Creating Space for Conversation

Tamara Irving
Creating dialogue around real issues while also providing a safe space for our students can be tough. I think we can all say that the past 12 months have been like nothing else we've experienced in our entire lives.

However, it doesn't mean that we can't talk about it or at least provide a space for our students to discuss or unpack many issues that they may not feel comfortable unpacking at home. What many call ‘teachable moments’ are actually lessons that we experience quite often in our classrooms, even if they do not appear in our actual lesson plans. This is the beauty of teaching. 

As teachers and staff members, we are not alone in the worry, fears, or questions we have about the events we're seeing everyday on our televisions, computers, and phones. Anxiety is real and may show up in our classrooms. Remember when we are able to model vulnerability, we may make it comfortable for our students to create their own moments of vulnerability. Having resources that will help our students, as well as ourselves deal with our social and emotional wellness may help us navigate through these difficult times. Just imagine, if we are able to enable our students now with ways of navigating challenging times, we are only setting them up for success as they grow. 

Here are a few talking tips to help your students engage in a conversation about real issues: 

  1. Do you see people talking about this issue on the news, on social media or among your friends? What impact has that had on you?

  2. What can each of us do as students to stop bias and hate? What can we do as a school or community?

  3. What are some negative things about stereotypes and labels?

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