As a classroom teacher, I did not believe I was skilled at engaging in meaningful conversations about race with my colleagues or responding to questions from my students that directly related to equity,discrimination or oppression. I was slightly fearful that I would say something that might be taken out of context.
It wasn’t until a “hot moment” erupted in my fifth grade classroom that I realized I had to grapple with my personal feelings and emotions. It became quite clear that many of my fifth graders were more honest, articulate and comfortable talking about race with people who didn’t look like them than I was.
Any student on any given day may need support in processing something they read, viewed or heard on the topic of racial violence. What will you do? Will you react with emotion or respond with empathy? Will you avoid the conversation or are you equipped with the skills to facilitate meaningful dialogue that supports student learning?
Cultural competence is key in serving students from diverse backgrounds. One of the basic skill areas is understanding the dynamics of cultural interactions. Knowledge and understanding of historical factors that may impact feelings and attitudes is critical in building a classroom community where all students feel valued.
In order to bring joy to classrooms, we must face this topic. I have compiled a list of resources that may provide support in facilitating conversations about race.
I would love to hear your thoughts!
- Facilitating Difficult Conversations in the Classroom
- Teaching Tolerance
- Let’s Talk
- Overcoming Microaggressions
- Guidelines for Discussion of Racial Conflict
- Teaching Controversial Issues
- Managing Hot Moments in the Classroom
- Inclusive Practices for Managing Controversial Issues
- Teaching and Race: Tips on Leading Difficult Conversations
- Empowering Educators Through Cultural Competence
Have a wonderful week,