Managing the Conversation Effectively

Managing the Conversation Effectively


In order to manage this lesson effectively, here are some helpful methods.

Substantiate opinion by referring back to the research and content
When you introduce the concepts, give specific examples and refer back to the information in the website and resources to provide factual information.

When a student says something controversial or offensive in the discussion, frame it as an appropriate response: “That’s an interesting way to look at this, but let’s look at some specific examples from the research that contradicts that idea.”

Use a Set of Active Listening Rules
To become more familiar with this effective protocol, especially when dealing with issues of race and ethnicity, please go to Empathic Listening (http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/empathic_listening/) before you begin classroom discussion to help students learn how to be good listeners, a skill that needs to be directly, rather than implicitly, taught. Model these skills yourself so the students understand.

Use Warm/Cool Feedback
Teach students to comment on their peers by saying, “That’s an interesting point of view or project. Why did you choose that?” instead of saying, “That’s bad” or “I didn’t like that.” For positive, warm feedback say, “I really liked the way that you created this paper, PowerPoint, etc., in particular the choice of visuals, information, and so on” when analyzing student work rather than saying, “That’s good.” This is more specific and constructive. Again, model these skills yourself.

Students as Science Practitioners
Conduct authentic scientific inquiry: collect data, analyze data, and reach conclusions based on data and research, rather than just opinion.

Reflective Online Journals
You could create password-protected online journals for each student. Students could keep reflective journals throughout the lesson to record their thoughts, feelings, research questions, methods, findings, and reflections. This will help them diffuse their feelings as classroom discussions ensue.

Use Specific Protocols for the Journals: Here is a suggested one- CWC
1. Cool Down from upset feelings or angry thoughts
2. Write Up these reactions in your journal
3. Choose to Share with the class and teacher

Go to Guidelines for Challenging Racism and Other Forms of Oppression

Accommodations for Teaching All Learners
Since this is a complex subject, you may need to simplify some of the content for students with
learning disabilities. Visually, you may need to adjust the browser on the student’s computer
screen for font-size, background, and amount of text and type of cursor on the screen for those
with visual impairments, dyslexia, ADD, and learning disabilities. When grouping for the PPT
presentations, be aware of matching students who complement each other, and focus on their
abilities to contribute. For some students with disabilities, you may need to have a “buddy” or you
may have to read some of the text on the computer screen, or use a text-to-speech reader with
headphones. For writing and reading assignments, modify the amount of text and writing that
students with disabilities may be able to do. Use reading-level materials that are appropriate for
specific students with special needs. Supplement with multimodal materials, such as artwork, and
visuals to enhance learning.

This teacher sheet is a part of the The Illusion of Race lesson.

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