Speaker 1:

Welcome, advocates, to another episode of The Leading Equity Podcast, a podcast that focuses on supporting educators with the tools and resources necessary to ensure equity at their schools. Today, I have a very special guest. This special guest right here was someone that was connected by my sister. My sister did some work with Dr. Davis, and she said, "You got to have her on the show. She's awesome."

               So without further ado, I want to introduce Dr. Natalie Davis. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Natalie Davis :

Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1:

Pleasure's always mine. I'm excited about the topic because I don't ... I mean I talked to you before we even hit record and I was like, "I covered 200 and something episodes at this point, and I have not talked about critical childhood studies." But before we get into that and some other research that you're working on, I'd love for you to share a little bit about yourself and what you currently do.

Dr. Natalie Davis :

Yeah, absolutely. So I'm currently based here in Atlanta. I am an assistant professor at Georgia State University. I am situated in the university in a master's program in creative and innovative education, and that certainly connects to the type of work that I do. My interests and my research focus on children and their social and political learning, and I'm particularly interested in justice-focused and learning environments that are very explicit about those commitments.

               I'm also a native Detroiter who is really trying to find her way in the South and in a new context. But again, happy to be here and thanks for having me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was just telling you. I was just in Detroit last week and learned about the Mitten. Everybody kept telling me to hold my hand up and they'll show me where everything is. So shout out to everybody in Detroit.

Dr. Natalie Davis :

It's very effective.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. It's very effective, clearly. Clearly, it's very helpful. I'm a visual person, so it helps me out to understand where different cities are in relation to the state. So I learned about that. Shout out to everybody in McCall, those who were at the conference there in Grand Rapids. That was fun. Had an opportunity to be able to speak out there as well.

               Now let's get into the topic. I want you to start off by sharing with us, what is critical childhood studies?

Dr. Natalie Davis :

Okay. So critical childhood studies, I think the first thing is that if you ask different people, they may give you a different definition. So I'll start with how I think of critical childhood studies as someone whose work focuses on childhood and children's learning and development. Critical childhood studies basically is, I think, a response to more traditional theories of child development and learning that maybe kind of presume a particular child at a particular historical moment and don't really take into consideration things like culture and context and things like race and class and gender and all of these other things that we know can be really important for children's experiences and development.

               Critical childhood studies asks us to consider those things and maybe reconsider some of the ways that we think about and position children as learners, as social and political actors, the ways we think about what they know and what they don't know, what they're moving toward, and what it would take for us, as adults, to support them on that journey. It is interdisciplinary in nature, so you could have someone who's a sociologist or an educator or a psychologist, and they could say that they are someone who draws from or advances critical childhood studies, so lots of connections to how we think about what it means to engage intergenerationally.

               What are some of the distinctions? What does it mean to be a child in 2020? How might that be different if you live in a different part of the country or you're situated in a different place across the globe? How might that look different? Being a Black child in 2020, how might that look different than being a Black child in the 1950s or during the Jim Crow era? All of these factors that we need to consider as we are making decisions about what's best for kids.

Speaker 1:

I like that approach that you're taking as far as the critical side because I think sometimes when you look at childhood, early childhood development, that type of research that's out there and those names that are associated with the research and what we call maybe seminal research and things like that, but I like the critical piece because it goes beyond just lumping everything in one and saying, "Okay, most children at age two or age three are going to be this way or be that way."

               But I like how you threw in there about, okay, a child in 2020 versus a child in 1950s or I'm assuming that even regionally based would make a difference as well because my kids, Black kids, but they're growing up in Idaho. It's going to be a lot different than Black kids growing up in Detroit. So is that part of the critical piece as well? Is it just timeframe or is it also including various variables that come along with a child?

Dr. Natalie Davis :

Yeah. I mean all of that, all of the above. So what critical childhood studies does, in the same way that sociocultural theories of learning might do, is that it acknowledges how learning is a cultural process. There are lots of things that factor into culture. So you can have things like your racial identity can become and translate into a part of your culture, but even things like what neighborhood you live in, the types of spaces that you have access to, your lineage, your friendships, the way that you engage with pop culture more generally, what you have access to.

