The IIRP Graduate School recently partnered with Microsoft Educator Center to create a free professional development resource for educators seeking to do effective anti-racism work in the classroom.
A series of courses for individualized, self-directed learning, the modules can also be worked through by an independent team of educators within a professional learning community.
The Anti-racism journey for educators with students includes a kit of resources grounded in social and emotional learning (SEL) and curated by experts in the fields of equity and inclusion, restorative practices and education technology.
The course empowers educators to build the knowledge and capability needed to support equity and anti-racism work with students. It can be a first step toward establishing an inclusive, caring classroom where students and teachers feel safe having authentic conversations on social justice topics.
Additionally, the courses are designed as a transformative adult learning experience for colleagues to engage in together. The course provides guidance on how to go through the modules with colleagues in your school or online.
“We could have built this solely as an individual learning experience, as Microsoft Educator Center has done so well in the past,” comments IIRP Executive Director of Collective Impact Keith Hickman. “However, the designers believed it was very critical to provide the opportunity for group learning and accountability.”
“The course uses a restorative framework to help structure the adult learning experience,” continues Keith. “When relationships are built between adult learners, they can hold each other accountable for what it means to do anti-racism education.”
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Once educators complete the first four courses on the topics of Identity, Bias, Privilege and Fragility, they gain access to a fifth module of resources to use with students.
Keith emphasizes the importance of the symbiotic relationship between Social Emotional Learning and restorative practices:
“The basic competencies developed by SEL – self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills and responsible decision-making – are all supported by being in a restorative environment.
“Furthermore, the restorative ethos honors each voice and provides a container for challenging and relevant conversations to happen with students, teachers, administrators, families and the surrounding community.”
The group at Microsoft was supported by a team of Innovative Educator Experts. In addition to Keith, the designers included Megan Fuciarelli, Laura Lara-Brady and Ken Shelton.
“The more we normalize discussions about racism, and the more voices and narratives we bring into the classroom, the better,” comments Ken.
Megan concludes, “In partnership with some really great people at Microsoft, we were able to provide tactical solutions so that people who wanted to do the work but didn’t know where to start were able to go through this journey to make that happen.”
Visit Microsoft Educator Center to begin the Anti-racism journey for educators with students.