grateful.

What I do recall is that in my job as a college chief, sharing my tale was not anything that I felt I desired to do— rather I felt that I necessary to assimilate to the dominant lifestyle even so, a short while ago, as I undertook a task to deliver the stories of people and kids into the college, I felt the require to share my mother’s tales as a foundation of my function. When we, as members of communities of shade, enter the white dominated academic technique, we are compelled to go away our society “at the door”. There is no place for our voices. As a principal, I knew that I necessary to tap into imagination and creative imagination to help lecturers to convey the voices of Students of Shade into the curriculum. As Communities of Color interact in counter-storytelling, their hopes, goals, and aspirations for their youngsters occur to the forefront.

As a principal, I realized that I required to faucet into creativity and creativity to aid instructors to deliver the voices of Students of Coloration into the curriculum.

I invited a group of 3 instructors, a counselor, dad and mom, and a group member to engage in a participatory motion investigation venture that entailed three successive cycles of inquiry about 18 months to deliver the voices and stories of households of colour into the curriculum. We were sure that supplying a spot for families to have interaction in a finding out exchange and share stories and memories would lead to extra revolutionary curriculum in the fifth-quality school rooms. And we were correct!

Influenced by the understanding trade philosophy and perform of Guajardo et. al. (2016), I started with the self. I shared my tale of growing up in a lousy part of Caracas and getting to be an immigrant to the United States. Then, we invited dad and mom to a Loved ones Neighborhood Finding out Exchanges (CLE) at our university to share their stories and histories. This operate essential imaginative considering (Judson, 2018) to engage the families in drawing, thinking, and talking about their each day life, their household histories, and the situation of their present-day activities.

As learners and teachers listened to each and every other’s stories, the stories became more than a tale. These tales constituted testimonios, a more robust term in Spanish for bearing witness, very similar to what Emdin (2016) suggests in pedagogical methods to replicate the cultural working experience of the Black church. By testifying, the dad and mom and people laid declare to tales of their energy and received a different form of company in the finding out exchanges and, subsequently, the fifth-quality students did in their classrooms. The romantic relationship involving academics and pupils changed from hierarchical to horizontal, and the tales of the pupils grew to become the foundation of generating a classroom neighborhood.

We utilised the stories shared by parents at the CLE to generate a curriculum of storytelling in the fifth-quality classrooms– what Muhammed (2018) names as important literacy. The instructors and I recognized that we had asked students to generate emulation poems earlier and the pupils had shared the “I arrive from a place” poems for quite a few years. However, this time we observed a distinction. In this scenario, the academics recognized that college student testimonios as a procedure of witnessing—meaning public listening and relating to the stories— builds stronger local community. As a consequence, academics questioned for tales from their learners with the end aim of developing group and not an assignment.

Alaina, a fifth-quality teacher mirrored on this shift:

Alternatively of this is an assignment where you’re bringing your tale and you are educating us about you. This identity venture was more like we’re developing the neighborhood. You are element of this. You are bringing your tale and bringing it into the classroom in which the story is like the bonds that we’re owning. And I signify, the tales are who we are as a course. (Alaina Lee, December 5, 2020)

What we uncovered all through this project is that the storytelling system necessary modifying associations between participants from hierarchical to horizontal. For lecturers and administrators to find out from households of coloration, we desired to be susceptible, to permit down the partitions that different us from the mum or dad community, and to apply a different form of listening. To do this, we experienced to have interaction in the imaginative act of witnessing stories. Using CLEs and protocols, we produced a gracious area for deeper listening with our dad or mum group (Guajardo & Guajardo, 2013 Hughes & Grace, 2010). Intertwined in the process of sharing each and every other’s stories in loved ones wisdom circles, we have been in a position to see every other differently–not as gurus and mom and dad interacting in a faculty environment, but as co-storytellers and listeners. The course of action humanizes the practical experience for anyone and sustains relationships in our perform (San Pedro & Kinloch, 2017).


Guajardo, M., Guajardo, F., Janson, C., & Militello, M. (2016). Reframing local community partnerships in training: Uniting the electrical power of area and knowledge of people. Routledge.

Judson, G. (2018). Re-imagining university leadership: Beginnings. imaginative academic leadership.

Nachmanovitch, S. (1990). Cost-free perform: Improvisation in lifetime and art. Tarcher/Putnam.

Quinn, J. & Blank, M. J. (2022). Twenty yrs, ten classes: Community educational facilities as an equitable enhancement strategy. Voices of City Training, 49(2).   DOI:

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