Our Own Knowledge Gaps and Biases

Submitted By:
Jessica Williams, International School of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

In her book Social Justice Parenting: How to Raise Compassionate, Anti-Racist, Justice-Minded Kids in an Unjust World, Dr. Traci Baxley urges that it is important to not only care about people but also to "care with action." Baxley, author and educator, emphasizes the need to go further than passively facilitating young people in becoming good people. Instead, she offers guidance for how to stimulate them in becoming proactive participants in social justice work. In addition to unpacking age-appropriate approaches to engaging in dialogue with children, Baxley also allows room for uncertainty. She underscores how important it is for adults to admit and examine their own knowledge gaps and biases. This reminder is important for educators; it is okay – vital even – to articulate that we do not have all the answers, particularly when it comes to complex and systemic issues like racism. While Baxley’s book is situated in parenting, the takeaways are relevant to the same kind of conversations and objective setting happening every day in our classrooms. Educators must model vulnerability and self-reflection as well as what it looks like to show up in alignment with the core social justice values that sit in so many of our school mission statements.

Teaching Practice