Teaching an Educator Led Lesson at the Brooklyn Museum, 2018. (Photo: Ximena Izquierdo Ugaz) 

Teaching an Educator Led Lesson at the Brooklyn Museum, 2018. (Photo: Ximena Izquierdo Ugaz) 


Pedagogy can be a revolutionary, liberating act for both students and teachers with the potential to interrogate systems of power.

I believe that teaching should question the “banking” model, as described by Paulo Freire, and instead strive for inquiry based learning and a non-hierarchical relationship between teacher and student. In my teaching, I have foregrounded sharing authority and incorporating creative writing.

Sharing authority means opening up space for students to share their knowledge and to validate their personal experiences. In the galleries, I’ve enacted this through the paraphrasing element of VTS and through activities that have students share their observations with their peers. In one of my lessons about the American Revolution, I had students split up into two groups to and had each group note details of one portrait to then share with their peers. In this exercise, the students became the authority for the discussion. 

I have seen how critical interdisciplinary learning has been in my own education and are intentional about incorporating a variety of entry points and frameworks in my teaching and programming. Specifically, I have centered creative writing as a learning and observation tool.

For example, during my Art and Writing lessons, I utilized  a list-making activity inspired by the way that Basquiat saw the form as another way of drawing.

I am continuing to develop as an educator and using a critical reflective practice to grow. 

Presenting Teaching Research Project with Zena Zendejas, 2018. 

Presenting Teaching Research Project with Zena Zendejas, 2018. 

teaching research project abstract

My research explored the question: how can zines be a tool of decolonial teaching? Grounded by queer, decolonial, and pedagogical theory and writing, I zoomed in on how zines functioned in the galleries.

To do so, I created an ethnogram for observations, collected observational data from other educators on zines during Educator Led Lessons, and finally analyzed and coded student zines. The data showed that during lessons, zines function as an effective tool for individual reflection and poetry, became record keeping devices and mementos of the lesson. The data also confirmed the critical role of the educator in activating the decolonial/queer potential of zines.

My recommendations would be to continue utilizing zines in the galleries, particularly for record-keeping and individual reflection. Furthermore, I would encourage educators to consider longer, color zines that could encourage them to become mementos of the visit and potentially shared.

The research was presented in collaboration with Zena Zendejas, who taught the three school partnership lessons that served as the core data and focused her research on how students were practicing decoloniality during lessons.

The collaboration and shared authority during the process was an intentional choice to better align with the ways that zines have been utilized historically. The presentation incorporated performance, conversation, poetry, and a zine.