Cultivating Spaces That Promote Agency, Equity & Connection with Nicole Tucker-Smith - PEBC
Phenomenal Teaching

Explore the PEBC's Phenomenal Teaching Framework.

Each episode will take a closer look how the strands of the framework come to life in classrooms and schools. Join us as we unpack Planning, Community, Workshop, Thinking Strategies, Discourse & Assessment.

Cultivating Spaces That Promote Agency, Equity & Connection with Nicole Tucker-Smith


Nicole Tucker-Smith joins Michelle Morris Jones on PEBC’s  Phenomenal Teaching Podcast to share ways teachers and school leaders can cultivate spaces that promote agency, equity and connection for all learners.  Nicole encourages us to confront how and why school spaces encourage assimilation, compliance, and conformity and to envision how we might transform our classroom and school environments to promote agency, equity and connection.

Auditing our materials and use of time provide helpful insights into which values our spaces are reflecting. Sometimes one’s space may not be reflecting the values that we believe in, and then it is time to examine why or why-not our values and beliefs are not evident. In order to promote agency, equity, and connection we must value choice, ownership, and relationships when designing spaces for learners. Then we must choose actions that illustrate those values. Nicole asks us to promote equity over assimilation, agency over compliance, and connection over conformity.  We can take any moment in the school day, space or system and ask ourselves: Are we valuing assimilation over equity?  Compliance over agency? Or conformity over connection?

Think about something as simple as the way we greet students at the door or read aloud time.  Do our actions, words, and classroom arrangement encourage assimilation over equity? Compliance over agency? Or conformity over connection?  Nicole shares a variety of strategies, examples, and steps that educators can take to transform their learning environments. This episode connects to the Community strand of the PEBC Teaching Framework. 

Nicole Tucker-Smith, founder and CEO of Lessoncast, helps schools implement professional learning initiatives focused on inclusive teaching and equity best practice. Nicole co-authored Supercharge Your Professional Learning: 40 Concrete Strategies to Improve Adult Learning and wrote Remote PD Zen, available on Amazon, Apple Books, and Google Play. She also leads the Jumpstart PD Network, a community of educators to share ideas, spread resources, post tips, and dialogue on key areas of interest related to designing and delivering effective PD focused on inclusion and equity. Nicole’s article, “The Illusion of Equity PD,” is featured in the March 2021 issue of Educational Leadership. Learn more about Nicole here.

The “Phenomenal Teaching Podcast” is brought to you by Public Education & Business Coalition (PEBC) and is intended to elevate the strands of the PEBC Teaching Framework illustrated in Wendy Ward Hoffer’s book, Phenomenal Teaching. Those strands include community, planning, workshop, thinking strategies, discourse, and assessment.