Each class has its own culture and learning climate. When you make equity and inclusion prominent priorities in your classroom norms, routines and environment, your students will feel a greater sense of belonging, safety and openness. Balance participation and learning opportunities.

The more you can form authentic relationships and connections with all your students and their families, the more you will understand them—especially those who typically face the most marginalization, such as students of color, LGBTQ students, students from low-income families, English language learners, new immigrants, and students with physical or learning disabilities. New research is beginning to find that teacher empathy can be a key factor in student success and the reduction of punitive disciplinary actions.

New research is beginning to find that teacher empathy can be a key factor in student success and the reduction of punitive disciplinary actions.

Create a supportive culture and hold an affirming space for all of your students, individually and collectively. Use diverse curriculum materials, differentiated instruction methods and give students some choices to accommodate different interests and learning styles. Begin with your own class, but don’t stop there. Consider ways to contribute to the welcoming climate of your school. For example, excess surveillance often unfairly targets and triggers students of color due to prevailing patterns of racial bias, thereby undermining efforts to create a school climate that is inclusive and conducive to learning.

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In This Section:

Intro: Creating the Space to Talk About Race
  1. Create a Welcoming Classroom and School
  2. Root Out Biases and Barriers
  3. Encourage Self-Expression
  4. Be Open Yourself
  5. Engage, Don’t Avoid
  6. Create Opportunities for Discussion
  7. Talk About Racism and Racial Equity
  8. Establish and Enforce Group Norms
  9. Process is as Important as Content
  10. Model Your Values and Vision

Download the Full Resource Guide:

This comprehensive NEA resource guide includes tools & resources for talking about race, conducting racial equity assessments, strategic planning, ideas for capacity building and action, FAQs, and a directory of web pages, documents and allied organizations focused on racial justice in education.
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“Creating the Space to Talk About Race in Your School” content on this web site and in our "Racial Justice in Education" resource guide © 2017 National Education Association, in collaboration with Race Forward.