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  • So, a few years ago,

  • I was beginning a new unit on race with my fourth-graders.

  • And whenever we start a new unit,

  • I like to begin by having all the students list everything they know about it,

  • and then we also list questions we have.

  • And I had the type of moment that every teacher has nightmares about.

  • One of my students had just asked the question,

  • \"Why are some people racist?\"

  • And another student, let's call her Abby,

  • had just raised her hand and volunteered:

  • \"Maybe some people don't like black people because their skin is the color of poop.\"

  • Yeah, I know.

  • So, as if on cue, my entire class exploded.

  • Half of them immediately started laughing,

  • and the other half started yelling at Abby

  • and shouting things like,

  • \"Oh, my God, you can't say that, that's racist!\"

  • So just take a second to freeze this scene in your mind.

  • There's a class of nine- and ten-year-olds,

  • and half of them are in hysterics

  • because they think Abby has said something wildly funny,

  • and the other half are yelling at her for saying something offensive.

  • And then you have Abby, sitting there completely bewildered

  • because, in her mind, she doesn't understand the weight of what she said

  • and why everybody is reacting this way.

  • And then you have me, the teacher,

  • standing there in the corner, like, about to have a panic attack.

  • So as a classroom teacher,

  • I have to make split-second decisions all the time.

  • And I knew I needed to react, but how?

  • Consider your fight-or-flight instincts.

  • I could fight by raising my voice and reprimanding her for her words.

  • Or flight -- just change the subject

  • and quickly start reaching for another subject,

  • like anything to get my students' minds off the word \"poop.\"

  • However, as we know, the right thing to do is often not the easy thing to do.

  • And as much as I wanted this moment to be over,

  • and that I knew both of these options would help me escape the situation,

  • I knew that this was far too important of a teachable moment to miss.

  • So after standing there for what felt like an eternity,

  • I unfroze and I turned to face my class, and I said,

  • \"Actually, Abby makes a point.\"

  • And my students kind of looked at each other, all confused.

  • And I continued,

  • \"One reason why racism exists

  • is because people with light skin have looked at people with dark skin

  • and said that their skin was ugly.

  • And even use this reason as an excuse to dehumanize them.

  • And the reason why we're learning about race and racism in the first place

  • is to educate ourselves to know better.

  • And to understand why comments like this are hurtful,

  • and to make sure that people with dark skin

  • are always treated with respect and kindness.\"

  • Now, this was a truly terrifying teachable moment.

  • But as we moved forward in the conversation,

  • I noticed that both Abby and the rest of the kids

  • were still willing to engage.

  • And as I watched the conversation really marinate with my students,

  • I began to wonder how many of my students have assumptions just like Abby.

  • And what happens when those assumptions go unnoticed and unaddressed,

  • as they so often do?

  • But first, I think it's important to take a step back

  • and even consider what makes a topic taboo.

  • I don't remember receiving an official list of things

  • you're not supposed to talk about.

  • But I do remember hearing, over and over, growing up:

  • there are two things you do not talk about at family get-togethers.

  • And those two things are religion and politics.

  • And I always thought this was very curious

  • because religion and politics often are such huge influencing factors

  • over so many of our identities and beliefs.

  • But what makes a topic taboo

  • is that feeling of discomfort that arises when these things come up in conversation.

  • But some people are extremely fluent in the language of equity,

  • while other people fear being PC-shamed

  • or that their ignorance will show as soon as they open their mouths.

  • But I believe that the first step towards holding conversations

  • about things like equity

  • is to begin by building a common language.

  • And that actually starts with destigmatizing topics

  • that are typically deemed taboo.

  • Now, conversations around race, for example,

  • have their own specific language

  • and students need to be fluent in this language

  • in order to have these conversations.

  • Now, schools are often the only place

  • where students can feel free and comfortable

  • to ask questions and make mistakes.

  • But, unfortunately, not all students feel that sense of security.

  • Now, I knew that day in front of my fourth-graders

  • that how I chose to respond could actually have life-long implications

  • not only for Abby, but for the rest of the students in my class.

  • If I had brushed her words aside,

  • the rest of the class could actually infer that this type of comment is acceptable.

  • But if I had yelled at Abby

  • and embarrassed her in front of all of her friends,

  • that feeling of shame associated with one of her first conversations on race

  • could actually prevent her from ever engaging on that topic again.

  • Now, teaching kids about equity in schools is not teaching them what to think.

  • It is about giving them the tools and strategies and language

  • and opportunities to practice how to think.

  • For example, think about how we teach kids how to read.

  • We don't start by giving them books.

  • We start by breaking down words into letters and sounds

  • and we encourage them to practice their fluency by reading every single day,

  • with a partner or with their friends.

  • And we give them lots of comprehension questions

  • to make sure that they're understanding what they're reading.

  • And I believe that teaching kids about equity

  • should be approached in the exact same way.

  • I like to start by giving my students a survey every year,

  • about different issues around equity and inclusion.

  • And this is a sample survey from one of my kids,

  • and as you can see, there's some humor in here.

