Travis J. Bristol is an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Education. Before joining Berkeley’s faculty, Dr. Bristol was a Peter Paul Assistant Professor at Boston University. He is a former student and teacher in New York City public schools and teacher educator with the Boston Teacher Residency program.
We caught up with Dr. Bristol to learn how data science figures into his work.
Question: What is the focus of your research?
Answer: My research is situated at the intersection of policy and practice and is centered on three interrelated strands: (1) district and school-based practices that support educators of color; (2) national, state, and local education policies that enable and constrain the workplace experiences and retention for educators of color; (3) the intersection of race and gender in schools.
Q: How are you using data science in this work?
A: As a qualitative researcher, the data that I primarily analyze are semi-structured interviews and participant observations. These data allow me to understand how educators of color experience schools; more importantly, I use the collected data to provide practitioners and policymakers with concrete ideas on how to improve the working conditions for educators of color.
For example, as I collected and analyzed data from my study on Black male teachers, I also served as a clinical teacher educator with the Boston Teacher Residency (BTR) program. Consequently, I was able to put into practice one recommendation from my dissertation – creating “differentiated professional development” opportunities to address the unique needs of Black male teachers. Specifically, I designed and co-facilitated a professional development initiative, the Boston Teacher Residency Male Teachers of Color Network. I extended the invitation to all male teachers of color (Latino, Black, Asian, Pacific Islander) who were BTR alumni. As I described in a Phi Delta Kappan article, the group’s mission focused on providing socio-emotional support to male teachers of color and a space to reflect on practice — in service of student learning. Boston Public Schools adopted this professional development initiative into its district-wide efforts to support and retain a racially/ethnically diverse teacher workforce.
Q: What advice would you give students who are interested in data science?
"Guard against and address bias at every turn. Schools, like organizations, like algorithms, reproduce the inequity present in a society built on the subjugation of Native Americans and people of color."
Listen to a KQED feature(link is external) highlighting Travis Bristol’s work here.