We have completed the first week of the Teacher Planner! Congratulations! If you didn’t notice, this week was primarily about reflecting on your experience, understanding the place at which you are starting this journey, and beginning to understand that this is just the beginning and there is no “finished” point. I have also done the work this week and I have had a few takeaways.
Take the Implicit Bias Test by Project Implicit: ✅
I chose to take the race bias test and I was not entirely surprised by the results. From the test, I found that I have a preference for black over white. In some ways, as a person of color, that didn’t surprise me but then I started to question what that means. Yes, of course, there’s nothing wrong with that result but I wondered about the pendulum swing. I began to wonder if there was a way to land in the middle (if that’s the goal) and what it truly means to get results with a preference for white or black. So, rather than project my own ideas I turned to The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and reviewed their description of characteristics of implicit biases.
And there it was… the word, malleable. It is a word that gives me much hope and comfort because it proves that I am able to grow, change, and evolve. In many ways, the word malleable wasn’t quite good enough. I watched my husband take the test and get a different result. We debated the following questions: was the test valid? is there such a thing as an “accidental click?” What would happen if he took it again? I dove further... is the IAT actually valid and what are the implications? This question prompted me to read, IAT: Fad or fabulous? written by Beth Azar who writes:
“the classic race IAT compares whether you're quicker to link European-Americans with words associated with the concept ‘bad’ and African-Americans with words related to ‘good’ or vice versa. Your score is on a scale of -2.0 to 2.0, with anything above 0.65 or below negative 0.65 indicating a ‘strong’ link.
However, Azar continues to share from the University of Virginia's Brian Nosek, Ph.D., an IAT developer that social psychology measures use arbitrary metrics. So I am stuck. I invite you to do some more research about the test. Here’s one place to start: https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/3/7/14637626/implicit-association-test-racism
Read Beyond A Beads and Feathers Approach: ✅
“Culture is portrayed as homogenous and frozen in time, such as when teachers engage their students in learning about the holidays, food, typical costumes, and art of their own or other cultures” (Amanti, 2005, p. 131). I thought about the celebration I had with my students this year for the Chinese New Year. That “frozen in time” moment which was topical, craft-filled, and featured a few read-alouds that were supposed to show students only a snapshot of the real meaning behind the day. This was also a point in the year at which I finally felt like I could let go of the “other expectations” and just have fun with the kids by doing crafts and taking time to explore something different. I will note, we were able to connect the celebration to our math curriculum by collecting different color coins for our red envelopes and writing addition problems to represent what was inside. But was that really… enough? (I’m going to say no)
As I read further, I began to think about what sort of teaching I would do in the future and how I could incorporate my student’s cultural experiences in my curriculum. Developing relationships with families, even if not in the form of home visits, can dramatically change the way in which learning happens for students. I think we all saw a glimpse of that as we made weekly phone calls and check-ins during the at-home-learning phase last spring. I was able to know more about my students, their families, and the experience they were going through and make decisions from that knowledge and academic data. I’m hoping that I can continue to build and maintain relationships like that with families this coming year so I can tap into the “Funds of Knowledge” and create experiences in the classroom that honors my students’ cultural experiences. It’s just another one of those moments when we realize that this antiracist work does not just benefit our students and families of color but all of our students.
I could continue reflecting on each days’ tasks, but I want to hear more from you! Feel free to share thoughts, answer the questions below, or respond to my wonderings. We’re all here to learn from each other!
Amanti, C. (2005). Beyond a Beads and Feathers Approach. In N. González, L. C. Moll, C. Amanti (Authors), Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms (pp. 131-141). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Azar, B. (2008, July). IAT: Fad or fabulous? Retrieved August 08, 2020, from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2008/07-08/psychometric
About the blog
Facebook became my blog. A space where I shared the resources, experiences, and reflections with those around me. I hope that the same discussions can happen here and I hope you will share your reflections, experiences, and resources as you feel comfortable.