Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Looking to embed social comprehension in your classroom? Book Rec: Being the Change

By Kim Miklusak

This year and last I have been helping to facilitate formal and informal conversations between teachers, with students--and LED by students--about how we can work to embed social comprehension in our classrooms.  That wasn't what we called it at the time, but we discussed how in the classroom teachers and students can...
  • honor people's identities
  • respect and/or discuss differences of belief and experiences
  • have difficult conversations in the classroom
  • build community in the classroom and broader school
I just finished reading Being the Change by Sara K. Ahmed, and I wish I had had this resource earlier!  I highly recommend it for anyone looking to embed socio-emotional/affective processing in their classroom in addition to doing any identity and community mindset and practices.

Each chapter covers topics such as "Placing Ourselves in the World," "Listening with Love," "Seeing Our Bias," and "Moving Beyond Our Initial Thinking" among others.  Ahmed sets the context for the book in the preface and at the start of each chapter.  She discusses her own personal experiences but then also makes connections to the broader world and current events.

Inside each chapter she provides clear steps--including a script if one were interested in it!  She provides a list of links and resources to partner texts to help push students' thinking.  Additionally, she provides images of models of work from her class as well as conversations with students and their experiences.

Ideally, each one of these chapters and lessons build on the previous.  However, it is possible to gain insight through individual chapters.  For example, if you've done identity map work in your class before, she speaks in the book (and if you get a chance to see her at a conference!) about how to layer this activity into your lessons all year in order to enhance learning for individuals and the class as a whole instead of having stand-alone activities.

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