Equipping Educators for Equity Through Ethnic-Racial Identity | E4

E4_LogoEquipping Educators for Equity through Ethnic-Racial Identity (E4) is our professional development (PD) program built in partnership with educators in the Boston metro area. E4 provides all necessary training for educators to teach the Identity Project and use the manualized curriculum in their classrooms. Our program builds teachers’ competencies in the following areas, in support of diverse student learners and their engagement with the Identity Project:

E4_Symbol_GainingERIKnowledge Gaining ethnic-racial identity content knowledge: Teachers learn key concepts related to ethnic-racial identity. They understand key developmental changes that occur during adolescence and why these are important for students’ ethnic-racial identity development and adjustment.
E4_Symbol_SystemicInequities Understanding systemic inequities: Teachers acknowledge the part we play in inequitable systems that disproportionately pose threats to ethnic-racial minoritized students. They learn why fostering students’ ethnic-racial identity development in school can help to disrupt the reproduction of ethnic-racial inequities in the education system.
E4_Symbol_Self-Reflection Engaging in self-reflection regarding ethnic-racial identity: Teachers explore and examine their own ethnic-racial identity development in order to build capacity to support their students’ development.
E4_Symbol_FacilitationStrategies Learning and practicing strengths-based facilitation strategies: Teachers build upon their current toolkit of facilitation strategies to facilitate conversations on issues of race and ethnicity in the classroom.

Image_E4 Participants

We currently have a field research project in which different groups of teachers are experiencing the E4 training virtually vs. in person. We seek to examine whether the efficacy of the E4 training is equivalent across these two training modes.

Why E4? 

We’ve asked Massachusetts educators who have received the E4 training to reflect on the benefits of the program. Here’s what they have to say:

What have you appreciated most about the E4 training?

“I think conversations about diversity, identity and race are crucial in education but many teachers don't know how to lead these discussions. I really appreciate how the…E4 training gave me concrete ways to have these conversations with my students. The project and lessons helped to build the vocabulary, understanding and confidence that I think teachers want and need. I also really like that this program acknowledges that all people have a culture and race – I think that it is really important that there isn't one race or culture that is seen as the standard or the norm.”

– 9th grade English teacher in Boston

“I appreciated that I was able to do the work on developing my own ERI in a space that was constructive and would mitigate the harm I, as a white man, might inflict on my students. If I were to do this in the presence of my students or not engage with it at all, the likelihood of causing harm would be high. The support and coaching in the E4 program allowed me to grow, challenge my assumptions, and continue my journey in a safe and constructive environment.”

– 11th grade English teacher in greater Boston


What are the short-term and long-term benefits of the E4 training for educators?

“Short-term, the training helps teachers begin and/or continue their identity journey with new activities and tools for reflection. Long-term, I believe this training has made me more thoughtful in how I plan my lessons around student needs while being more culturally responsive. Additionally, the training supports life-long growth through identity development, which has positive impacts on our own sense of community and belonging.”

– 11th grade English teacher in greater Boston

“Short term, I think this will really help with learning how to build relationships and how to handle "hot" moments in class. Long term, I think that learning about yourself, especially because teachers have to do the IP is great because it allows us to think about our own identities and how it has shaped our experiences. It helped me to also reassess how and why I do things and how it may affect students and my classroom.”

– 9th grade English teacher in Boston


The E4training is a robust program that requires time and resources. After having experienced the training yourself, do you think that the time and resources invested in the program are worthwhile?

“I do believe that they are worthwhile because the training is a powerful tool in identity development for all educators. The E4 model creates a cohort of educators that have similar goals and a strong foundation of the Identity Project. The discussions and conversations were impactful for all participants and allowed us to work through our own biases.”

– 9th – 11th grade English teacher in greater Boston

“It was definitely worthwhile! The training helped me begin my identity journey and has supported the work in my c­lassroom to be more student-centered.”

–11th grade English teacher in greater Boston

“…the E4 program helps build that relationship between teachers as well as students. I also think that building stronger teacher connections and relationships is something all schools have neglected and need to prioritize and this program and training could be integral to that end. I have learned so much from the other teachers I did the training with and it was important and illuminating to hear their stories and experiences, as well as their questions.”

– 9th grade English teacher in Boston


What has been most valuable about participating in the Etraining?

“Working with a core group of educators that are all striving to effect positive change and growth in the lives of our students. It was a wonderful experience to work with all of the teachers and Harvard research team. I gained invaluable curricular and personal resources.”

– 9th – 11th grade English teacher in greater Boston

“The benefits are not limited to my career, they're applied to my personal life as well. Doing the reflective, in-depth personal work to understand my own ERI in a safe, constructive environment has allowed me to be a more mindful, supportive, and thoughtful teacher. What's more is that I feel I'm engaging with my community in more productive ways as an advocate, volunteer, and neighbor because I understand how I belong and what resources I have to offer throughout my community.”

– 11th grade English teacher in greater Boston


In addition, educators have shared that the E4 training and Identity Project curriculum meet pedagogical goals, including:

Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy


Student-Centered Learning




Building Strong Classroom Culture


Facilitating Discussions


Equity in Education

Student Ownership of Learning


Classroom Engagement