Dr. Cathy Kea is a Professor of Special Education at North Carolina A&T State University. Dr. Kea’s research interest and engagement focus on the intersection between general education, special education, and multicultural education- a trilogy to be transformed. Her current research focuses on preparing teachers to design and deliver culturally responsive instruction in urban classrooms and ways to infuse diversity throughout course syllabi and teacher preparation programs.
Tune in as Drs. Rebecca Hines and Lisa Dieker honor, celebrate, and reflect on Dr. Kea's career, the Council of Exceptional Education (CEC) 's past 100 years while also thinking ahead to the future. Don't forget we love to hear from our listeners! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. We look forward to receiving your questions on our Google Phone (407) 900- 9305, Facebook (Practical Access), Twitter (@AccessPractical), or Instagram (@Practical_Access).
Lisa Dieker: [00:00:07] Welcome to practical access, I am Lisa Dieker
Rebecca Hines: [00:00:09] and I'm Rebecca Hines, and as always, today we have one of Lisa's good friends. Well, I think we have a legend and a legacy in our family time in which she says that everyone is her good friend. Every time we invite someone on. But this today's guest really is really that's our dear friend and really mentor and role model in our field. Kathy Key. Thank you so much for joining us, Kathy.
Dr. Cathy Kea: [00:00:33] It is my pleasure.
Lisa Dieker: [00:00:35] Well, we're excited to have you. So so for those of you who don't have the privilege of knowing Kathy, she's a professor at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and has just been a leader in our field for diversity and teacher preparation. So thank you again. So I want to start with the first question we've been asking. You know, it's the 100th anniversary of C.C. and I would love for you just to reflect on your beautiful, rich career and what are you most proud of that you feel like has made an impact in the field to this point?
Dr. Cathy Kea: [00:01:05] Oh, that is a loaded question
Lisa Dieker: [00:01:08] and not an easy one. We know.
Dr. Cathy Kea: [00:01:10] However, what I would say, as you already know, the past 30 years, I have spent my career developing culturally responsive educators. And most recently, and when I say recently, the past five years, I have focused on retaining. Special education, teachers of color in the field during their induction years when I think about the impact, it has been an incredible journey. Because. Not much was known 30 years ago about being a cultural responsive educator, let alone what were the skill sets and tenants that were needed to produce this culture responsive person. And I can tell you doctors, diggers, Digger and Hines, that it's been a learning curve. You know, we sort of felt our way through the process on what we would have wanted someone to do with us when we were a student in a classroom. When I think about our BIPOC, all these new terms today has helped me to grow in a different way, too. But our BIPOC population that we serve, how do we produce culturally responsive, sustaining educators to meet their needs to meet the needs, not only of the students or learners, their families and the communities which they dwell? So my I would say my legacy to fame would be that. I have produced some incredible, culturally responsive educators, and I'm hoping that they're going to continue this journey and be change makers. And I believe they will because the both of you have been impactful in their lives as well. Those that have gone on into their doctoral programs.
Lisa Dieker: [00:03:19] Well, and I know that they respect and adore everything you've taught them. So we thank you for building some amazing educators in our field. So thank you for that. [00:03:26][7.4]
Rebecca Hines: [00:03:27] Definitely. And and speaking of educators in our field. You mentioned teacher induction and these new teachers coming out and how do we keep all teachers, you know, in the classroom, how do we how do we make this more meaningful for them? When you think about culturally responsive teachers, what types of tips would you give to every young teacher, new teacher or just teacher who's struggling with this concept? What are some ways to start thinking about what they can be doing differently? [00:04:02][35.0]
Dr. Cathy Kea: [00:04:03] Well, you know when my pre-service teachers leave me. I want to ensure that they know the name, the face and the story of the students that they serve. But how do we accomplish that? I have begun to use utilize the work of Zucchero Herrera. Whose work with English learners speaks volumes. By developing a biography driven, culturally sustaining pedagogy. Well, how do we operationalize that simply creating a biography for the learner? A biography of the family, about half of the community in which they dwell. I say if you want to know the names, the faces and the stories of the students that you're serving. That it is critical that you begin to ask yourselves, how do we define culture in my classroom? Well, what does that mean? That means taking a look at everyone that is being served with and without disabilities in your classroom, looking at them through a cultural lens, gender wise ethnicity, race and ability wise. So we are really asking ourselves, who are we serving along the spectrum from our AL learners to our learners were on the autism spectrum? What do they need and how can we provide that? But we have to take a look at their biography. What does each of those learners bring to our table and what do the families bring through a strengths and asset base lens? And lastly. If he were to take. A community walk. And experience or examine their lived experiences. How can we utilize that information in the teaching learning process? Those would be the first tips that I would give. You must know the names. You must know the faces and you must know the stories of the students you were serving. We somewhat couched that into building relationships that seem. Oh my. That's very simple. But the process that I've just explained is not simple at all. It really takes intentional steps and learning.
Rebecca Hines: [00:06:58] Absolutely, and we train pre-service teachers to introduce themselves to their students, and it's odd that we don't always take the same time to encourage them to learn about their students as well.
