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About Unlearning the Hush 

Origin Story


  • The HUSH Framework was born out of a doctoral research focused on the oral histories and studies of Black female educators in Mississippi from 1954-1971.

  • This action-oriented framework seeks to carry forward their vision for equitable classrooms and help to create visibility for marginalized histories, stories, and people.

  • The phrase “unlearning the hush” speaks to the power of shaking off constructs and barriers imposed on marginalized people through systemic and historical implications. 

  • The framework is all about creating culturally competent classroom lessons and experiences by recognizing marginalized histories (H), unlearning biases (U), sharing stories (S) and healing (H) through connection and relationships.

Interested in learning more about the research? Keep scrolling. 

What does unlearning the hush mean?

  • Unlearning the Hush is a phrase that empowers and reminds us to use our voices, to embrace our identities, and to create learning spaces that dismantle systemic and societal factors that silence voices. In many ways it is a call to action to use classroom interactions and practices as a place to start actionable change that will positively impact our world.

  • As educators, we can help students discover their voices, forge connections, understand the relevance of all histories, and have a space to self-reflect and evolve. Just as the north star serves as a reliable guide, the H.U.S.H. Framework and oral histories provide an ‘internal compass’ for guiding our lessons and activities in the classroom, while also challenging us to reflect about our practices and ideologies.

The HUSH Framework is a culmination of best teaching practices. Some of the research considered when creating this framework includes the oral histories of past educators, grief responsive teaching, trauma informed teaching, ABAR, differentiated instruction, lateral teaching, oral history methodology, the Black intellectual tradition, Diane Ketelle's research regarding the benefits of storytelling in the classroom, place based pedagogy, culturally responsive teaching & evaluation, and the feedback and knowledge I have gained from students throughout my career regarding impactful classroom practices. 

Inspired from Doctoral Research 

  • The purpose of this study is to examine the ways in which desegregation efforts and Brown v. Board impacted the lives of Black, female educators from 1954-1971 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. This study explores the lives and stories of these women, examines the historical implications of public-school desegregation in Hattiesburg, and draws connections between history and current day concerns in K-12 schools. This study is significant because it extends our understanding of the oral histories of the Black women, it helps fill in the gaps of the historical record, and it centers the voices and histories of Black women who forged the path for education.

  • My methodology for this study was an oral history, qualitative inductive study, using the oral histories of participants as the primary source. This study centered the voices of the participants and served as a counter-story to the dominant narrative. 

  • This research examined the historical implications of these events through the oral histories of the Black women who taught in these very classrooms. By centering their stories and experiences, we can develop a more accurate historic record that represents their voices and guides us in how to best remedy current day concerns in education. This oral evidence will allow us to add to build upon the existing research and ensure that the contributions and advancements that occurred in large part due to the efforts of these women, is recorded for future generations.

The Big Picture

There are many tools and frameworks available to teachers, but what seemed to be missing from the picture was the voices of the past educators who could offer their guidance and expertise. Many of those teachers (still alive today) navigated times not too different than today. What can we learn from them? How can we use oral histories, histories, and stories to forge relationships and coalitions with one another? We hope the framework guides you and inspires you to use it in powerful ways that bring about positive changes in your classrooms and learning. 

The Importance of Mississippi

From the founder

Dr. Marlee Bunch

Ed.D., M.Ed., M.S., B.A.

Creator of HUSH Framework

Author of Unlearning the Hush study

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Bringing equity and innovation to the classroom for over 17 years.
Dr. Marlee Bunch is an educator with over 17 years teaching experience. She holds a doctoral degree from the University of Illinois in Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, with a concentration in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In addition, she holds an MEd in Education, a Master of Science in Gifted Education, and a BA in English. She also holds a teaching certificate, Gifted Education Certification, Diversity and Equity Certificate, and an ESL (English Second Language) Certification.
Her experiences teaching at the secondary and post-secondary level, have allowed her to write curriculum, mentor teachers, create workshops, advocate for inclusion & equity, and most importantly support students. Her research, teaching, and educational advocacy work seeks to disrupt inequities, advocate for educational reform and illuminate the power of storytelling and history. Her research focuses on the oral histories of Black female educators. She is the founder of the Unlearning the HUSH teaching framework. You can learn more at or by contacting her.
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