               If you're a child who has a phone or a tablet at a very young age versus someone who doesn't engage with that until they get much older, all of these things can factor into your development and what you know and what you don't know. There have been lots of things that have been written about critical childhood studies. But there was a piece semi-recently, I want to say in the last couple of years, but they were critiquing just child development theories and how a lot of theories around child development and human learning were based off of middle to upper-class Western white children.

               So we're using those theories. That's not to say that there's not something that we can learn from those theories, but we're using those theories to make lots of really important decisions for kids who are not Western, white, middle-class or wealthy children. So I think there are a lot of ways that, in my work or just with those that I collaborate with, of thinking about how do we think about the brilliance of children in ways that are not already bounded by what we think it means to be a child.

               Where do we need to expand those conceptions of what it means to be a child so that we can fully recognize the wisdom and the brilliance that children are showing us and that we can fully make sense of what's possible for them outside of what might be a really small box that could be really limiting and really problematic, depending on who we're talking about and when?

Speaker 1:

I like what you're saying there. Unfortunately, I'll put this, Natalie, unfortunately, we measure or we benchmark a lot of characteristics, behaviors, even academic ability, all those type of things based off of those norms, as you mentioned, as traditionally middle-class white students. So let's dig into that just a little bit further. What type of problems can happen when that is used as the standard or as the norm or "traditional" for our students of color?

Dr. Natalie Davis :

Yeah. There are a lot of problems that can happen. I think that one of the first things that I think is probably the most prevalent is how young people can get cast in a space. So I think that there may be a misconception that when a child is behaving or interacting or saying something in a particular way, that that means they attribute some type of meaning or negative connotation to how they're doing that.

               And then now you create a situation where that child is being villainized or that child is being punished for doing things that are actually quite normal for the context where they're growing and developing. They're not meaning that thing as malice. That is just the way that they think. So I think as we think about a lot of the research on classroom management and behaviors and how you are more likely, say, if you're a Black child in a particular context to be punished, to be reprimanded for many of behaviors that are just kind of human behaviors, but it gets cast as something, well, they're being very immature or they're being disrespectful.

               That may not always be the case or that may not have always been the intention behind that mode of engagement. I think another thing that is problematic is that there are a lot of missed opportunities to build on and connect to the things that young people are already thinking about. So I think about in my work, so most of my work is engaging with Black children or children from historically marginalized, non-dominant communities. That is the focus of most of my work.

               I think that sometimes with these traditional ideas around child development and learning and what it means to be a child, there can be this odd tension between the innocence of children and children shouldn't be doing this and children shouldn't be thinking about that, when the reality is they may already be thinking about that. They may already be making sense of that. So, in a way, you kind of diminish or foreclose on opportunities to actually make meaningful connections to the things that kids are already thinking about or wrestling with or struggling with or excited about in the world.

               I think that that is sad, to be honest. And then that we can have so many children and so many children of color going to school every day and maybe thinking that they're not that smart when they really, in reality, possess all types of forms of savvy and gifts and things that they're able to read people and connect with people. They notice things about society that could actually be leveraged in really important ways in the classroom.

               But if those are things that aren't thought about, "Well, kids aren't thinking about that," or, "They shouldn't be thinking about that," or, "They shouldn't know anything about that," then we have this untapped area where that could actually be a really important opportunity to forge those connections and to build on the things that they already know.

Speaker 1:

So I wonder about confirmation bias and how research might relate to that. For example, if I'm a teacher and let's say I'm going to school or working on my master's or whatever it is. So I read a textbook and I see childhood theories. So I expect when I walk into the classroom, I expect students to be a certain way based off of whatever I read or researched versus learning or getting to know a student on an individual basis because I think even ... And again, I'm not an expert in critical childhood studies.

