To me, a great professional development article mixes philosophy with practical "Do this!" examples. That’s why I love this article. Each of the ten ways forced me to think about how my background impacts my students and gave practical advice for how to avoid doing that, such as taking the time to learn names unusual to us and holding off on selecting the year's texts until we better understand our students. There’s powerful stuff here.
I love learning the background of an issue, but there are times when I just want some real, practical ideas to start implementing now. This video offers several of those, including what I think is the most important in helping white teachers in non-white classrooms: building authentic rapport with the students.
As a white teacher who worked three years in an all African-American high school, I really liked the interview at the end of this article. It's good to hear that this isn't just about race but about cultural differences, and the short interview with a student of color talk about a white teacher who reached him was enlightening. Being sincere and admitting you lack understanding is a powerful way to bridge that culture gap.
Even though it’s tough, I appreciate being challenged to look inward and see my own prejudices. This short research paper outlines a specific program for just that. Even if starting such a program is unrealistic, I could implement some of the specific components, like attending events in my school's community, finding a mentor, and having open discussions of privilege and race with non-white educators.
Teaching Tolerance has always produced high-quality resources for educators, and this article does a great job discussing how our race and background can affect our teaching in the classroom. It also goes over how white teachers can be successful with non-white students by changing perspective. For example, if a student calls me racist, instead of defending myself, I should ask the student why he/she feels that way first. Who knows what I'm not seeing in my own behavior?
I love reading research on education, but sometimes I get tired of how some papers pad their word counts with plenty of fluff and sidebars. That’s why I love this one. It explains how student's race and cultural background can impact how we see our students, and how minority students are often judged worse in terms of ability and behavior than white students. But it does so quickly, even when citing the research in question. In other words, this paper does its job well.
Of course, I’ve paid attention to the demographic changes in our country and schools, so I expected the majority-minority flip to happen in my lifetime. But I had no idea how diverse schools had become already. This article does a great job of outlining the situation of race in schools (both with students and educators) and explaining why, with so many white educators and non-white students, the difference between cultures will need to be addressed.