58. Sketchnoting for social justice with Sylvia Duckworth

How might teachers use their voice and power for social change? Today on the show I speak with social justice artist and sketchnote enthusiast, Sylvia Duckworth. 


You might know Sylvia as the sketchnote promoter and author of two books on the topic. Or maybe you know her as the 2015 Prime Minister’s Teaching Award winner. Or perhaps you have discovered one of her powerful images on Instagram about a social justice issue. Or maybe this is the first you are hearing about her, in which case, you are in for a treat. If you know anything about Sylvia, you will know that she is an educator with a growth mindset who is passionate about learning, not afraid to share her voice with the world, and uses her platform for good. 


In this conversation, we talk about Sylvia’s journey in education and how her most recent chapter as a retired, but still very active educator, is working out for her. We also talk about sketchnoting, but we really sink our teeth into how Sylvia is now using her skills in sketchnoting to educate others about social justice issues. We also get into the risk and clear benefits of teachers sharing their voice online. 


A theme that kept coming up for me while chatting with Sylvia Duckworth is the idea that every teacher has their own unique superpowers and there are so many reasons why others need us to share these. Sylvia has many (many) superpowers, so let’s jump right in and learn more about them. Please welcome to the show, Sylvia Duckworth and listen to the audio with the link above. 

The key takeaways that I am left with are these:


  1. Start small and start where you are. Sylvia mentioned this when she was talking about how she teaches others how to draw doodles, but I think this also applies to how we use our voices online, how we gradually improve with any skill, and–probably most importantly–how we further ourselves on a social justice journey. 
  2. Find your people: social media is all the things. Yes, there are trolls, and yes, there is risk in sharing your opinions online. But with thoughtfulness and intentionality, it is also an amazing tool to find your larger learning community outside of the walls of your classroom. Put yourself out there, share your teaching wins with the world, and lean on others for support. And finally..
  3. Be comfortable with making mistakes. Sylvia shared her own tricky moment in the grocery store and I’m so glad she did because I think it really highlights how even once you have started the journey to being a better anti-racist, we are still going to mess up. It’s more important how we learn from this and how we take ownership. We have all been steeped in this culture…it takes a long time to truly unlearn. 


If you liked this show, please subscribe to the podcast, follow me on Instagram @teaching_tomorrow, and leave me a rating and review. You don’t have to be one of those lurkers like Sylvia mentions…you can say hi and connect. I really (really) love it! 


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1 thought on “58. Sketchnoting for social justice with Sylvia Duckworth

  1. the best pod yet–I really enjoy our work but this one hit home for me. This summer I am due to deliver PD to fellow arts staff on improving teacher allyship with marginalized, BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+ students.

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