Cover Story: All Shook Up

January 20, 2015
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Dr. Lakia Scott is not afraid to shake things up. In fact, she’s planning on it. The newest addition to the faculty in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Scott said her educational philosophies were forged during a three-year stint teaching English Language Arts and Reading at an all-male charter school in Houston, The Pro-Vision School. “A lot of the students came there as a final option before entering the juvenile justice education system,” she said. “It was our job to show them education was a key to freedom.”

Scott said many of her students felt that to achieve academically, they had to “act” in a way that seemed inauthentic. So she encouraged them to bring rap songs to class and asked the students to explain the content using classroom grammar and language techniques.

“They were learning to code switch,” Scott explained. And they were learning it’s OK to use different codes in different situations.

“Those three years taught me how to grow up like nothing else ever did,” Scott said. “And I came out as a trail blazer, so I stayed in education.”

Scott earned her MSEd at Prairie View A&M University in 2009 and went on to complete a PhD program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2014.

At UNC Charlotte, Scott continued to focus on urban education and explore cultural themes, such as the urban dialect, multi-cultural education and historically black colleges and universities. Before graduating, she co-authored a book with one of her mentors, Dr. Greg Wiggan. The book, Unshackled: Education for Freedom, Student Achievement and Personal Emancipation, analyzes cultural barriers in education and poses recommendations to improve academic outcomes for traditionally marginalized student populations.

Scott is teaching classes for SOE students studying elementary education, and she hopes her experiences can offer insight for working with the urban demographic. “I didn’t grow up in poverty; my parents worked hard to ensure that I had opportunities in education,” she said. “It’s a great misconception that because I am black, I can relate to any black student. Every teacher faces some sort of cultural struggle and adjustment. But I hope my transparency will help my Baylor students see how we can all get beyond our naiveties to best meet the needs of our students.”

Baylor senior Lindsay Adams is in Scott’s class on elementary literacy and said she always feels encouraged by her. “She’s funny, relatable and has great stories,” Adams said. “I can come to her with individual teaching problems from my classroom, and she listens, asks questions and helps me.” — Meg Cullar
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