Monday, July 9, 2018

Being the Change - Chapter 3 & 4 {#cyberpd}

As I continued reading Being the Change by Sara K. Ahmed, new learning is taking place for me and I need to listen more carefully.  I teach second grade currently and I want to say microagressions don't happen in our community at this age.  However, as I sit and reflect today I think if I listen with this lens or focus in mind I might pick up on some simple/possible ones younger students will use.  

I'm wrestling a bit with what microagressions will sound like in a primary classroom.    "Microagressions  are comments relating to someone's identity that leave a lasting, negative impression on the receiver of the message."  In her examples on p55 I found two that sounded like primary students; Did you make that?  and I heart your hair.   I have to be honest though some years I don't have students with cultural differences which seem to be an obvious opportunity for microagressions.  I really wonder what other readers are thinking about microagressions in primary grades; grades one, two, and kindergarten.

As I was reading, I wondered if intentional was part of a microagression and on pg 58 it was confirmed that it is.  I think primary students need to study intentional and unintentional.  Younger students can just state what they see based on observations or a honest wondering.  They certainly struggle with the idea of their words lasting and having a negative impression on the receiver.  So, I'm thinking maybe the precursor to the work with microaggressions with primary students is discussing someone else's identity beyond developing their own webs and discussing how our words can linger with someone, hurting their feelings.  I think we can foster the work in this book in grades that follow by creating an awareness of self and then others.

As I ponder my thinking around microaggressions in primary, I found myself excited to introduce the word bias in second grade and lay a foundation for the meaning and explore what it looks like for each of us.  I think with support and guidance we could frame our thinking around I am statements and the examples on p62 seem possible for second grade.  I found myself reframing my reading this week with the phrase, keep it simple.  

I'm also wanting to have a discussion with my students about labels, stereotypes, and assumptions.  I don't know if they have experienced labels yet.  My heart hopes not - they are just seven-ish years old.  

So much great thinking about being better informed about you students and helping them process their own news or the news of the world this week.  I was super excited to read about this because we share any news we have with each other a few days a week in our morning meeting and I'm thinking we need this all five days.  The news we typically share in second grade was validated in our reading this week because it's usually very self centered, as it should be with primary students.  I'm also thinking I need to make sure I'm available to not only greet them at the door each morning but be close as they settle in to over hear any news that might be shared informally in between students.  I'm sometimes caught off guard with public news students might know and instead of shy away from discussing maybe I can collect their thinking and either ponder how we can address it as a class or let parents know.  With little ones, there's a range of news knowledge their parents want them to know.  I can respect that.  However, I thought some of the lesson ideas shared could be modified and used when we use Scholastic News, National Geographic for Kids, and Newsela this year.  

Personally, as I read these two chapters I was hoping and wishing my own teenage daughters would have the opportunity and guidance to think like this with one of their teachers.    



Thank you Cathy and Michelle for organizing #cyberpd.

6 comments :

  1. Comments made by 7&8 year olds don’t feel like micro aggressions to me. They feel like questions asked to satisfy genuine curiosity. However, I think they can become microagressions if not corrected or addressed. And I think they can be perceived as aggressive by another child (or adult) who is starting to notice his/her differences, or isn’t feeling confident about those differences.

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    1. Thanks for sharing the notion of not corrected or addressed, that's a beginning step to gently guide our students.

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  2. I think you could see microagressions in primary more related to gender than race. There's lots of "boys like this" or "you throw like a girl" kinds of things. Kids that age aren't really even realizing what they are saying, but I bet that would be an easier lens for them to understand how people are stereotyped.

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    1. I hadn't thought about gender, thank you for sharing this insight.

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  3. It's interesting to think about in our primary world. I agree I hear these comments in relation to gender and I hear them in respect to who's first, best, fastest, and body images. In my experience students don't notice race differences until they're taught. It's important to remember race and culture aren't the only aggressions made against others.

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  4. I love listening in to your thinking, Mandy. You bring up so many great points and questions as you still try to figure this out and what it will look like in your classroom of 7-ish year old kids. I do believe you are on the right track and starting with some of these conversations will be beneficial for all, including parents. Many things kids say are what a parent or family member would say, of course, not meaning it intentional or hurtful. Just stating what they think is a "fact." There is so much to consider, but starting these conversations now is necessary. Awareness and understanding of what we say or how we say it. I love the idea of sharing more of "our news" and listening in to what's on the students' hearts that day ... Thanks for sharing!

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