“I’ve always had the abolitionist spirit in me”: Novice Teachers of Color, A Community of Abolitionist Praxis, & Pedagogies of Abolitionist Praxis
Rubén González

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Stanford University

Primary Discipline

Teacher Education/Teaching and Learning
K-12 schools have long served as carceral sites of suffering for students of color and other marginalized youth. While there has been increased dialogue about police and prison abolition within the general public and in educational contexts in recent years, much of the scholarship exploring abolition in educational settings remains conceptual. Specifically, there is a need for more empirical scholarship exploring how abolitionist approaches to teaching and learning are enacted within and beyond K-12 classrooms and schools. As such, this two-year ethnographic and qualitative study investigates the experiences of four novice English Language Arts (ELA) teachers of color (i.e., two elementary teachers and two high school teachers) and how they develop and enact an abolitionist praxis during their pre-service and first-year teaching experiences. In particular, this study explores: 1) how involvement in what I conceptualize as a “community of abolitionist praxis” mediates how participants develop an abolitionist praxis, and 2) how participants enact an abolitionist praxis in their work via what I term “pedagogies of abolitionist praxis.” By exploring the intersection of abolition, teacher education, and novice teachers of color, this study advances the conceptual and empirical understanding of abolition in teacher education and in K-12 classrooms. The implications of this research have the potential to transform K-12 schooling and society away from carceral policies, practices, and ideologies and toward liberation for all.
About Rubén González
Rubén González, proudly from Greenfield, California, is a PhD candidate in Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE) and Curriculum and Teacher Education (CTE) at Stanford University, where he also earned a Master of Arts degree in sociology. His research explores how students and teachers of color develop, sustain, and enact a critical sociopolitical disposition in classroom, school, and larger community settings. Rubén’s scholarship has been supported by the Stanford Graduate School of Education, the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and the Stanford Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education. He is also the recipient of the Stanford Graduate Public Service Fellowship, the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education Graduate Student Fellowship, and the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. In recognition of his teaching and service, Rubén has received the Elk Grove Unified School District Honored Educator Award, the Sacramento State University Social Justice Educator Award, and the National Council of Teachers of English Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award. Prior to his graduate studies, Rubén was a high school English, English Language Development, and AVID teacher in Sacramento, California. As a high school teacher, he co-founded and co-advised the Social Justice & Equity Collective (SJEC), an after-school and student-led organizing and activist space. Rubén also worked with (im)migrant and multilingual Latinx youth as an academic tutor in classroom and after-school settings during his undergraduate studies. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Sacramento State University after transferring from Hartnell College.

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