Learning from Trevon

Back in my classroom in Chicago, I had a student ask me: "What's race?" when reading about the background of a character in a book.

Photo of Emma Scripps
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In my past life, I taught 6th grade ELA in Chicago. One day, we were reading a story and the main character's background identity came up. The story read, "Race: Hispanic". A student of mine raised his hand and asked, "Ms. Scripps - what's race?"  I remember it vividly - it stopped me in my tracks.  I couldn't believe that this student had made it to 6th grade without someone talking to him about what race is, how it's constructed, how it relates to identity, culture, systemic inequality, bias, belonging and so much more. 

I stumbled in my explanation, but it made me realize how much more I wanted to support my students' unique voice, elevate and deepen their perspectives, and help them know the ways in which they're important and powerful. I doubt I did that goal its full justice.

It's an insight for this Collaboration because as I think about what the future of civics might look like in schools - I hope it relates to students' unique identities, perspectives and connects to the local nuances of their communities. 


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