Spend a few minutes at my middle school and you’ll quickly notice students talking over everyone–teachers and each other. Our school has proclaimed to be dedicated to social justice, and I can’t help but wonder how this culture of talking over one another is effective to empower students and help them develop strong voices. My hypothesis is that it is not effective, so what would be?
An obvious move is to have more discussion and debate in our classrooms, to practice talking to one another in a healthy and productive way. But for Baltimore City students who’ve become accustomed to fill in the blank worksheets and questions with a single right answer, jumping straight into a Socratic Seminar is a disaster waiting to happen. There needs to be a bridge between where they are and the ideal space where their voices are valued by everyone.
Towards that end, I…
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