Lisa Dieker: [00:07:11] Yeah, and you know, I loved what you said about, you know, knowing their families because I think oftentimes when you meet a child, you make unexpected assumptions that there's too of something or there is an educated and educated in. And what we know from the beautiful richness of children with disabilities is all things are possible, and that's true for all of the students. So I'm curious, too, if I'm a new teacher and I don't have easy access to families either, they don't come to a conference. How do you recommend they reach out or understand that story when maybe, you know, parents too busy or parents overwhelm themselves? Get any quick tips for teachers in that regard from your great cultural and.
Dr. Cathy Kea: [00:08:00] Absolutely. So we know from the literature, we know from the stories of our pre-service teachers that there are two groups that they seemingly have challenges with. That would be their administrative support. And working with families, and so we say to them, you cannot write off a family because they didn't respond to your email or your phone call. But rather you might want to begin to think, how do I access that family? How do I work with that family? And how can I be a change maker? We'd like to encourage a couple of things. One. And this is very practitioner base. One. Not only in your field experiences, but particularly in their clinical won and clinical two internships that they now begin to interview the ancillary personnel. What are the roles and responsibilities of the social worker? The school counselor and all the others that you really do need to collaborate and interact with? Now, let's take that to another level in clinical two. We need you to accompany the social worker and or the school counselor on a home visit because that in itself debunks a lot of the myths. It also diminishes the level of fear that our pre-service candidates may have, and even our practicing teachers may be reticent about visiting a home setting. I believe and we are encouraging our candidates that you enter into that home. With a positive. Cultural lands and leave that deficit mind set at the doorstep. And when you quickly disappear around and look at the surroundings, begin to ask yourself. How can I share and show the parent? What they have is really all they need. To teach their child the skills that many of those skills and concepts that I am teaching in the classroom. So if we have time, let me share a story
Lisa Dieker: [00:10:50] with absolutely
Dr. Cathy Kea: [00:10:52] so many folks don't know that I started out when I finished my undergraduate degree in elementary education at North Carolina Central. I went on to the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. I was early childhood, especially at home trainer. I was trained via the Portage project. No one even knows what that is today, but I had families in. I had 14 families in, I would say, five school districts. And as early childhood, especially at home trainer, my job was to enter into the home and work with those parents, teach well, assess the child's needs and assess the family's surroundings and to begin to share with them how to teach their child from birth to five years of age, who also had a disability to accompany those parents on all of their doctor's visits. Well. They had never all of my parents, none of them had ever met an African-American, let alone had a conversation with one. Mm-Hmm. Now. I was at a disadvantage to I didn't know anything about dairy farmers and crops, and so I had to become culturally responsive. That means I had to learn about their cultural milieu, and I did so when I entered into the homes, I was able to engage in small chit chat about the crops, dairy farming and what have you. So immediately. Those families looked at me as if you took the time to learn about me, us and our surroundings. I would assess the student. And then I would share with. One parent, both parents, multi generational family members, how they could use items in their homes. We will take these utensils. We will count them. Dad, you love to fish. We will take these hooks. We will sort them with a different color tassels. Dad, you will take them down to the pastures and have them counting the cows. We want to involve everyone, but if we don't look at the home environment as one of strength and acid. Grandmother, you go to church. Let's take that church bulletin. Let's have John circle all the BS, all the MS. We want everyone involved in the teaching and learning process. Rather than stating that this is an impoverished setting or that they don't have the children's books, let's ask ourselves what is literacy rich in this environment? There are quilts we can choose and talk about patterning. So that is hard to do with our pre-service educators. That is hard to do with those who are practicing because. They haven't been taught how to enter into that environment and look for the gifts that exists.
Lisa Dieker: [00:14:24] And I think that your story is such a great one and so timely because there's such misperceptions. I think about this idea of cultural responsiveness and what it really means. So thank you for sharing such an articulate explanation and example.
Lisa Dieker: [00:14:41] So my last just quick thought give us a quick thought. What where should we be in the future? What do you see? What what's the thing that you're like? If this happens, it would make me happy.
Dr. Cathy Kea: [00:14:54] Oh, my. I'm a dreamer.
Lisa Dieker: [00:14:57] I know that's why I ask you and.
Dr. Cathy Kea: [00:15:03] In the next 10 years, because I think this journey is going to take us 10 years. That is if we are all on board and that is when any learner enters our classroom. We use the terminology BIPOC. We are now really being more intentional about diversity, equity and inclusion. That the terms intentional don't exist anymore because it is automatic. That we embrace. The learner. Their families and their communities without blinking an eye. And we move forward in giving them what they need. Um. Without reticent. And. That's that's really been a dreamer because we have so many social issues to conquer in the next 10 years, but we have such great minds that I believe we can move these mountains that exist today. Um, that's my dream.
Lisa Dieker: [00:16:28] I love it, I'm going to borrow your term automatic acceptance, how's that? You may borrow it because I thought that was a great word. I was like automatic. I love that, not intentionality, but automatic automaticity. I love it. I love it. Well, thank you so much, Dr. Kee. We really appreciate you being with us and sharing your vision and journey.
Lisa Dieker: [00:16:47] Don't talk about it. No, no.
Lisa Dieker: [00:16:50] We love it, which I can share your amazing. Well, if you have questions for us, please send us a Tweet app for Access Practical or send us a question on our Facebook page. Thank you again, Dr. Cathy Kea.
Dr. Cathy Kea: [00:17:02] Oh, thank you.
Lisa Dieker: [00:17:03] Just give us a place to.