Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Elementary Education


Dominick Varney

Committee Members

Rebecca Buchanan, Margaret Killinger, Franziska Petersen

Graduation Year

May 2022

Publication Date

Spring 5-2022


Education can be a dehumanizing experience for both students and teachers. Teachers hold a great responsibility to ensure that student identities are validated in school and to this end, must create a safe and welcoming learning environment. This thesis analyzes common dehumanizing practices in schools and ways in which teachers may unconsciously invalidate their students or be invalidated themselves. In a personal reflective manner, this thesis focuses especially on the text Opening the Classroom Door (Chapter 1 of Teaching Towards Democracy) by Ayers et. al (2017) as I evaluate my experiences in the classroom both as a student and teacher, and reflecting on my changing knowledge and understanding of others through three different lenses: race, identity, and online learning.