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Mackensi Crenshaw


I am a first-year master’s student who has just arrived at UIUC from Columbus, Ohio. I recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in K-12 Special Education and 6-12 English Language Arts. I am very excited to begin my program! My research interests are largely focused on the cultivation of both critical and traditional literacy in contemporary education, especially among marginalized populations of learners. I am very interested in exploring the curricular possibilities that exist at the intersection of popular culture pedagogy and the concept of social constructivism. I want to consider how the integration and examination of cultural products can facilitate authentic literacy development in both traditional classroom spaces and in alternative, community learning spaces. I hope to utilize my work in the program to create and teach curriculum based in authentic literacy practice that promotes self-advocacy, self-concept, and embracement of the rich cultural history of the United States.


CI 415: Language Varieties, Cultures and Learning (CI 415) For students in the early childhood, elementary and middle grades licensure programs. Introduces students to issues related to first- and second-language development, cultural diversity, and language variation. Addresses the above issues in terms of teaching and learning and serves as a base for subsequent courses that will extend these issues in the content areas.

EDUC 202: Social Justice, School and Society (EDUC 202) Examines the nature of justice and the dynamics of a pluralistic society to derive a conception of social justice. Working with this conception, it asks how schools function to perpetuate and/or remediate social injustice. The course will consider the history and nature of schooling, issues of access and tracking, and notions of the public and the common. The course is designed for students interested in reflecting on their own educational histories, for those considering careers in teaching, and for all future parents and citizens needing to be able to reflect critically on justice, school, and society.

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