Jen Johnson

Jen Johnson is an assistant professor of English Education at San José State University where she prepares students to become teachers of powerful Englishes in secondary schools. Her research and teaching experience is rooted in a desire to contribute to a more just and equitable global society through humanizing and innovative pedagogies that foster literacies of access and liberation in culturally and linguistically diverse settings by leveraging digital literacies, critical theory, debate, Hip-Hop culture, and participatory action research in teaching and teacher education. Beginning her work with brilliant young scholars, leaders, and MCs at Kennedy High School in Richmond, California, she coached competitive academic high school policy debate for over 16 years during which time she also ran two Urban Debate Leagues. She earned her Ph.D. in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University where she was a graduate research fellow with the Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME) and the founding director of the Teachers College Debate Institute at IUME, a fully subsidized academic Hip-Hop debate apprenticeship serving New York City public high school students. Her research is grounded in critical literacy and sociocultural approaches to teaching and learning and she examines the role of Hip-Hop and debate in fostering academic literacies, civic participation, college-going practices, and identity formation. Her ultimate goal is to expand debating opportunities to unite young leaders, educators, and changemakers around the globe. She believes that through the power of debate and Hip-Hop we can connect, build, educate, elevate, and create a just and truly participatory democracy for a new world with endless possibilities for us all.

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