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About Natalie R. Davis, Ph.D.

Natalie Davis (Natalie R. Davis) is an assistant professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education and for the M.A. program in Creative and Innovative Education (MACIE). Davis is a 2021 NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow and a former postdoctoral research fellow in Learning Sciences at Northwestern University, where she employed micro-ethnographic and interactional methods to study children’s thinking and self-determination in a tinkering after-school program. Broadly, her research explores the relationship between teaching and learning, cultural ecologies and the sociopolitical development of children from non-dominant communities, with emphasis on the educational experiences and “freedom dreams” of urban-based Black children. Her work also considers the challenges and possibilities of political education in elementary classrooms and the extent to which learning environments nourish children’s imaginative spirits.

Davis has collaborated with museums, makerspaces, nonprofit youth-serving organizations and schools to design curriculum and conduct professional development workshops on topics related to creativity, science learning and the enactment of critical pedagogies. She is a recipient of the NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, AERA-Division G Distinguished Dissertation and Dimond Dissertation awards. Her work has been disseminated in academic journals such as Cognition & Instruction and via public outlets such as Michigan Talk Radio and Youth Today. Davis received her Ph.D. in Educational Foundations from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Prior to graduate school, she taught third grade in an African-centered school.

Show Highlights

  • Critical Childhood Studies
  • Labels and stereotypes of students
  • Confirmation Bias
  • Child empowerment
  • Justice focused education

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Additional Resources

Learn more about the Advocacy Room

Free Course on Implicit Bias

20 Diversity Equity and Inclusion Activities

Annihilating Racial Injustice in School Course

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Transform your school and your classroom with these best practices in equity

Leading Equity delivers an eye-opening and actionable discussion of how to transform a classroom or school into a more equitable place. Through explorations of ten concrete steps that you can take right now, Dr. Sheldon L. Eakins offers you the skills, resources, and concepts you’ll need to address common equity deficiencies in education.


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