Avoiding the Winner Mentality

Submitted By:
Natasha Chadha, Avenues: The World School, New York City

After attending inspiring professional development workshops on issues of race and diversity and reading texts rooted in related theory, educators are often left with these wonders: how can we implement this work in the classroom? How do we help our students understand while simultaneously making every student feel validated? How do we help our students become future change makers? In Larry Ferlazzo’s article, "What Are You Doing to Help Students Understand Systemic Racism and Combat It?," Zach Podhorzer and Alison Rheingold's section on "Critical Engagement" underscores the importance of the how. Specifically, Podhorzer and Rheingold discuss the need to teach students how to dialogue instead of debate, as dialogue leads to understanding different perspectives while debate encourages a clear winner. Understanding the power of dialogue and practicing healthy ways to engage in that dialogue is crucial. These experiences, in addition to avoiding the "winner" mentality, will help equip students with the skills they need to recognize and confront systematic racism. There is no one view that we should take at face value. Instead, we need to teach students to discuss in dialogue and learn from one another.

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