Humanizing Pedagogy Part 1: Removing Labels with Dr. Dominique Smith
Apr 20, 2023

Humanizing Pedagogy Part 1: Removing Labels with Dr. Dominique Smith


Episode Notes

What does it mean to humanize pedagogy? Why is it crucial to our work as educators? And how do beginning teachers do that in the midst of other demands and expectations? That’s what we are diving into in our next four episodes of 3Ps in a Pod, starting today by hearing from Dr. Dominique Smith about how the language we use shapes how we view and interact with learners and others.

Dr. Smith begins the episode by sharing about his passion for education and how teaching needs to begin at the understanding that each student is a unique, individual human. He then talks with 3Ps host Josh Meibos about how the labels we use to refer to people, whether positive or negative, frames how we view and treat those people.

At the beginning of the book Removing Labels, which Dr. Smith wrote with Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey, is a poem by Jiovanni Gutierrez Montano. Dr. Smith shares how Jiovanni, a student at his school, wrote and shared that poem with him out of his experiences of being labeled. (You can see a video of Jiovanni reading that poem at this link.)

Dr. Smith goes on to discuss how students also bring labels and expectations to the classroom based on their past experience. Dr. Smith gives some specific suggestions on how to approach and build relationships with those who may be limited by the labels others have assigned.

In future episodes, we’ll be diving into engagement, social-emotional learning, and restorative practices.

In this episode, Josh and Dr. Smith mention this summer’s Beginning Teacher Institute, where new teachers from across Arizona will be further exploring humanizing pedagogy. Learn more and register for this three-day event at

Learn more about the Arizona K12 Center at

-The poem in the introduction of his “Removing Labels” book is actually written by one of his students. Video of that student reading the poem:

PDF of the poem:

Arizona K12 Center


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