Evidence That It Works
In a pilot study, 44 predominantly white, American pre-service teachers engaged in critical reflection on texts, lectures, and workshops while examining their own histories on topics like family, schooling, ethnicity, and racial identity formation. After participating in this study, eighty percent of participants developed an anti-racist teacher identity (e.g., actively working to undo racism), and most teachers also showed significant changes in “their perceptions of what it means to be a teacher in a culturally diverse society.”
Why Does It Matter?
Eighty percent of the teaching workforce in the United States is white. And yet fifty percent of the student population are children of color. The impact of this mismatch can be seen in discipline disparities and lower academic outcomes and behavior evaluations for students of color when compared with white students.
All students deserve an excellent education, but because of societal ills such as racism, prejudice, and inequality, not all students have access to a quality education. However, teachers can help to undo these inequities, beginning with the relationships they form with their students. But they must be willing to look within.
Helping teachers—especially those from the dominant culture—to become aware of and understand how their own racial identity and implicit biases affect the quality of education their students receive is a crucial part of building a just and equitable society.