Educator Resources

Please note that these resources are for educators who have already participated in my seminars or professional trainings and are interested in resources to help them create related lessons for their students. As such, these slide decks are not stand-alone and are not substitutes for my seminars or professional trainings.

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Table of Contents:

1. A “Perspectives Consciousness” Approach to Discussing Race and Current Issues (Conceptually Speaking Podcast)

  • In this Conceptually Speaking podcast I share several great tips and strategies for effectively discussing racism in the classroom. My approach involves developing a classroom culture that encourages students to seek to understand different viewpoints instead of universalizing their personal viewpoints.
  • Blind Men & The Elephant simulation –- Positionality, Teaching students to construct a more complete understanding of complex issues by seeking out, assessing and comparing perspectives of various stakeholder groups, rather than universalizing their personal perspective.
  • Deliberation rather than Debate — Developing the skills and habits necessary to participate in a deliberative democracy where citizens engage in deliberations (vs. debates) to better understand differing perspectives and find policy solutions that promote the common good.
  • Use Hess and McAvoy’s “empirical vs. policy” framework to distinguish between empirical issues (Does structural racism exist?) that are not subject to debate, versus policy (opinion) issues (What should the government do about racism?) which should be debated. 
  • Instead of just telling students that social scientists have concluded that systemic racism exists, have them spend a classroom period analyzing the data/research for themselves and letting them come to their own conclusion—showing rather than telling. This is also an excellent opportunity for them to practice interpreting data and graphs on social science issues.

2. Preparing Students to Understand, Discuss and Dismantle Racism (High Tech High’s Unboxed Podcast)

In this podcast interview I elaborate further on of the strategies I describe in the Conceptually Speaking podcast for developing a classroom culture conducive to productive classroom discussions about race and racism.

  1. Weave the history of racism BACK INTO core curriculum U.S. History classes (vs. electives). (This usually involves our U.S. History teachers first learning about it themselves, as this history is often omitted from core-curriculum U.S. History classes in college.)
  1. Teach students a “perspectives consciousness” approach to discussing racism and other controversial issues (see details in the description of the Conceptually Speaking podcast above)and erect “safety guardrails” on classroom discussions by distinguishing between empirical vs. policy questions about race.
3. Blind Men and the Elephant Lesson
  • This is the Blind Men and The Elephant lesson I described in both the Conceptually Speaking and Unboxed podcast interviews. I simulated the allegorical parable of The Blind Men and the Elephant in the classroom to remind students that their perspective and lived experience may be very distinct than those of people from other identity groups–particularly as the United States is so racially, income, and ideologically segregated. At the completion of the simulation, we read the parable, and analyzed some maps of racial, income, and partisan segregation in the country. 
  • The elephant represents the United States, and the blind men represent different racial and economic groups who live such segregated lives that we can only see our part of the elephant. When discussing social, racial, political and economic issues, we must keep in mind that our perspectives and ideological positions are often based solely on our personal experiences within our geographically segregated community. Thus our personal experiences and perspectives make up only one part of the whole picture/puzzle, and cannot be universalized. Like the blind men in the parable, we can construct a more complete understanding of complex issues when we seek to understand the perspectives of all the stakeholder groups affected by the issue. 
  • I taught this lesson in the very first week of class, and attached a poster sized copy of this image on the classroom wall. Students referred to this concept in class discussions throughout the year, reminding each other to consider the perspectives of others. Several alumni have reported that the “the elephant” approach continues to guide them in discussions.
4. Maps of Racial and Economic Segregation
  • This is a Google Slide document containing MAPS of Racial & Economic Segregation for various metro areas in the United States. I provide additional information and links to sources in the “Notes” section under each slide.
  • Please only cite the original author and article; no need to cite my document–I’m just presenting the info in a more convenient fashion.
5. Educator Strategies for Addressing Racism and Current Issues: Addressing Empirical Questions with Evidence-Based Inquiries, and Addressing Policy Questions with a ‘Perspectives Consciousness’ Class Culture (PDF of NCSS Webinar)
6. Racial Disparities and Discrimination in the U.S. Today: A Look at the Data

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