               But I'm just thinking, wouldn't it make more sense, because there are so many variables regarding a student ... I mean we got a pandemic happening right now. I don't know how much research is related to critical childhood studies regarding a pandemic and COVID, in addition to maybe traumas or whatever else a child might be experiencing. Now, I would imagine there's researchers that are covering these different topics.

               However, when we start to read that type of literature and we start looking at that research, then when the children come into our classrooms, then we might look at those children to be a certain way or expect them to be a certain way. So I feel like confirmation bias could play a factor. I mean what are your thoughts?

Dr. Natalie Davis :

Yeah. Yeah. I mean I think that's human, in a sense. That's what theories can do for us in a way that can actually be really productive. It is very difficult for us cognitively to make sense of all of the different variables with every single person at all times. So we try to equip ourselves with tools and we are also looking for evidence that those tools are working and that those tools make sense, because when they start to not make sense, that's disorienting because it's like, what do we know? Do we know anything?

               So I think that that's why I say that even in traditional child development, it's not the idea that all of these things are throw the baby out with the bath water, that there's nothing useful about thinking through this lens. But I think it starts to become problematic when you're looking for every single instance and way that you're interacting with children or with students to coincide with that instead of taking how might the context here be really different than the context under which that theory was developed?

               So I definitely think that that's human. Teaching is not an easy job. Interacting with people, that's not an easy job. So I think I'm really careful about what I ask teachers to do or what I might ask educators to think about. I try to simplify when I can because human interaction is already really complex. Interacting intergenerationally can be really complex, depending on where you're coming from and what you're accustomed to.

               So I just try to prompt people to think about and educators to think about, okay, so you have some theories. You have some working theories. There may be some information there that is useful, but also thinking about how do I understand what's working and what may not be working? Really getting into the idea of, well, what do you think that children are practicing in this space where you are the teacher? Does that actually align with the way that you think they should be when they're grownups out in the world and out in society when they are to be discerning citizens?

               If you say that you care about equity or if you really think about, regardless of the theories of child development and learning that ... Do children in your classroom space, for example, get an opportunity to practice being experts? If you want them to grow into adults that feel like they have a sense of capacity and expertise, do they get to practice that? If you want them to be people who speak out against injustices, do they get an opportunity to do that in your classroom space?

               If you want them to grow and develop in those ways, outside of what you think this is what you do at third grade, and this is what you do at fourth ... Do they have an opportunity to practice that? If you want them to be critical thinkers, if you want them to be able to engage across difference, do they get to practice that? So that you can start to develop your own theories around what will actually work for the students in the context where you are situated.

               And then you can always bring those in conversation with those things you learned when you were in undergrad or those things you learned in your teacher preparation program or that book that you read because one of your colleagues recommended it. You can say, "Okay, here's this and this." How do I make sense of that in a way that allows me to move forward and allows me to sow conditions where children can practice the kinds of things that I think they need to be practicing to be happy, healthy, full adults who are deep thinkers and are able to engage in meaningful ways in society?

Speaker 1:

I love how you said, "Do they get to practice this in your classroom?" You mentioned third graders. Do they have those-

Dr. Natalie Davis :

I taught third grade. That's my favorite grade.

Speaker 1:

But it's a good point. It's not something I thought about until you said it, but it makes so much sense because sometimes we're so focused on ... It's not always our fault. We got accountability challenges where kids need to master this and they need to pass this test. Fourth graders need to be at a certain level. So as teachers, we have so much pressure to push content, but I love how you're thinking.

               You're saying, let's challenge that a little bit more and say, "Okay, is that child, not only are they learning math and reading and writing and all those basic skills, but are they able to have a voice with their learning?" Sometimes we think, well, elementary kids, as adults we're supposed to guide them, but what amount of say does a child have at eight years old, seven years old? How much input do they have? That is something that you just blew my mind with that. I'm glad you're on the show, by the way, because I didn't think about that.

