George Lucas Educational Foundation
Shane Safir profile

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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  • Teacher Wellness

    Reclaiming a Sense of Joy

    Eight simple, quick strategies for easing the stress of teaching and remembering to take pleasure in the work.
  • Literacy

    Using a Mock Trial to Build Literacy Skills

    Having students present the arguments in a law case gives them a context for developing reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching

    Getting to Know Students Deeply

    Teachers can improve outcomes and build equity in the classroom by listening closely to their students. Here are six ways to do that.
  • Education Equity

    Equity vs. Equality: 6 Steps Toward Equity

    Ideas include knowing every child, celebrating their potential, recognizing their challenges, acknowledging inequity, and using culture as a resource.
  • Education Equity

    3 Practices to Promote Equity in the Classroom

    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.
  • Education Equity

    5 Keys to Challenging Implicit Bias

    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.
  • Community Partnerships

    Community Walks Create Bonds of Understanding

    When students lead teachers through their communities, the cultural exchange can have a transformational effect on school culture.
  • Social and Emotional Learning

    How to Bring Listening Circles to Your Class

    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.
  • Education Equity

    Fostering Identity Safety in Your Classroom

    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.
  • Professional Development

    Becoming a Listening Educator

    The four traits of a listening educator are a willingness to slow down, genuine curiosity, attention to non-verbal cues, and self-awareness and empathy.
  • Teacher Development

    Teaching How to Teach: Coaching Tips from a Former Principal

    Key lessons center on connecting and modeling.
  • School Climate

    The Power of Story in School Transformation

    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

    Listening Dyads Can Transform Your Team

    Dyadic communication paired with Constructivist Listening presents a unique, healthy way for teachers to integrate their emotional selves with their professional selves.
  • Family Engagement

    Listening to Parents: What It Means to Be an Ally

    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.