The Shift Towards Street Data

Jessica Wei Huang
6 min readApr 18, 2022

Co-writtten by Shane Safir & Jessica Wei Huang

A few weeks ago, Jamila, Shane, and I facilitated a sold-out Street Data Fundamentals workshop. This was our first time running a PD where a majority of educators work in international schools — about 2/3rds — alongside folks from the U.S. and Canada. In today’s blog, Shane Safir and I will share some emergent lessons on dominant culture in schooling with an eye on the international school context.

Shane’s reflection:

It was so cool to test drive Street Data tools with folks from a diverse range of contexts! We witnessed high engagement, a hunger for the content, and an undercurrent of pain from educators of color in international schools who often feel marginalized and alienated despite DEIJ (Diversity Equity Inclusion and Justice) being the initiative du jour.

The unique mix of learners called on us to add nuance and texture to the workshop, including deeper connections to how colonialism manifests in international school settings. This experience brought me back to 2010–11, the year I taught at an international school outside of Amman, Jordan (when my now 12 and 16-year olds were 1 and 4!). There was no “DEIJ” language on campus, and the cross-cultural dynamics of a predominantly local, Jordanian staff alongside a handful of expats like us were really complex. As an English teacher and colleague to veteran local staff, I experienced a steep learning curve when it came to navigating local cultural norms. Looking back, I still reflect on how the Street Data tools — empathy interviews, story-telling, cultivating self-awareness — would have helped me become a better colleague.

Jessica’s Reflections on Dominant Culture in Schooling

As an Asian-American woman and longtime educator, I have spent the last 3 years teaching and leading in international settings. This experience has show me how deep colonialism runs in international schools, a concept I understood intellectually, and now have experienced personally. In her article, “Elite International Schools Have a Racism Problem”, Obiko Pearson, a biracial Japanese American woman who attended an international high school in Japan, describes her daily journey to campus as “a 45-minute exercise in learning to shut out the country [we] lived in and immerse ourselves in a land quite literally constructed to suit foreign sensibilities.” In many international schools, students of color are predominantly taught and led by…

Jessica Wei Huang

Educator, Mother, Traveler, Justice-seeker.