Assistant Professor, California State University, Fullerton
Miguel Zavala is an assistant professor in the Department of Secondary Education at California State University, Fullerton where he offers courses in the Teacher Education Program and the Master’s in teaching program. Through these courses, Zavala introduces students to frameworks for understanding and developing curriculum, critically reflecting on their own assumptions about working with historically marginalized students, discovering their identity as educators, and providing strategies for working in urban schools.
“My experience at GSE&IS provided me with the social theory and research skills required in addressing the needs of future pre-service urban educators,” said Zavala. “My goal is to have students shift towards social justice oriented approaches to education and model community-based strategies that extend beyond pedagogy for working in urban schools and in the interests of the poor and historically marginalized groups.”
This year, Zavala will publish the chapter “The Development of Teacher Collaboration Through Community-Based Organizing: Lessons from Teacher-Led Action Research” in the book Breaking the Mold of Preservice and Inservice Teacher Education edited by Audrey Cohan and Andrea Honigsfeld (Rowman & Littlefield). Zavala’s chapter documents the constitution of the grass-roots organization, the Association of Raza Educators, and the role that action research plays in social justice projects in urban Los Angeles.
He is currently working on “Schooling Biographies: Re-Writing Our Lives Through Counter-Storytelling,” a two-year pedagogical and instructional research project that uses writing, history, and sociology as resources for studying students’ educational histories.
After earning his BA in Philosophy from UCLA in 1995, Zavala was an English teacher at Nimitz Middle School and Fremont High School in Los Angeles. He received his teaching credential from California State University, Dominguez Hills), an MS in the Sociology of Education from Cornell University, and a PhD in Education from UCLA. During his doctoral study he was the recipient of research fellowships from the Spencer Foundation and a lecturer at the Charter College of Education at California State University, Los Angeles, where he taught pre-service teachers, planned courses, and evaluated students’ writing. Additionally, he worked as an instructor in the summer program of the education foundation that is part of TELACU (The East Los Angeles Community Union, chartered in the 60s as a Community Development Corporation) and as an Assistant Researcher at the UCLA Institute on Research and Labor Employment. He is a member of the American Educational Research Association and the Association of Raza Educators (A.R.E.). He brings his many scholarly and professional experiences in education together in his current work at California State University, Fullerton.