- Prime the activity by asking:
- Do you ever wonder what might happen if moments of biases and prejudices were faced and fairly addressed with moral courage—even when it’s painful? Today we are going to reflect on when and how we might speak up on behalf of ourselves or others so that we can build a courageous space where we can learn together. For example, when you hear someone say to another person, “go back to where you came from,” do you picture yourself intervening? If so, how? How do you find the courage?
- To begin, please take a few moments to respond to a series of prompts. This will help raise our awareness of what it means to speak up and may provide some insights into the thoughts and emotions we have about speaking up against prejudice.
- Present students with the Courage to Speak Up Heuristic to complete.
- After students have completed the task, reflect on this tool with your students. First, instruct students to turn and talk with a partner near them..
- What emotions came up for you as you completed the heuristic?
- What risks do you anticipate in speaking up on behalf of yourself?
- How might you find the courage to speak up on behalf of yourself?
Next, invite pairs to join together for a small group conversation.
- What do you find challenging about speaking up on behalf of others?
- How might you find the courage to speak up on behalf of someone?
Finally, engage the whole class by asking the following questions:
- What values come into play as you are deciding whether to risk courageously “speaking up”? How do those values guide you?
- What insights did you gain from reflecting on the heuristic?
Alexakos, K., Pride, L. D., Amat, A., Tsetsakos, P., Lee, K. J., Paylor-Smith, C., Zapata, C., Wright, S., & Smith, T. (2016). Mindfulness and discussing “thorny” issues in the classroom. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 11. 741–769. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11422-015-9718-0
Optional Extension Activity
What’s Going On in This Graph?
(This activity is inspired by the New York Times’ The Learning Network resource)
- Consider using Google Forms as a tool to collect students’ responses to the prompts in the Speak Up Heuristic.
- Generate five graphs representing the aggregated responses to each prompt.
- Select and display one of the graphs modeling how to interpret the data. Use the following questions:
- What do you notice?
- What do you wonder?
- Invite small groups of students to select and interpret one of the remaining graphs by answering the two guiding questions above.