Urban Cohort Guiding Principles

The Urban Cohort believes:

  • Students in every community deserve a high quality, free and appropriate public education.
  • Every student deserves full access to the resources they need to thrive.
  • High quality teaching is rooted in practices of diversity, equity, and social justice.
  • People develop agency through commitment to, celebration of, and collaboration with others.
  • Critical, contextualized knowledge of students, families, and communities is central to ethical and effective teaching.
  • Educators are ethically accountable to their students, and to their students’ families and communities. Educators are also ethically accountable to their profession.

The Urban Cohort seeks to fulfill its guiding principles by emphasizing six intersecting funds of knowledge (Moll, 1992) that it understands as central to effective education of teachers, especially urban community teachers (Murrell, Jr., 2001).

Relational Knowledge

The urban cohort emphasizes knowledge gained in and through relationships with other people. Knowledge connects people together and is power enacted through relationships with other people. Relational knowledge also emphasizes the interconnection of people, place, and community.

Self Knowledge

Knowledge of one’s self and one’s positionality in the world is central to ethical and effective teaching. This knowledge comes through critical self-reflection on oneself as a cultural being—a person situated within structures of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ability, nationality, etc.—and reflection on one’s desires, values, and experiences.

Critical Knowledge

Ethical and effective teachers employ habits of critique. They question taken-for-granted assumptions about the world and their place in it. Critically oriented teachers question the arrangement and interests of sociocultural (symbolic) and material resources. Critical knowledge rejects the simple transfer of knowledge from an authority to a passive recipient; rather, it privileges the mutual creation of knowledge toward shared interest (democracy).

Engaged Knowledge

“Without action, there is no knowledge.” – Highlander School

“Expression is the first step out of oppression.” –Motto, Peaslee Neighborhood Center, Cincinnati

Knowledge is created through experience(s) as one transacts with other people. Engaged knowledge connects action and reflection as people collaborate to work toward reciprocal transformative change. 

Community Knowledge

Ethical and effective teaching acknowledges communities as assets and seeks to work alongside communities, learning from them and with them. Community knowledge includes the social, cultural, political, historical, and spiritual context of a community as it is embodied in various people, institutions, and spaces.

Pedagogical Knowledge

Ethical and effective teaching requires a strong knowledge of pedagogy and its relationship to content. Pedagogical knowledge emphasizes how best to teach, but also how to help learners develop meaningful connections to what is taught. Pedagogical knowledge should also be culturally relevant to each student.