As an Educator, You Need To Educate Yourself About Race First | Resource and Reading List

A statement from our founder

In the current situation, I have been keen to speak up and share my support, and Silly Fish Learning’s support, for the Black Lives Matter movement. As a White, British woman, I have long debated what to say. I don’t have to live in the same fear or have to deal with the same injustices as African Americans, and many BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) people across the globe. So why does my opinion really matter?

To be silent is to be complicit, and when seventhy-nine percent of educators are White in the U.S, while 52 percent of students identify as Black, Latinx, Asian/Pacific Islander, or Native American, it is simply not enough to leave the responsibility of educating our students in anti-racism and racial history to our Black colleagues.

“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist.” – Angela Davis

I knew I had to say something, but worried because my opinion is not the opinion you need to hear. I became paralysed by my own white-guilt and failed to respond.

Recently I contacted a Black friend of mine to see if he would be interested in posting some advice for teachers, before back-tracking in the realisation that this is not a time to ask anything of my Black friends or contributors. I should not be asking them to do the work for me. Along with all White people, I need to educate myself.

In my search to learn more, I came across many eye-opening articles and invaluable resources for educators to use, not only in response to the death of George Floyd, but in the ongoing war against structural racism.

Thought provoking articles

Teaching and Learning about Race and Racism with Young Children and Their Families – Guidance from the National Association for the Education of Young Children

Q&A: How To Talk To Kids About Black Lives And Police Violence – an interview with Jesse Hagopian by NPR.

Education Week‘s four part series in response to the death of George Floyd:

Why Black Lives Matter in Education and Beyond – an article by Naila Missous.

How to talk to kids about race and racism – an article by today.com

Race Talk: Engaging Young People in Conversations about Race and Racism a guide by the ADL.

White Anti-Racism: Living the Legacy – a Q&A by Teaching Tolerance.

Further reading for teachers

Teaching for Black Lives – A handbook and resources for teachers to fight racial oppression.

Educating for Anti-racism – Guide by the General Teaching Council of Scotland.

Being a Good Teacher of Black Students? White Teachers and Unintentional Racism – A book by Nora E. Hyland

Websites for teachers

Teaching For Change

Teaching Tolerance

Raising Race Conscious Children

Culturally Responsive Leadership

Useful resources for teaching about race

The Talking About Race Portal from the National Museum of African American History & Culture.

Resources from Black Lives Matter at School including the 2020 curriculum guide.

Responding to Racism activity form the Council of Europe.

The 1619 Project Curriculum, reframing U.S. History by the Pulitzer Center.

Our own, Bill of Rights worksheet, aiming to open conversations about race with your students.

Places to get children’s books

31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, Racism and Resistance – A reading list by Medium.

Lee and Low Books – Multi-cultural children’s books

Social Justice Books – For children and educators

Pat Nicholson – A children’s writer, and friend of Silly Fish, writing books about race in English and French.

Donate to the cause

For information on causes you can donate to in the US and UK, see the list on Medium here.

Closing thoughts

Silly Fish Learning will always be a space for teachers to share their thoughts and advice, and we hope we can amplify the voices of black educators everywhere.

Please share these resources with your colleagues and comment below if you have more to add to the list.

Rebecca is the founder and chief executive officer of Silly Fish Learning Ltd. She is a children's playwright with a vast and varied career in education, primarily teaching drama and English.

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