<img height="1" width="1" alt="" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=940171109376247&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Dedicated to Teachers


Keeping the Focus on the Kids

Changeblog5.25.18Adapted from Being the Change by Sara Ahmed

The methods we use to ensure peaceful classrooms often involve avoiding difficult conversations and controversial topics. However, if we want kids to learn to comprehend others' identities and perspectives, those identities and perspectives must be shared. To do this productively while also maintaining a safe environment for our kids, we may need to modify our approach.

Download a sample chapter of Being The Change

 
 
 
Video Thumbnail
Video Thumbnail
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Remembering that the focus is not just about you gives you permissions to take the pressure off yourself. When we try to empathize by constantly relaying our own experience, we can stop others from sharing, and we miss the opportunity to learn wholly about their experiences. We don't fully listen. Picture this situation: news walks into our classroom -perhaps a pet dying, the loss of a family member, or world news. Immediately, we try to think of ways to connect. But when our empathy statements begin with "I," kids may roll their eyes in anticipation: "Oh man, here comes another story about her." Our lives as educators are full of rich and diverse experiences, but we cannot possibly have an understanding of every hand that has been dealt to our students. And if a comment arises in class that offends our personal belief system and we fall into the trap of responding ourselves rather than allowing students' truths to be expressed, we are controlling the ownership of the learning. Keeping this general questioning principle in mind can help: What does this mean for you? Not, what does this mean for me? Your strongest superpower in the classroom is kid watching. Make is about what the kids are doing and saying. That is, listen; does just wait to talk.

•••

Download a sample chapter of Being The Change

Learn more about Being the Change on heinemann.com


AU_Ahmed-Sara_AuthorPhoto_web_Feb2015.jpg

Sara K. Ahmed is currently a literacy coach at NIST International School in Bangkok, Thailand. She has taught in urban, suburban, public, independent, and international schools, where her classrooms were designed to help students consider their own identities and see the humanity in others. Sara is coauthor with Harvey "Smokey" Daniels of Upstanders: How to Engage Middle School Hearts and Minds with Inquiry. She has served on the teacher leadership team for Facing History and Ourselves, an international organization devoted to developing critical thinking and empathy for others. You can find her on Twitter @SaraKAhmed.

Posted by: Steph GeorgePublished:

Topics: Video, Empathy, Sara Ahmed, Sara K. Ahmed, Being the Change

Comment on this post:

Related Posts

Taking Ownership of Our Teaching

Taking ownership of our teaching and children’s learning changes everything. We own it when things go wel...
Steph George Sep 20, 2018 7:40:00 AM

The Goals of Conferring in Mathematics

You may be familiar with the idea of conferring in reading and writing instruction (c.f., Anderson 2000; ...
Steph George Sep 18, 2018 10:18:04 AM

Reader and Text Variables That Impact Comprehension

Educators have relied on levels as a valuable tool to help them match students to texts they can read ind...
Steph George Sep 14, 2018 8:43:00 AM

Building Pathways to Proficiency in Reading

Adapted from Tom Newkirk's foreword to Reading with Presence
Steph George Sep 11, 2018 11:06:06 AM