Building Perspective Through Meaningful Discussion

>>Jon: Today, we prepped some kind of
more personally reflective questions.>>Arria: Because our school is willing
to engage in courageous conversations, we are willing to honor the voice
of the students in front of us.>>Jon: Do you think you’ve been
taught a role based on your sex?>>Student: How do these lenses
affect how you view yourself?>>Jon: We’re trying to share authentic
experiences around these questions.>>Arria: When students are
adding to the conversation, they’re feeling validated
that their voice matters.>>Student: I can see the
effects of social media.>>Teacher: I can discuss whether or not
Confederate monuments should be removed by listening to my peers
and using evidence.>>Arria: At the Springfield Renaissance
School, we build in intentional time for us to have an open dialogue
with students about events that may not exist in the textbook. There are events happening outside
of our building that trickle into our building, and
we can’t ignore it. Adults have to be able to have those
courageous conversations and that means that you have to be in a place where you
understand how to navigate through that.>>Student: I want to disagree with a
lot of you saying that they’re bad.>>Arria: I came in very nervous to
engage in conversations about race and equity and so, I think
acknowledging that that’s okay, it is okay to be uncomfortable when
you’re having a courageous conversation, because that’s part of
the growth and learning.>>Jon: I always think about the big
picture and I’m, like, so what can I do in my life to try and make
the world more equitable? We use discussion as an evaluation of students’ understanding
of specific content. So in this case, the daily learning
target was I can discuss the motivations behind the women’s movement and
consider connections to my own life.>>Brian: To prepare for the
conversation, we had a document written in the nineteen-hundreds called The
Feminine Mystique about desire for women to do something more than just
be a homemaker or housewife.>>Jon: In order to have a good
discussion, you need to have students who are willing to get beyond just
sort of the surface level of things.>>Student: If my grandpa says my cup’s
empty, she has to go and fill it.>>Jon: Getting them to
talk about their families, their own biases, their own experiences. It can be hard enough to get a
teenager to engage in a conversation. You’re adding a huge roadblock if you’re
not giving them some very structured time ahead to really plan out
what they’re going to say.>>Student: But you could tell there are
a lot of things that she wanted to do that she couldn’t because
she had to take care of us–>>Brian: Mr. Galanis is one
of those teachers that likes to connect everything
back to current events. So by looking at how the
feminist movement started in the nineteen-hundreds and eighteen
hundreds, we’re connecting that back to how the feminist movements
have changed from then to now.>>Adia: He makes it known that
you are close to this history. You still have to interact
with this daily based on the structures that
we see in our nation. He makes us– want us to be
aware of ourselves and each other and I think he creates a culture where
we don’t have the option to opt out.>>Jon: So last night, I put my
daughter to bed, I came down and sat on the couch, and I was sitting
there, and I was thinking and I was, like, all right. I’m going to do the work
just like the students do. So I started talking to my wife.>>The questions, they were personal,
so it gave me an in to be able to share some things about my own life.>>So there’s kind of some built-in
inequity in my home in terms of career.>>Especially being a male
teacher teaching this content, being a white teacher in a school
that’s predominantly students of color, any time that I can bring
my own humanity into it, I feel like is important
for modeling for them.>>Maybe I need to be a little
bit more small-scale, microcosm, and think about my own life and think
about how these things play out there.>>Adia: Mr. Galanis, he’s trying
to change other people’s lives by examining his very thoroughly and
so, I feel like those are just things that he demonstrates in his classroom.>>Jon: So that’s something
that I hope to get better at.>>Brian: I was listening very
closely to everyone’s point of views.>>Student: Women began to own
their sexuality, it was something that they had that men couldn’t have.>>Brian: Hearing other people’s
stories really opens an eye to see what it’s like for other people.>>Student: Women have been more
sexualized openly, I think, today.>>Student: I disagree with that
because I think that’s going back to putting girls into their
gender roles and I think–>>Jon: Especially in education, as a
teacher, we have these insecurities about either talking about certain
issues, being worried, like, well, if I say this, then how are
the kids going to react? How are the parents going to react? How is the principal going to react? So when you’re letting yourself have
conversations with your students that are hard, or conversations
that people don’t typically have, I feel like that brings a real shift to
the kids, a real shift in consciousness.>>Student: It makes me feel so
grateful for our generation, to be able to move past that and
understand that there are people that are completely different.

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