Dr. Natalie Davis :

Yeah. It's interesting because I think that there's so much focus, and this is maybe where another limitation of traditional child development or more normative conceptions of child development and learning is that oftentimes the question that's being asked is the what. What do first graders need to know? What should they be doing? Juniors in high school, what should they be doing? What is appropriate at that stage?

               I think in that emphasis on the what, it takes our attention away from what I think is equally as important, if not more important, which is how. How are they engaging in the context of this ecosystem that is your classroom? How are they positioned in a school context? How can we expect that young people, that children will grow into these empowered and very savvy and critical citizens and people who care about the environment and care about one another and know when it's time to work in solidarity with people toward a communal goal, but also know when this is a time that they need to stand up for themselves, that they need to advocate for people or they need to advocate for solutions to problems that people are facing in society if they don't get to practice that?

               When do they learn that? When do you get an opportunity to learn and practice that, if not when you are a young person and you don't have the same responsibility to actually enact these things in the world? So I think it's really unfair and problematic that we expect people to be critical citizens and discern information and such deep and complex thinkers when a lot of the ways that our programs and our schools are organized are not organized in a way that allow them to practice those things.

               They're organized in a way that, in some ways, make things more convenient for adults in the space and to try to maintain order. What does that mean? If that is what you are accustomed to, then it's not surprising that when you go out into the world, that you will also be the type to think about, "Well, I'm just trying to maintain order. I want to just go with the flow." Sometimes that may be appropriate, but there may be other times where that's not serving you well.

Speaker 1:

I taught elementary one year, second grade. I'll never do it again. I don't know how y'all do it. I can't. I can't.

Dr. Natalie Davis :

Yeah. They'll give you a run for your money. See, that's another thing with ego. I struggle with this too sometimes because you want to empower young people. Sometimes you're like, "Well, wait a second. I don't know if I like how you're talking to me right now." I think it's just that because we are so accustomed to ... We've been told this our whole lives, that when you are an adult, to some extent, children are not supposed to redirect your behavior as an adult.

               That is not the rightful order of things. Children listen to adults. I'm not saying that the children should not listen to adults, but at what point do ... Well, we should actually listen to children too because we want them to be able to learn what it looks like to show respect and love and regard for others. But we also want them to know what it feels like to be respected as an intellectual, to be respected as a whole person.

               So I mean I understand that there are tensions and sometimes we have to check our adult ego. Sometimes kids are wrong, and sometimes adults are wrong. Are we positioning ourselves as educators, as people who actually want to sit with the sticky gray area and actually think about it without assuming just because I've been on this Earth longer than you, then that means I'm right or I always know what's best for you? That may often be true, but that may not always be the case.

Speaker 1:

I need some recommendations because ... Okay. Again, I taught second grade one year and I wouldn't as a former one year ... I'll never do this again. It is just not for me. I'm a secondary dude by heart. That's my area. That's my bread and butter. But I'm just thinking back to my experience teaching second grade. My biggest challenge was tattle telling. What kind of recommendations can you have for a child to feel empowered but that empowerment doesn't turn into a bunch more tattle telling or other little things that, again, as adults we're like, "Yo, come on, that's not a big deal?"

               Help me out. Help the listeners out there understand maybe some actual, I guess, tangible ways and maybe some things that you teach your candidates, your master's program folks to help them empower their elementary students in a way that comes across, I don't know, respectfully, but it allows them to utilize their voice.

Dr. Natalie Davis :

Yeah. Yeah. So I think there's an improvisational dimension to it because different children may need different things. I think that teachers are actually usually pretty good at getting a sense of who kids are. You know the child who may need that affirmation a little bit more than another child who is just kind of in the mood to stir something up that day for whatever reason or you may know the dynamics between the students.

               So I think one thing that I used to do or that if I were in the classroom tomorrow what I would do is I think my first point of intervention or interaction would be to try to hear them out. Okay. I could see why. Sometimes people do things and that it's frustrating to us but at the end of the day, and maybe that's something that you need to intervene with, depending on what it is. But maybe it's something that's like, "You know what? I hear you. That is really annoying sometimes when you're trying to focus on something and somebody is doing something else. Let's just do our best to try to focus on what you need to do so you can continue to have a good day."

