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.