The College of Education welcomed Dr. Oscar Navarro, one of three new faculty members to join the College this fall! Read below to learn more about what Dr. Navarro hopes to inspire in and teach his students, his research interests, and why he chose the College of Education at CSULB.
Why I chose the College of Education at CSULB
Growing up and teaching in the Los Angeles area, I was keenly aware of CSULB’s reputation as a leading public university and its commitment to providing access and equity for historically underrepresented college students. I admire programs such as the Long Beach College Promise and CSULB’s status as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution.
CSULB’s College of Education mission to promote equity and excellence in diverse urban settings resonates with my own commitments to social justice education. My interactions with College of Education faculty, staff, and students have affirmed my identity as a teacher-scholar-activist. I am looking forward to engage in transformative teaching and learning at CSULB. Moreover, I am happy to return to the Long Beach and Los Angeles area where my commitment to social justice began.
Why I chose the field of Education
As a working-class Chicano in Los Angeles, I attended underserved public schools and was often treated with contempt or hostility by teachers and staff. Despite my love for education, I became indignant with the dehumanizing conditions my peers and I endured. In response, I engaged in passive and active resistance, which led me to move from one high school and into another and eventually night school. This distinct experience, which is all too common for students of Color, served as a catalyst to teach in Los Angeles and also continues to fuel my passion in education.
My research interests
My experience as a former teacher and activist in Los Angeles inform my scholarship in developing, sustaining, and enhancing social justice teaching in K-12 schools. More specifically, I examine critical and culturally sustaining pedagogies, sustaining and enhancing social justice educators, and developing future teachers of Color. As a scholar, I intersect my varying roles as a teacher, researcher, and activist to engage in transformative change for Black, Indigenous, and people of Color in K-12 schools.
My Teaching Philosophy
My teaching philosophy engages students and myself in a praxis of learning that involves reflection and action. I provide an environment for students to draw from their understandings and experiences to inform their learning through caring relationships, clear expectations, and mutual accountability. The purpose of my teaching is to move towards a deeper understanding of self, purpose, and action that addresses educational and social disparity.
What I hope my students see in me
I hope my students see me as a “warm demander,” more specifically, as someone who is supportive and cares deeply about them and their development as an educator, yet will also hold them accountable and push them to do better.
At the same time, I want students to see me as teacher who is learning alongside them. I am constantly trying innovative approaches to teaching and become a better teacher educator. However, my greatest lessons come from students. I gain so much from my conversations with students and am open to critical feedback, suggestions, and questions. I hope they see me as someone who is approachable.
What I hope to teach my students
First, I want to teach students, the need to start with self. More specifically, I want them to acknowledge and draw out the experiences, knowledge, and talent they possess to make them great educators. Second, I hope my teaching adds critical and culturally responsive theories, pedagogies, and practices that can enhance their practice. In that process, I hope we, the students, classmates, and myself can develop a supportive community to stay in the profession for a long time and make positive change. Lastly, I hope my teaching provides the opportunity for students to engage in dialogue, reflection, and create plans of action to become effective culturally and community responsive educators.
What I hope to inspire in my students
I want to inspire in my students the need to develop their practice individually and collectively. I want students to be inspired to become life-long learners that allows them to explore new teaching approaches in their classroom. At the same time, I want students to be inspired to work collectively with other educators to engage in equitable teaching and education that moves beyond the classroom or schoolhouse. In the end, I want us to be colleagues in combatting educational and societal injustice and move towards more equitable transformative practices that make a difference in the lives of young people.