               And then but I think when you get to the point where it starts to be all day long you're hearing, "So-and-so is doing this. So-and-so is doing that." For me, that was the time where it's like, "Look, let's have a conversation about minding our business." I mean I have done that before where I'm like, "Look, let's think about this because just like everything that you do is not necessarily something that someone else is going to want to be privy to, that may not be their preference, and that is completely fine."

               So there's this balance between trying to respect ... Let's try to respect the people that are around us and know that if I'm doing something that could disturb them or could be a problem for them, that maybe I want to try because I would want them to show me that same respect. So I'll do my best to try to be aware of how my actions may be impacting others. But sometimes people are doing something and that may not be the best decision for them in that moment, but that has nothing to do with what you need to be focused on.

               Let me do my job, too. If there is something that gets to this level of it being a disturbance to everyone else or someone is causing harm to someone else, let me do my job because that is my job to monitor that and to try to create a particular type of culture and climate in our classroom, and it is your job to do your best. So I try to frame it in that way like, "I appreciate you being aware or I appreciate you trying to help, in some cases, to redirect someone who you think is doing something problematic. I appreciate you trying to support me, but we really need to try to make decisions about sometimes people have to be on their own journey and it is our job to mind our business."

               So I think just trying to be in that space of not assuming. Okay, let's try to redirect this. I see where it's going. But oftentimes I feel like tattle telling comes from a few different factors. Of course, there's probably an infinite amount. But for me, in my experience, it's either somebody you don't particularly care for that person. You don't have the best relationship and so you're looking for an opportunity to show them not in the best light.

               You're hyper-focused on what's going on around you, for whatever reason, or you just want that experience of being able to share some important information and get affirmed in that. I feel like those are typically the most common, that you want that affirmation of knowing something and seeing something. I get that. You don't have the best relationship with this person and you see them doing something. So maybe that brings you some satisfaction in knowing that there's some justice that's happening there.

               Or you're just worried about everything else and we want you to worry and focus because I don't want you to grow into that kind of person who always has to be accounting for everyone else when really we want you to take and expand some of that energy and put it back into self. So I think kids understand all of these things. If you were to get up in front of a class of third graders and you want to say, "Look, this is what I see is happening. Some of you, I know you want the affirmation. Some of you all don't get along and some of you all ... This is all real. Let's think about how we can move forward in a way that brings us all the most peace, as much peace as possible."

               Second graders will get that. They may not catch every detail or every nuance of why you're doing everything, but they get that. That will resonate with them. Or if you ask them, "What is going ..." Asking questions. I mean it's really simple things that might feel intuitive, but this is not what typically happens. Especially at the elementary school level, I think there's a way in which there's a decision made about what this means without actually interrogating.

               So for a child that, for example, and then I'll let us move on, but for a child who may be actually doing this because they're having a disagreement with this person and they feel like that person has been causing them harm or embarrassing them and so they want to feel like justice is served is going to need a different response than a child who is just always worried about what's going on around them and having a hard time zeroing in on what they need to focus on.

               If you treat one like the other, you may get an unfavorable response or it may be unproductive in terms of being able to move forward. So being able to be fluid enough where it's like, okay, I think I might know, but I respect the young people enough to inquire and to confirm before I make a final decision.

Speaker 1:

Got you. Okay. Thank you for ... I needed some examples because I mean just the idea of elementary teaching triggered me for just a moment. So I'm glad that you-

Dr. Natalie Davis :

I should tell you about the time I was with kindergartners. I spent a half day with kindergartners and I said, "Oh, no."

Speaker 1:

It's not for everybody. I'll just put it like that.

Dr. Natalie Davis :

It wasn't for everyone. They were beautiful young people, but I was like, "This is not my lane, so I'm going to leave that to the wonderful kindergarten teachers and I will stick to upper elementary."

