I define my teaching, scholarship, and service under the umbrella of Freirean literacy (1970). Teaching to those facing literacy challenges is of paramount importance to me, as is preparing pre-service teachers to do the same. However, literacy is more than just the ability to decode words and make meaning from their pairing. According to Freire, literacy is the ability to read the world. Thus, it is my charge to not only assist my students to understand the word, but also the world, and to work to make necessary changes to improve it. Thus, as a critical pedagogue and scholar, I am deeply committed through my teaching, scholarship, and service, to issues of educational equity and justice in various forms.
My teaching, scholarship, and service intersect with my educational advocacy for historically marginalized and underserved populations. Often, this work involves the cause of literacy. A subset of this intersection is my commitment to writing. I attempt to serve as a writing mentor in my teaching, scholarship, and service, in whatever capacity I can. I am proud to be the editor-in-chief of the open access peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research (JULTR) (indexed by ERIC). This journal is supported by the AERA SIG: Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research (ULTR), and provides opportunities for authors to publish scholarly articles and book reviews. This role provides me the opportunity to mentor novice authors. Please see: https://jultr.online/
Throughout my 20+ year career in education, I have taught various different students, including, middle school students, high school students, undergraduate students, Master’s level students, Education Specialist students, and doctoral students. I have taught in various departments and programs and across various content areas, including: curriculum studies, educational leadership, multicultural education, research methods, and English education. I am accustomed to using different delivery formats, including traditional, online, and blended learning, and my philosophy necessitates the use of non-traditional pedagogies. Although I understand that I must deliver crucial content to my students, I do not believe that lecture is the best way to do this. I am never in the center of my classroom. My classes involve multiple modes of delivery such as discussion, Socratic seminar, group lessons, simulations, case study pedagogy, and student-led classes. I continue to seek new technologies to use both inside and outside the classroom to increase student engagement.
In my estimation, quality and effective teaching can also be measured by what one does beyond the classroom, and to what extent students are willing to go above and beyond the classroom “walls” and expectations in order to engage in additional academic pursuits. For example, as a culminating (choice) assignment in TEP 315, a group of four students (Ashley Brown, Kelly Mast, Lauren Reichert, and Cassidy Yates) chose to write for Wikipedia (after engaging in a comprehensive training by Wikipedia). Wikipedia is attempting, through this educational project, to diversify the content and authorship of their online encyclopedia. The students revised an entry on “mainstreaming,” and after revisions and rewrites, were published by Wikipedia. Please see the following UIS People Spotlight: http://spotlight.uis.edu/2019/01/four-uis-teacher-education-majors-write.html See Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mainstreaming_(education)
I recently completed a book, co-authored by my former student Jen Brooks on mentoring entitled Mentoring the Mentor: Celebrating the Intersection of Learning Together, A Reciprocal Journey. The cover art was designed by Springfield artist Felicia Olin.
I write and use case studies in my classes to provide students with problem-based learning to prepare them to work in diverse classrooms and schools. I also conduct research on the use of case study to increase empathy in students. I encourage my students (future teachers) to become practitioner-scholars, by assisting them to write and publish and attend and present at academic conferences.
Jennifer Martin is an Associate Professor in the UIS School of Education. Prior to working in higher education, Dr. Martin worked in public education for 17 years, 15 of those as the department chair of English at an urban alternative high school for students labeled at-risk for school failure in metropolitan Detroit. She has been the editor in chief of the Journal of Urban Learning Teaching and Research (JULTR) since 2018. She is the editor of Racial Battle Fatigue: Insights from the Front Lines of Social Justice Advocacy (Recipient of the 2016 AERA Division B’s Outstanding Book Recognition Award). She is the 2019 recipient of the Paula Silver Case Award for Volume Year 2018, UCEA Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership (Volume 21): for “The Bathroom Case: Creating a Supportive School Environment for Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Students.” Her most recent co-authored book is: Mentoring the Mentor: Celebrating the Intersection of Learning Together, A Reciprocal Journey. In 2021, she was awarded the Burks Oakley II Distinguished Online Teaching Award (UIS). Dr. Martin was selected for the 2022 – 2023 cohort for the system-wide Public Voices Fellowship and was named University Scholar at UIS for the 2022 – 2023 academic year. Follow her podcast eduCATE.