Moving Up Calling In


Speaking Up Without Tearing Down by Loretta J. Ross
Teaching Tolerance, Issue 61, Spring 2019, March 1, 2019

How do teachers respond to biased statements in the classroom in a way that can generate constructive conversation? The answer, claims Loretta J. Ross, is clear: call students in without calling them out. Though this message seems abstract at first, Ross prescribes practical ways to create a "calling-in" culture. First, we must avoid reactions that result in shaming, which does little to ameliorate (and in fact, only exacerbates) atmospheric tension and serves to alienate the offender. To prepare to make the right move, we should self-assess by practicing sentence starters that promote calling-in conversations. Second, we need to let students practice calling in with exercises that teach them how to distinguish between intentional prejudice and acts by those who are willing to learn. Third, a frank discussion with students about their understanding of call-out culture helps them better understand how to call in. Ross ends the article by exhorting teachers to look for curricular spaces for calling in white students. She believes that creating a calling-in culture before situations escalate prevents the kind of explosions that derail productive learning.

Submitted By: Michael Berglund, Holland Hall School, Tulsa, OK

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