Listening to and Crafting Stories: Cultivating Activism in Online Doctoral Students
Keywords:communication through storytelling, deficit-free language, systems-approach, activist inquiry
The Johns Hopkins online EdD program prepares students as scholar-practitioners who become leaders and agents of change across educational contexts. Advocating for equity and social justice requires our students to not only immerse themselves in the relevant literature and learn the traditional skills of applied research but to master the art of communication through a sort of storytelling. Storytelling, in this sense, represents a means to gather and analyze data and understand and integrate diverse perspectives to engage and persuade relevant stakeholders (Moezzi, Janda, & Rotmann, 2017). The Hopkins first-year EdD programming and coursework emphasize the use of deficit-free language to understand people and problems, consideration of diverse perspectives and structuring inquiry with a systems-approaches to explore contextual problems using a mixed methods research paradigms. Together, the program's approach to student learning and practice-oriented courses and dissertation research contribute to training scholar-practitioners as activists who ask relevant questions, draw on multiple perspectives to craft potential solutions, adapt to a variety of contexts and circumstances, engage with diverse stakeholders, reflect on their own assumptions, and admit to and learn from mistakes throughout the process. Through a detailed accounting and examination of the JHU onboarding features and processes, particular course content and assignments, as well as the interplay of these elements, this paper will demonstrate how attending to language, perspective taking, context, and research inquiry support the development of scholar-activists.
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