George Lucas Educational Foundation
Shane Safir

Shane Safir

The power of listening: creating opportunity for every student in our schools

Shane Safir is a writer, coach, and facilitator who has worked in public education for over 20 years. Her work focuses on creating brave spaces for tackling educational equity. In 2003, she became the founding co-principal of June Jordan School for Equity (JJSE), an innovative national model identified by scholar Linda Darling-Hammond as having “beaten the odds in supporting the success of low-income students of color.” She is the author of The Listening Leader: Creating the Conditions for Equitable School Transformation (Wiley, 2017) and a frequent contributor to Edutopia. For more information, visit

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  • Culturally Responsive Teaching
    Teachers can improve outcomes and build equity in the classroom by listening closely to their students. Here are six ways to do that.
  • Community Partnerships
    When students lead teachers through their communities, the cultural exchange can have a transformational effect on school culture.
  • Education Equity
    Challenge implicit biases by identifying your own, teaching colleagues about them, observing gap-closing teachers, stopping "tone policing," and tuning into such biases at your school.
  • Education Equity
    Dissolve stereotype threat and increase identity safety by affirming all types of identity, modeling strategic vulnerability, inviting students into self-authorship, and creating identity safe classroom agreements.
  • Education Equity
    <p>Six steps toward classroom equity include knowing every child, celebrating their potential, recognizing their challenges, becoming flexible, making it safe to fail, and using culture as a resource.</p> <br> &nbsp;
  • Education Equity
    To engage all students equitably in classroom activities, track their participation with equity sticks or tally sheets, and restructure discussions so that everyone gets a turn.
  • School Climate
    Educators should pay close attention to their students' and colleagues' stories and, through "storientation," use these shared feelings and expectations to create desired outcomes.
  • Professional Development
    Dyadic communication paired with Constructivist Listening presents a unique, healthy way for teachers to integrate their emotional selves with their professional selves.
  • Family Engagement
    The best ways to build trust with parents are thinking before you react, being fully present, not offering quick fixes, and committing to follow-ups.
  • Social and Emotional Learning
    To enhance classroom culture, use a listening circle to build respect, deepen trust, and share humor. Prompt your students thoughtfully, and record your observations afterward.