Anti-Racism Tips for Teachers
Think about it...
Is it likely that you will be teaching students who do not share your cultural background?
Furthermore, do you know the steps you need to take to ensure that you are helping all of your students achieve success?''
Research shows that to empower students of color, educators need to ensure that students see themselves represented in the curriculum. In other words, as a teacher you need to select resources that reflect the diversity in your class, in the school, in the community and in the world. Try to make sure that you are presenting students with a number of stories to show them just how many ways there are to understand and make sense of the world around us.
If you have the time, I love this TED talk by author, Chimamanda Adichie, The Danger of a Single Story
- "Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding."
Five Tips for Teachers Working Towards An Inclusive Curriculum
This previously unpublished work is reproduced with thanks to Megan Rand and Christine Nuyten.
Before trying to incorporate inclusive and multicultural content into your classroom, take a moment to reflect on your practice.
- a.Trivializing: organizing activities around special activities. Multicultural and inclusive content should be incorporated into the classroom all of the time, not just during a special holiday.
- b.Tokenism: Having only a single book about a cultural group, perhaps that isn't even written by a member of that population group. Teachers should introduce inclusive attitudes and ideas into every aspect of their teaching, not just as a disconnected idea.
- c.Disconnecting cultural diversity from daily classroom life: Reading books or teaching a unit about a culture only on a single occasion and then never speaking of the culture again. Again, teachers should try to integrate different cultures and inclusive attitudes into everything they teach.
- d.Stereotyping: Avoid bringing in stereotypical and generalized images and information about different cultural groups (ie: Images of Aboriginal groups only dressed in traditional clothing.)
- e.Misrepresenting Canadian ethnic groups: This involves only bringing in pictures and books about Japan to teach about Japanese Canadians when the two groups may share very few cultural similarities. Whenever possible, guest speakers and parents in the community should be invited into the classroom to represent themselves, sharing whatever aspects of their lives and cultures that they wish.
2.Include heritage languages: if you have a class with a number of English as a Second Language learners, try to incorporate their heritage language as much as possible into day to day classroom activities. For example: create bulletin board signs that display a number of different languages, bilingual books, and try to have multilingual resources available for students to access.
3.Give feedback to students who make derogatory comments: Address any derogatory comments (whether they are derived from ignorance, thoughtlessness, or malice) as soon as it is acceptable so that students know that this behaviour will not be tolerated in the classroom or school. (Meyers).
4.Have appropriate resources: Do not use textbooks that favour one culture and always be critical of the resources that you present to students. Try to find books that are current and cover a wide range of multicultural and inclusive topics.
5.Establish connections with the home and the community The onus is on the educator to overcome language barriers that may exist between the educator and her students' families. The educator needs to find a way to communicate in the family's first language, being sure to send home school newsletters and other school communication so that the family may understand it.
Works cited: Meyers, Mary. Teaching to Diversity: Teaching and Learning in the Multi Ethnic Classroom. Ontario: Irwin Publishing, 1993.