In her book, Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain, Zaretta Hammond tells the story of a teacher who asks a young, African-American student to take a seat. Instead, the student continues to sharpen his pencil. The teacher proceeds to send the student to the office for disobeying her. She goes on to reveal that the act of phrasing a command as a question is a trait specific to the white, middle class. I had no idea. I do this all the time! *Looking in mirror* Oh yeah, that makes sense. She also developed a protocol for checking unconscious bias, changing the narrative, and reconsider one's interpretation.
In order to continue to change the narrative and consider potentially biased interpretations, especially those that are unconscious, we can continue to challenge ourselves and our students to consider other perspectives.
This Guide to Visual Thinking from Manuel Herrera (@manuelherrera33) and Sadie Lewis (@sadieclorinda) has an amazing template for empathy mapping (page 12). Students (or teachers) can use the template to draw, sketch, write, whatever from perspectives of other individuals, practice using book characters, or think about a certain job or role. These are a great way to enter into a space where we have a framework or way to practice thinking about how others are thinking or seeing.
Cornelius Minor, in his book We Got This, shares another template for Listening to Kids and one for Thinking About Kids that help teachers think, look, and listen differently than they might otherwise do on a regular basis. The templates help identify specific interests, issues, and characteristics that will benefit your learners.
Be sure to check out my suggestions for expanding your view of other cultures from my last blog post, Supporting Culturally Relevant Examples in the Classroom.