Unpacking ‘For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood’: Transformative Lessons in Education

The book For White People Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest if Y’all Too by Christopher Emdin, has reshaped my instructional approach. In this post I share five key takeaways that I plan to implement in my future classroom.

Five Key Isights and Possible Implementation

Reality Pedagogy – Incorporating students lived experiences within the content with a goal to meet students where they are culturally and emotionally. In my future classroom I plan on co-creating lessons with my students, this means, connecting the curriculum to my students realities and voices making learning relatable and meaningful.

Cosmopolitanism – Fostering socioemotional connections within the classroom with a goal for students to build a sense of responsibility for their learning environment and their peers. In my future classroom I plan to give students the opportunity to have certain responsibilities and jobs and ensure to them they their role within the classroom is important, valued, and critical for the classroom to run smoothly.

Context and Content – Creating a engaging environment for students with a goal to promote students curiosity and encourage them to make connections between the context and the content presented during class, this gets students asking questions. In my future classroom I plan to have a place where students can write down any question they may have that is related to the content.

Pentacostal pedagogy – Providing students with a safe space where they can identify, discuss, and express their emotions. with a goal to create an environment where students feel comfortable enough to learn.

Teach and Serve – Providing students with the opportunity to focus on non-academic but beneficial activities with a goal to encourage students to apply their knowledge to real world challenges in their communities. In my future classroom I plan on setting up service projects where students are able to serve their community in an impactful way.

Changes in my Thinking

  • As educators we must actively try to build a positive relationship between students and their communities
  • As educators we must show emotions and vulnerability within the classroom and encourage our students to do the same
  • Sometimes switching up the routine is good for students and the classroom

Community Research Project

Watershed Project – students will have to conduct a hands-on investigation of the local watersheds health, collecting and analyzing environmental data. They will collaborate to develop plans that address local ecological issues and they will have to determine the best way to present this information to the community. This project allows for students to investigate a local issue, use collaborative inquiry, and problem solve.

More Information

Want to see some of my other blogs? Check out my Twitter!


  1. I liked your lesson plan a lot Maya. I think addressing a local issue can be a really effective method of connecting with student culture in a positive manner. In did want to ask, when you say switching up routines can be positive, can you elaborate on how you may do this in a way that isn’t distracting but helpful?

    • For a class with older students (11th & 12), I would probably give students a community service project where they have to volunteer at an after-school program and help younger students with their science homework. After I would have students right a reflection paper.

    • For a biology class, I would probably give students a community service project where they have to investigate different wildlife habitats and create a biodiversity guide for members of the community to help protect these habitats.

  2. Love the post, how do you see yourself letting students co-create instruction? How much freedom will you give them in leading the direction in a lesson?

    • Thank you. I think it would have to depend on the class. I think to start I would just ask my students for feedback frequently and slowly start introducing some of their ideas and see how it goes and then go from there.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.