The overarching theme of presentations this week was “Encouragement”! Many of the presentations highlighted how all students need to feel equally important, need to be equally encouraged, and overall treated equally. There has been evidence of school tracking that has placed more students of the majority into honors and advanced placement classes than minorities with the same (or better) grades. The assumed (and proven) causes of this is lack of encouragement, discrimination, and lack of attention. Other presentations demonstrated ways to take the bad situations you were born into and make them positive. The presentation I gave was on Why Are All of The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria by Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum. In all of her works, and in this book, racial identity, racial injustice, and racial assimilation were heavily talked about. I highly recommend reading her books. Below are suggested ways to make the classroom more inclusive:
This book examined racial injustice in schools that make African American students seem to “self-segregate”. Many of Dr. Tatum’s works talk about injustice in education, assimilation into white culture and norms, and racial identities in adolescents. Dr. Tatum recommended some ways to make our classrooms and instruction more inclusive for all:
1. Don’t assume students are being sensitive when they are actually offended.
2. Don’t let any racial jokes, slurs, or microaggressions go unpunished.
3. Don’t avoid the topic of race in the classroom.
4. Don’t express any over-generalizations or stereotypes.
5. Introduce your students to notable African American figures in history. (past and present)