Thursday, February 2, 2012

Is your classroom racist?

Featured on Edutopia is a really great article titled "Creating an Anti-Racist Classroom". In this article, Lee suggests 5 strategies for creating a classroom that encourages and appreciates all students.

  1. Don't ignore race - Ignoring something is sometimes conceived as unwillingness to appreciate, so don't be guilty of ignoring student race. And if you do have unspoken biases, which most people do of some sort, explore them, discuss with your peers and find ways to ensure a fair, friendly and inviting classroom for all students.
  2. Seek out established community organizations - Many times resources exist that we simply are not aware of, so find them!  It's very possible that located right around the corner are cultural, religious, educational and youth organizations that would love to work with you and your students.
  3. Remember that communities of color are not monolithic - As you are well aware, stereotypes are not true of all people in the stereotyped group. Learn about the individual, don't assume what you haven't discovered for yourself. Treat each individual as the unique person that they are!
  4. Read Educators hold an awesome power in their hands, the power to change. Use that ability to positively impact the lives of your students, by constantly learning. Read, listen to and observe others, this will strengthen your ability to provide a fair education to all of your students.  
  5. Self-awareness is the key - Take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself "Am I unintentionally favoring certain students?", "Am I using preexisting labels?" - be honest with yourself and if you find that are acting unjustly towards your students, diligently work to overcome this. 

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