Jean Blaise

After graduating with my doctoral degree in the Department of Educational Policy, Research and Administration at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, I have taught at number of institutions of higher education in Western Massachusetts, including Westfield State University, Elms College, and Springfield Technical Community College. This includes courses in Sociology, Educational Foundations, Applied Linguistics, and English as Second Language.


As a teacher, I attempt both to connect with my students and challenge them in order to build a community of critical thinkers in the classroom. With these goals in mind, I approach the classroom with one overarching philosophy–to view students as active participants rather than passive learners. I also encourage them to use their agency to be the guardians of their own learning. This is in line with a firm belief that I have held throughout my teaching career, namely, that students do not arrive in the classroom as a tabula rasa ready to be filled. Instead, they are ready to participate from the very outset with the cultural capital they uniquely bring to the classroom. Thus, I always try to engage them in the work of praxis.


As a researcher I have continued the line of inquiry that began with my dissertation which examined the experience of Haitian youth in Boston Public Schools, focusing on educational equity, social justice education, sociology of education, and international development. I pursue these interests through an approach that lies on three pillars: class, race, and gender. As a researcher, I employ these three pillars to help me see the world through a multicultural, racial, and ethnic lens. For example, I continue to investigate the phenomenon that links high stakes testing, immigrant communities, educational outcomes, and social standing using qualitative research through case studies and ethnography which can engender policy reforms in education.


Most recently, I took the initiative to obtain extensive academic training in Intercultural Communication at the University of California, Irvine; I then started working as a consultant where I have advised schools that serve students from different nationalities and ethnic background on how to better engage and build relationships with students, teachers, and parents. I also advise school officials to make concerted efforts to maintain an ongoing dialogue between students from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. I discuss how to better respond to the pressing need to build bridges between teachers, students, parents, and home communities.



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CIE Graduate