Anti-Racism Resources for Educators

By: Jim Reese
06/18/2020

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis and the ensuing peaceful protests that have taken place around the country and world, educators have a special role to play in responding to these events. As we all know, young people in our charge pay attention to our words and actions. While some of us might already have finished the academic year, with the rest of us finishing soon, now is a good time to consider our commitment to anti-bias practices, our curricular choices and pedagogical tools, as well as our approaches to developing critical thinking in our students.

At the PD Collaborative, encouraging civic agency in young people is at the heart of much of our work. That work feels more urgent than ever before. Below, please find a list of linked resources that come from colleagues’ suggestions and platforms where they were publicly shared, as well as descriptions of some of the initiatives from PDC that we feel support anti-racism education.

We want to highlight three ongoing initiatives at the PD Collaborative that we hope to expand in the coming months and years. While strong social justice and civic engagement components lie at the heart of each, it is important to note that anti-racism theory and practice have been woven into participating educators’ work with students through their own creativity and commitment. 

If you are interested in weaving any of this work into your own setting, be sure to click on the embedded links in order to learn more.

Children Are Citizens (CAC): Inspired by the world-renowned municipal preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy, CAC develops civic agency in young learners across DC through a two-pronged approach: 

  1. Ongoing professional development seminars for early childhood / elementary school teachers focused on a “pedagogy of listening.” They learn to document how children feel about their community as well as how to make it better, and are supported in co-creating a curricular project with their students; and 
  2. The formation of a network through which teachers and students provide feedback on individual class projects, contribute to a book about those projects, and stage an exhibition of learning.

Begun in 2014, CAC has involved over 13 schools across the city. Its impact has reached 1000+ children in 100+ classrooms. Read this article authored by one of the DCPS teacher participants. 

Making Across the Curriculum (MAC): Operating under the premise that making can take place anywhere–one doesn’t need a maker-space or fab lab in order to make–MAC is an inclusive approach to maker-centered learning in the DC area. 

Since 2018, MAC has provided professional development for hundreds of educators in the region. Through a seminar series, the initiative explores the promises and practices of maker-centered learning: making, hacking, taking apart, exploring systems, etc., with a focus on fostering agency in young people to act on their world in positive ways, as well as to challenging systems of oppression.

In 2019, we piloted a related initiative, JusticexDesign (JxD), which brought together 10 experienced *maker* educators to explore their teaching practices through the lenses of systems thinking and social justice.

You can read about how one teacher in the cohort brought her maker-centered approach into the distance learning realm in this blog post.

Museums Go Global (MGG): Building on the deep relationships we have cultivated with museums in the region, MGG was initiated in partnership with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access and funded by the Longview Foundation. It aims to assist teachers pair digital museum resources with Project Zero Thinking Routines in their effort to teach for global competence. Many of the collections teachers have created in the project in the past year contain strong social justice, anti-racism and student action components, and could easily be adapted to a variety of classroom settings. You can find them here.