In the Classroom: Let’s Talk: Teaching Race in the Classroom

Last week I visited the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. It was incredible and overwhelming and I have been yearning ever since for a way to return as I feel I barely skimmed the surface of what was there. Then,  perusing the website, I came across a page featuring Professional Learning Events, one a week-long workshop titled “Let’s Talk: Teaching Race in the Classroom.” It is being held July 10-14 and I registered immediately. While I have done other workshops on equity and race I feel my learning and work on it is never enough so this can only help me to do this work with my colleagues and students. And since, at my school, we are continually grappling with the best way to teach the Transatlantic Slave Trade with our 4th graders I’m also hoping to learn how to do that better.

Here’s the description:

Race is an aspect of our American culture that is often ignored, glossed over or mishandled.  Additionally, to succeed in promoting equity, tolerance, and justice, childhood is the time to address these issues by understanding children’s development and encouraging positive feelings about their racial and cultural identity, as well as others’.  Working with youth makes it incumbent that educators are prepared to address issues of race whenever they surface such as in history or social studies lessons or when current events brings them forward such as events in our recent history.

Through presentations from researchers in the field, small group discussions, and reflective exercises participants will engage in conversations about race/racism, explore ways to address issues and topics that will meet students where they are in their racial development, and practice techniques for creating safe space for difficult discussions.

Educators will

  • learn and practice strategies for building a personal connections within their classroom
  • be introduced to and deepen their knowledge of racial identity development
  • reflect on their personal racial views, experiences, and implicit bias
  • practice facilitating interactions/discussions around racial issues by performing role-play situations
  • identify implicit bias and recognize how it affects teaching in the classroom
  • learn strategies for resilience and self-care

Due to the nature of the workshop material, the layering of activities and the sensitive nature of conversations that may develop, we require participants to commit to attending the whole week. 


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