Experts say that teachers need continuous anti-black racism training, not workshops and elective courses

This story is part of CBC News’ exploration of systemic racism, including anti-black racism, and the promise of change made last summer.

Although her daughters Savannah and Sahara were in the first few years of elementary school, Cshandrika Bryan of Ajax, Ontario has seen a great deal of how the experience of black people is reflected in the classroom. example.

Bryan recalled that at the 6-year-old Savannah’s previous school, her teacher added black voices to daily lessons and helped guide other teaching staff to interact with black families.

However, in the girls’ current school, “there is no black representative [any work] They took them home,” even during Black History Month, Brian said that he had an 18-month-old toddler.

While Canadian K-12 classes continue to call for solutions to the problem of anti-black racism, attention is turning to the training of educators. Experts call for in-depth and continuous anti-racism learning to be incorporated into teacher candidates and in-service teachers.

In the past few decades, aspiring educators have discussed fairness, tolerance, and diversity in their learning process without having to specifically point out anti-black racism-but this is changing, the Ontario Institute of Education Education Ann E. Lopez, professor of leadership and policy (OISE) at the University of Toronto.

Lopez said that instead of simply being the subject of a one-off seminar and only exploring or “things you can do if you want” in electives, it is important to emphasize anti-black race in broader conversations and discussions. Racism and racism have become everything “local and embedded” educators are learning.

“Racism is systemic. Injustice is systemic. So you can’t use band-aids to change systemic and structural things-that’s what we have been doing,” she said.

Watch | Why elective courses and one-time anti-racism workshops are not enough:

Ann E. Lopez, Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Toronto, explained why elective courses or one-time professional development seminars during normal colleges are not enough to prepare educators to deal with anti-black racism. 1:38

White students still make up the majority of those who learn to become teachers Lopez pointed out that in Canada, some people may lack experience different from their own background. She said that deeper exploration of anti-black racism may cause discomfort because it highlights how current systems and structures allow whites to enjoy privileges.

“In order to create fairness and destroy inequality, the system that already exists and is normalized must be broken. When this happens, it creates tension for some people,” Lopez said.

“Some people kind of accept the superficial idea of ??multiculturalism and think that everything is fine. If you work hard and if you follow the rules, everyone will succeed. But we all know this is not true because we know that exclusion happens in many ways. .”

For example, in OISE’s teaching, Lopez strives to ensure that education leadership students understand racism and anti-black racism, how it is reflected in the education system, how they themselves are implicated, and the ongoing work required to eradicate it.

“It is one: naming; two: understanding how it behaves; three: letting people begin to understand how they are implicated, what they need to learn, and what they need to forget. Fourth: it is so important that all This work is ongoing,” she said.

Lopez said the goal is to allow educators to make room for difficult conversations and be willing to challenge past practices to find new ways of doing things, while committing to continue training, education, and purchasing new materials and resources.

“What we need is people commit to action”

At the University of Regina, Jerome Cranston, Dean of the Faculty of Education,’s approach is to embed ongoing anti-racism teaching into his school’s curriculum, while acknowledging that there is always room for improvement.

For Cranston, this means consciously integrating anti-racism learning into each course—rather than burying it in exploring different initiatives and topics—and then providing independent seminars, professional development and Other opportunities.

“This is a combination of putting it in the curriculum and then having a regular professional development initiative plan [and] Keynote speaker interacting with our students,” he said.

Watch | Why “difficult conversations” and anti-racism learning must continue:

Jerome Cranston, Dean of the School of Education at the University of Regina, stated that in order to address systemic racism, teacher preparation programs need to provide continuous learning, prepare for difficult conversations, and commit to action. 1:23

“If we are to make a difference, we need to go beyond thinking that a 3-hour, 6-hour, and 9-hour seminar can solve the problem. Therefore, in a four-year degree program, it will mean a four-year commitment.”

Cranston expressed his hope that this respectful and thoughtful discourse can bring about changes in Canada’s education system.

“You have to raise awareness of this topic first, and you need to do this in a respectful way, to make people really think about things they might not have seen in the past,” he said.

“Then it needs to take action… what we need is people committed to taking action to make a difference.”

Cranston admitted that the requirements for teachers are high, but educators who are committed to actively combating anti-black racism are very valuable.

“The burden on teachers is heavy. They definitely do. What we ask them to do is take on more work,” he said. “However, there is a good opportunity-if we continue to support them and give them a chance to learn-we will make great progress.”

Brian is holding her youngest child, an 18-month-old calf. She encouraged teachers to interact with black parents and “listen to what the children were saying.” (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

Back in Ajax, Ontario, Cshandrika Bryan said she believes teachers can start making progress even if they take small steps. This means increasing the representation of black people in the school library by providing more books about black people, or choosing black theater troupes when planning performing arts experiences for students.

It also means interacting with black students and their families and really listening to their opinions.

“Just listen to the parents and listen to what the children are actually saying,” she said.

(Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

This project is part of Canadian blacks. More stories about the experience of black Canadians, Check here for black status in Canada.

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