In order to question deficit perspectives held by schools of students of color, teachers must first understand their roots. Deficit perspectives stem from white dominant education systems, which privilege the knowledge, language practices, and cultures of mainstream people. Therefore, the knowledge, languages, and cultures of people of color are seen as less than. Simply knowing this is often enough to help us question deficits, but doing so on an ongoing basis is challenging.
Deficit perspectives devalue the knowledge, languages, and cultures of non-mainstream students. Teachers should take deficit perspectives on and disrupt the notion that mainstream centrism is normal. Keep reading to learn why and how to dismantle deficit perspectives!
After white educators begin to educate themselves about the history of racism and embark on their journeys toward anti-racism it is not only appropriate, but necessary to teach students about anti-racism. In the literacy classroom, this looks like incorporating stories about the histories of racism and helping students look in the mirror at ways that race presents in their lives.
As an educator, you have likely embarked on a journey toward anti-racism. Once you’ve educated yourself on the history of racism, it’s time to help your students discover how race enacts in their lives. Not sure how? Keep reading to find out!
Raise Your Racial Consciousness
White teachers can combat race-based traumas in schools by raising their racial consciousness. Start by recognizing the privilege attached to your race. Notice how it impacts your pedagogical and behavior management decisions. Read about the history of racism and start talking about race. Then, bring those conversations into your classroom.
As a teacher, you are in the perfect position to either perpetuate or disrupt race-based traumas in schools. This starts with your own anti-racist work and can translate into anti-racist instruction for your students. Keep reading to learn how an increased racial awareness can help disrupt race-based traumas in schools.
My name is Erin E. Silcox. I'm working on my Ph.D. in Literacy Education, focusing on the intersection of trauma and literacy. I want to deepen our base of knowledge about trauma-informed practices in schools and help teachers apply findings right now.