Sunday, June 7, 2020

Using the PYP’s 7 Key Concepts to Talk about Race, Injustice and Change

NOTE: PYP Coordinator Melissa Powers and I collaboratively authored this post. In addition to being a PYP Coordinator in Arizona, United States, Melissa is a part of the IB Educator Network (IBEN), leading PYP workshops and participating in site visits. She and I first went through our initial IBEN training together. I am grateful for her partnership, her thoughtful perspective and her voice.

The International Baccalaureate’s (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) posits that “The Learning Community” is inclusive of everyone involved in the life of the school. Together, this community’s goal is to, “live peacefully together, prioritize people and their relationships, and assume shared responsibility for learning, health and well-being,” (A Community of Learners from PYP: From Principles into Practice > The Learning Community).

With the recent murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the hands of police officers, there is a sense of urgency from principled and caring elementary-school teachers to speak with their learning communities — their students — about issues of safety, race, justice, change and action.


As we engage with our immediate learning community, it is important to have a clear objective and structure. Successful teachers use thinking routines and discussion protocols so that conversations that center around seemingly controversial topics do not stray off course. As PYP teachers, we are empowered to take risks and should not be afraid to facilitate these discussions in our classrooms. 


Those who work in PYP schools can leverage the components of the PYP’s international framework to help structure spaces and opportunities for meaningful processing and reflective conversation. The PYP’s key concepts are seven powerful, broad and abstract organizing ideas that can frame conversations and drive learning. When PYP teachers identify topics and investigate them through the key concepts, students learn to be inquirers and think critically about big ideas. It is essential to explicitly teach critical thinking skills so that students learn how to think for themselves and not blindly emote. 


When teachers view the key concepts as a set of open-ended questions, they can more easily direct purposeful and manageable conversations (Concepts from PYP: From Principles into Practice > Learning and Teaching). Below, we have brainstormed key concept questions with the intention of provoking PYP teachers to think about how they will provide safe spaces and opportunities for their students to critically engage in meaningful conversations that lead to authentic and mindful action.

We sorted the questions by primary and intermediate, as the conversations that will take place in these two different settings will inevitably require different approaches, however we encourage teachers to use the questions that best fit the needs of their contexts; you know your students the best!

Think of the questions below as a start. We call to you, dear reader, to contribute questions that you'd want to ask your students. As you put forth ideas, we’ll update the collection below.


Form
  • Primary
    • What is racism?
    • What is antiracism?
    • What is a protest?
  • Intermediate
    • What is racial injustice?
    • What is systemic racism?
    • What does it mean to be an antiracist?
    • What is a protest?
    • What is implicit bias?
    • What is prejudice?
    • What is privilege?
Function
  • Primary
    • If someone does something wrong, how can they make it right?
  • Intermediate
    • How important is the study of racial injustice?
Causation
  • Primary
    • Why do people protest?
  • Intermediate
    • What effect do dehumanizing and devaluing black and brown people have?
Change
  • Primary
    • How can something unfair change into something fair?
  • Intermediate
    • What can young people do to promote change?
    • How can you challenge any implicit biases you might have to make a change in your own beliefs and actions?
Connection
  • Primary
    • How are different people groups connected to each other?
    • What sets us apart and makes us unique?
  • Intermediate
    • How is the US’s history of slavery and Jim Crow connected to current events?
    • How are the seemingly separate incidents of violence against black and brown people connected?
    • Are racism and prejudice the same thing? How are they different?
Perspective
  • Primary
    • What are the ways we can appreciate and celebrate others who don’t look like you / are different from you?
  • Intermediate
    • Why do we say “Black Lives Matter” and not “All Lives Matter”?
    • What biases do you have about racial groups different from yours?
Responsibility
  • Primary
    • How can you show other people you care?
    • How can you stand up for other people when wrong is being done to them?
  • Intermediate
    • What action can you take to fight racial injustice? Use the PYP’s 5 types of action to help frame your thinking: social justice, advocacy, social entrepreneurship, participation, lifestyle choices.
    • How can you be a responsible inquirer and critical thinker? Why is it important?
    • How can you show other people you care?
    • How will you learn about racial groups that are different from yours?
    • How can people examine their own privilege and use it to help?
For more information about facilitating challenging or difficult conversations, check out this resource from Common Sense Education: A best-of-the-best collection of resources for social justice- and equity-focused educators.

13 comments:

  1. Thank you for this awesome resource!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is so exciting! Thank you so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a meaningful sharing! Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for sharing! This is a great resource!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is lovely...Thank you for sharing this with us!

    ReplyDelete
  6. very insightful! thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love everything about it! Thank you for creating and sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. There are a multiple assignment assistance services available for you. Get Assignment Help Liverpool from livewebtutors.com. They offer excellent academic assistance and offer guidance with a number of assignments and subjects, as taught across universities. You can go through varied samples as displayed online. Browse online now to know more about the services and low prices.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for sharing such a great content. Found some related articles Here. Thank you

    ReplyDelete