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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Classroom Strategies and Resources

A growing resource for Faculty and Staff at St. Luke's School

Podcast -- Teaching While White

Where Whiteness Intersects with

Antiracist Teaching and Learning

Religion -- Classroom Resources

Countering Islamophobia

Socio-Economic/Class -- Classroom Strategies

Learning Differences -- Classroom Strategies

Classroom Strategies for Discussing Race and Racism

To facilitate difficult conversations about race and racism, there are some essential prerequisites to consider:

  1. First, recognize that you play a critical role in helping students talk openly about the historical roots and manifestations of social inequality and discrimination.
  2. Second, be reflective of your own racial, ethnic, cultural and unconscious biases. Your experience with diversity, racism, privilege, and people of color influence your ability to have these conversations.
  3. Third, acknowledge the challenges of changing your frame of reference about race and racism. Learning how to talk about topics such as white privilege, systems of oppression, racism, police violence and mass incarceration takes practice and courage, regardless of how long you have been teaching.
  4. Finally, be willing to adapt instructional practices, classroom management, and motivational techniques.
  5. Clarify the meaning of race and racism.
  6. Acknowledge the fear of offending, discomfort and risk of talking about race. Create a safe space that sets the stage for respectful and honest conversation that is civil and where everyone can voice their views. Focus on the desired outcome of the conversation as well as the process of engaging students in the dialogue.
  7. Use stories and metaphors as examples that people can connect with. People ignore data that does not fit their perceptions, but stories are compelling. Telling stories is also an effective way to teach, persuade and even understand ourselves.
  8. Talk about structures, policies, practices, and norms. Focus on the context in which racial conflict and racism occurs and address the impact it has. People are more likely to engage in a dialogue about institutional racism when there are no accusations or blame directed at them.
  9. Focus on shared values such as equality, security, liberty, dignity, and respect for others as articulated in the NASW Code of Ethics.
  10. Talk about solutions as well as the problems so that people feel there is a way to make a difference and do not feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem.
  11. Frame (or reframe) issues to identify what the problem is about and how it can be addressed. Successful framing puts you in a favorable position to direct the discussion and improves the chances of a successful solution.
  12. Explore explanations for the disparities. Differences are not always "bad" or “negative.” Help students examine the basis of observed differences.
  13. Address blatant racist assertions and give your students and yourself an opportunity to process what was said.
  14. Use reflective writing assignments to launch discussion and make sure everyone in the classroom shares their perspective and rationale.
  15. Draw from a wide array of materials (i.e., readings, videos, audio clips, images/symbols) to help you deal with what is uncomfortable and unfamiliar in the conversation.

Smith-Maddox, Renee. The office of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The University of Southern California, 2019.  https://dworakpeck.usc.edu/diversity

Gender/Sexuality Inclusive Classroom Strategies

Anti-Ableism Classroom Strategies

with thanks to Simmons University Library for their assistance.