Dr. Melanie Acosta Biography & Presentation

Melanie M. Acosta, Ph.D is an Assistant Professor in the department of Curriculum, Culture, and Educational Inquiry at Florida Atlantic University. Her scholarship is focused on critical issues in teacher learning and preparation to support African American educational excellence within the contexts of elementary classrooms and in local communities. Her work also examines the professional practice and identity of African American educators to illuminate how they have relied on their cultural ethos to resist, transform and liberate themselves in ways that result in meaningful and non-alienating improvements in education and society. Dr. Acosta’s work is featured in journals such as The Journal of Teacher Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, Race, Ethnicity, & Education, Urban Education, The Urban Review, and Equity & Excellence in Education. Prior to her work in higher education, Dr. Acosta was an elementary school teacher and a community organizer for a grassroots parent empowerment group.
“I Ain’t A Killa’ But Don’t Push Me”: Dismantling Black Student Alienation Through Curriculum & Instruction 
Positive classroom communities do not exist or develop automatically. It takes intentional nurturing by teachers to transform classroom spaces into places where Black students want to be considering the often anti-Black hostility, or Black student alienation, (Acosta, 2013; King, 1991; Love, 2019) that shapes Black students’ schooling experiences. Fortunately, there are many teachers of Black students pushing back against Black student alienation through their curricular and instructional approaches, just not enough to ensure every Black child experiences teaching, learning and schooling in affirming and healthy ways. Participants will engage in analysis and collective dialogue toward an overarching framework for dismantling Black student alienation that can be used immediately in their work with Black students.
The School District of Palm Beach County