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah. I'm the same way. I joke and I say I would never teach second grade again, but I had a great time and I loved the kids. The parents were awesome as well. I don't remember how long ago that was, but I think they're seniors or maybe even graduating this year. It's such a great thing to see how they have progressed. I keep up with some of the families still to this day. Let's do-

Dr. Natalie Davis :

Yeah, that's awesome.

Speaker 1:

Let's transition real quick because one of the things I wanted to talk about is, okay, so we've touched a lot on children and just being more critical and just considering the different things that a child might experience and how that relates to the classroom and school. But you also do research regarding justice-focused educators as well, so in relation to our own childhood experiences and how that is impacting the way that we teach. I want you to share a little bit about that.

Dr. Natalie Davis :

Yeah. I'm super excited. I received a fellowship not too long ago to initiate a project that I think had been on my heart for a little while. I think it came from the idea that I've done a lot of work with children, with Black children at the elementary school level. Part of what has motivated me to do that work is thinking about ways to learn from and foreground their voices and their experiences.

               I would notice that when I would go and I would give presentations about some of the work, I would get a lot of questions from educators, from grownups in general, about how do you get kids to talk to you in these ways and to talk about these topics, to talk about racism, to talk about societal issues like poverty and urban blight and police brutality? How do you do that? Because there was this presumption that kids either aren't thinking about those things or that they were having a hard time figuring out how in my classroom do I transition?

               How do I pull some of those ideas out? How do we do the things that you typically think of that would happen in an elementary classroom, but how do you get to that point where now you're having a really robust conversation about racism or police brutality? When is that appropriate? So there were a lot of questions there. I was interested in designing a study that allowed us to just kind of lean in a little bit more.

               The project is a project that will involve elementary teachers who have a justice-oriented focus. That is their pedagogical philosophy. The idea with the project is how do we leverage Black children's social and political understanding as resources in their teaching? So teachers have a lot of questions, particularly elementary school teachers because this is not something that's part of professional development because they want to engage with social justice issues.

               They want to think about the relevance of material to students' everyday lives. They want to bring those critical dispositions toward the work and toward learning and toward the world, and they want to integrate that into their classrooms. But most schools don't offer professional development support, especially for elementary school teachers, to take up these things and so teachers are sort of left on their own to collaborate with friends that they're doing and find things online.

               That can be wonderful. Many teachers are really successful doing that. But the project is how can we position teachers as learners in terms of being able to engage directly with the layers of meaning-making and sense-making that Black children are already engaged with. So I'm pulling this data that I have from some previous projects where kids were talking about things like police brutality or water justice issues and things of that nature and using those as tools for professional learning for teachers and cultivating a space where we're engaging with these conceptions of childhood and children's learning and transitioning that into actual design work and the development of tools and resources that you would use in your classroom.

               So the way that I'm envisioning the project, we're still pretty much in the early stages. Teachers will be interviewed. We'll be coming together and doing some different things. But the first phase of that is really unpacking childhood. How do we even understand children? How might reading some expressions that come from kids as they're analyzing things like blight in their neighborhood or they're analyzing poverty and why some people have more financial resources than others, how can that become a resource in helping them to reframe or reimagine what it means to be a child in 2022?

               And then we're going to do some other cool things of looking at how children get represented in fiction texts, asking them to draw from their own experiences, some inner child work, in a way, because I think that there ... In elementary education, there is not enough of a focus on childhood. How we understand children and children's learning is sort of this settled thing. This is what kids need to know, and this is who they are.

               I think that we would really benefit and students would really benefit from teachers having more opportunities for them to actually think about, well, how do I even understand the children that are in front of me, who they are and what they can do and what they're moving toward and what they're thinking about, and to spend some more time in that space to form a basis for developing curriculum or actual tools that they may use in their classroom.

Speaker 1:

That is dope. I can't wait for that to come out. When it does come out, we got to get back on the show so that you can share your findings with everyone. I think that would be very important.