  • For under the question, \"What is race?\"

  • she has written, \"When two or more cars, people and animals

  • run to see who is fastest and who wins.\"

  • However, if you look at her question, \"What is racism?\"

  • it says, \"When somebody says or calls someone dark-skinned a mean name.\"

  • So, she's young, but she's showing that she's beginning to understand.

  • And when we act

  • like our students aren't capable of having these conversations,

  • we actually do them such a disservice.

  • Now, I also know that these types of conversations

  • can seem really, really intimidating with our students,

  • especially with young learners.

  • But I have taught first through fifth grades,

  • and I can tell you, for example,

  • that I'm not going to walk into a first-grade classroom

  • and start talking about things like mass incarceration.

  • But even a six-year-old first-grader can understand the difference

  • between what is fair -- people getting what they need.

  • We identified a lot of these things in class together.

  • And the difference between fair and equal --

  • when everybody gets the same thing,

  • especially goody bags at birthday parties.

  • Now, first-graders can also understand the difference

  • between a punishment and a consequence.

  • And all of these things are foundational concepts

  • that anyone needs to understand

  • before having a conversation

  • about mass incarceration in the United States.

  • Some people might think that kindergarteners or first-graders

  • are too young to have conversations around racism,

  • but also tell you that young kids

  • understand that there are many different components

  • that make up our identities

  • and how people are similar and different,

  • and what it means to have power when other people don't.

  • When we have these conversations with students at a young age,

  • it actually takes away some of that taboo feeling

  • when those topics come up at a later age.

  • I also know that teaching about these things in schools

  • can feel like navigating a minefield.

  • For example, what happens if parents or families

  • aren't on board with having these conversations in schools?

  • But to these people, I can say:

  • these are some examples of things that students have said to me

  • and brought to my attention.

  • For example, I had a student come in and whisper to me,

  • \"I've heard all these people use the term LGBTQ,

  • but I don't know what it means and I'm too embarrassed to admit it.\"

  • I had a student come in over a weekend and come up to me and say,

  • \"You know, I just watched this movie about Australia,

  • and it made me wonder if they have racism there, too.\"

  • And I always want my students to be comfortable having these conversations

  • because when they're comfortable talking about it and asking questions,

  • they also build comfort in bringing in their own lives and experiences

  • in how they relate to these big topics.

  • Also, some teachers might be kind of nervous

  • if a student brings up a topic or asks a question

  • and they don't know the answer to it.

  • But if a student ever brings something to my attention

  • and I don't know the answer,

  • I will always admit it and own it

  • because I'm not going to pretend to be an expert in something

  • that I don't have experience in or I'm not an authority on.

  • That same year, I had a student come in

  • and ask a question about the LGBTQ community.

  • And I just didn't know enough to give them an appropriate answer.

  • So instead, I encouraged that student

  • to reach out and ask that question to a representative of a nonprofit

  • who had come to speak to our class about that very same issue.

  • When we admit to our students that we don't have all the answers,

  • not only does it humanize us to them,

  • it also shows them that adults have a long way to go, too,

  • when it comes to learning about issues of equity.

  • Now, a little while back, I wrote a lesson about consent.

  • And, to some people, this was very exciting

  • because I took this topic that seemed very taboo and scary

  • and I broke it down into a way that was accessible for young learners.

  • However, to other people,

  • the idea of consent is so strongly tied to sex,

  • and sex is often considered a taboo subject,

  • that it made them very uncomfortable.

  • But my students are third-graders,

  • so we're not talking about sex in class.

  • Rather, I wanted them to understand

  • that everybody has different physical boundaries

  • that make them feel comfortable.

  • And the social and emotional intelligence it takes

  • to read somebody's words and tone and body language

  • are skills that often need to be explicitly taught,

  • the same way we teach things like reading and math.

  • And this lesson is not reserved for students of one single demographic.

  • Things like questioning and making observations

  • and critical thinking

  • are things that any student of any race or ethnicity

  • or background or language or income or zip code should be learning in schools.

  • Also, deliberate avoidance of these conversations

  • speaks volumes to our students

  • because kids notice when their teachers, when their textbooks

  • leave out the voices and experiences of people like women or people of color.

  • Silence speaks volumes.

  • I recently asked my class of third-graders

  • what they would say to adults who think they're too young

  • to learn about issues of equity.

  • And while this is a small sample of my 25 students,

  • all of them agreed

  • that not only are they capable of having these conversations,

  • but they view it, the right to learn it, as a right and not as a privilege.

  • And, in their words:

  • \"We're big enough to know about these things

  • because these problems are happening where we live.

  • And we have the right to talk about them

  • because it will be our life in the future.\"

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

So, a few years ago,

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TED】リズ・クラインロック:子供にタブーな話題を教える方法(子供にタブーな話題を教える方法|リズ・クラインロック (【TED】Liz Kleinrock: How to teach kids to talk about taboo topics (How to teach kids to talk about taboo topics | Liz Kleinrock))

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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