Jean Blaise

Since completing my doctoral degree in the Department of Educational Policy, Research and Administration at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, I have taught at a number of institutions of higher education in Western Massachusetts, including the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Westfield State University, and Elms College. I am currently a Lecturer at the University of California, San Diego. I teach courses mainly in the realms of social sciences and education, dealing with issues related to power, wealth, and inequality in human development.


As a teacher, I attempt both to connect with my students and to challenge them intellectually, in order to build a community of critical thinkers in the classroom. With this goal in mind, I approach the classroom with one overarching philosophy—to engage students as active participants, rather than treating them as passive recipients of knowledge. I encourage them to use their agency, so they can be the guardians of their own learning. This corresponds with a firm belief I have held throughout my teaching career: that students do not arrive in the classroom as tabulae rasae, waiting to be filled. I expect them to participate from the very outset with the unique cultural capital they bring to the classroom. Thus, I apply a student-centered model in my classes, in contrast to the traditional teacher-centered approach.


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 incorporates three branches of inquiry: class, race, and gender. I use this approach to help me see the world through a multicultural, multiracial, and multiethnic lens. For example, I continue to investigate the links between high-stakes testing, immigrant communities, educational outcomes, and social standing, using qualitative research methods to analyze case studies, and producing ethnographic data that can engender policy reforms in education.


Over the last five years, I have been working as a consultant on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. I work with various schools in Southern California that serve students of different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, consulting on how better to engage and build relationships with students, teachers, and parents. I also advise school officials on how they can make concerted efforts to maintain ongoing dialogue between students from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. I facilitate trainings and workshops about using concepts of cultural competence to address issues of civil and human rights that affect different minority communities in the United States. I encourage participants to investigate implicit biases and to tackle issues related to identity, racism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, and other forms of cultural oppression.[5-21]




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CIE Graduate