Dr. Natalie Davis :

I would love that. I'm super excited about it. Like I said, it's a labor of love. But I'm just excited to get teachers in the same space to be able to do that work together because I think you establish a different type of community. I think that that's really what I'm after in my work of rethinking ... You know this, too. Professional development gets a bad rap, and that's because it's not all very good.

               So I think just curating a space to help us reimagine what a professional learning community can look like in a more formalized sense and also in a way that lifts up children and their thinking is ... That's kind of my bread and butter. At least that's what I'm really interested in exploring.

Speaker 1:

Natalie, this has definitely been a very eye-opening and informative conversation for me, and I'm sure that our audience feels the same way as well. I consider you as providing a voice in leading equity. What is maybe one final word of advice that you could share with our listeners?

Dr. Natalie Davis :

Just explore. Be willing and open to exploring both your inner child and what childhood means to you because I think that that factors in more than people may realize. Particularly for educators, I think that that is more of a factor than what they may realize or recognize and how they engage and interact with their students. So be willing to be in that place and go back to that place and what brought you a lot of joy as a young person, what made you feel like anything was possible.

               What was happening around you that supported you in feeling that way? I think that there are a lot of gems there that can really contribute to some really powerful opportunities for young people. So maybe start there.

Speaker 1:

Dig into your inner child, I like that. Let's say, okay, I've never heard of critical childhood studies. Besides yourself, are there some researchers that you would recommend or books as well?

Dr. Natalie Davis :

Yeah. What do I have over here in my stack of books? But I think that anything by Robert Coles. He has a whole body of work, but I think just brilliant in terms of really trying to honor children's knowing. I think that this is kind of an older text, but I think really useful in thinking about that. I read a lot of children's books, to be honest, because I think that even though they're not formal theoretical texts, I think they can be really useful in starting to really understand, okay, how are children positioned?

               So I think outside of picking up the book to teach it in your classroom, but actually engaging with those texts. I also read a lot of other texts that are not education texts. A mentor of mine shared with me a piece from Toni Morrison's Beloved. There's a section in that book on the clearing. There's a lot of really interesting theoretical work that happens sometimes in books that may be fiction texts because the scholars, they are trying to advance particular ideas or challenge certain ideas about childhood.

               There's a section in that book on the clearing that gives a really vivid and beautiful idea around intergenerational learning and what it means to experience whole personhood as both children and then as adults and how they can be in a space together. So I would certainly recommend that. It is a moving and beautiful text.

               And then there was one more that I thought about. Avery Gordon, Complex Personhood, that is not a book that's focused on childhood in particular, but I think the idea of complex personhood can be really productive if you bring that in conversation with some of the more traditional child development theories that educators may be familiar with.

Speaker 1:

Nice. All right. Well, if we got some folks that, especially our early childhood folks, if we have some people that want to reach out to you and connect with you online, learn more about the services that you provide, what's the best way to connect?

Dr. Natalie Davis :

I think right now probably email is the best way to connect with me. My faculty profile on the GSU website, that is active and then there will also be very soon a website that'll go live that'll have a lot more information about some of the initiatives that I'm working on and some more about my work and collaborations and things.

Speaker 1:

Okay. Are you on Twitter or Instagram or anything?

Dr. Natalie Davis :

I am so bad with my social media presence. So the short answer is no, and the long answer is I need to be. But I think, as I have new developments in that area, my website will house all of that information, so people will be able to find me. But I'm very responsive to emails and always happy to hear from people and even things like just a question or they want to a copy of or they want to find an article or something. I'm always really happy to get those kinds of emails. So definitely, don't hesitate to reach out.

Speaker 1:

Sounds good. Well, Natalie, it's been a pleasure. It's been an honor. Thank you so much for joining me on the show today.

Dr. Natalie Davis :

Yeah. Thank you for having me again. It's fun to be in this space and to be able to think and share in this context.

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