Not Light, but Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom

Not Light, but Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom

by Matthew R. Kay

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Do you feel prepared to initiate and facilitate meaningful, productive dialogues about race in your classroom? Are you looking for practical strategies to engage with your students?

Inspired by Frederick Douglass's abolitionist call to action, “it is not light that is needed, but fire” Matthew Kay has spent his career learning how to lead students through the most difficult race conversations. Kay not only makes the case that high school classrooms are one of the best places to have those conversations, but he also offers a method for getting them right, providing candid guidance on:

  • How to recognize the difference between meaningful and inconsequential race conversations.
  • How to build conversational “safe spaces,” not merely declare them.
  • How to infuse race conversations with urgency and purpose.
  • How to thrive in the face of unexpected challenges.
  • How administrators might equip teachers to thoughtfully engage in these conversations.

With the right blend of reflection and humility, Kay asserts, teachers can make school one of the best venues for young people to discuss race.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625310989
Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
Publication date: 07/17/2018
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 278
Sales rank: 46,706
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 11 - 17 Years

About the Author

Matthew R. Kay is a proud product of Philadelphia’s public schools and a founding teacher at Science Leadership Academy (SLA). He is a graduate of West Chester University and holds a Masters in Educational Leadership with a Principals’ Certificate from California University of Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction-Not Light, but Fire: The Case for Meaningful Conversations 1

Part 1 The Ecosystem

Chapter 1 Demystifying the "Safe Space" 14

Chapter 2 Developing Your "Talking Game" 39

Chapter 3 Structuring Your Dialogic Curriculum 62

Chapter 4 Establishing Your Purpose 113

Part 2 A Study of Conversations

Chapter 5 The N-Word: Facing It Head-On 146

Chapter 6 "Say It Right": Unpacking the Cultural Significance of Names 170

Chapter 7 Playing the Other: Thoughtfully Tackling Cultural Appropriation 200

Chapter 8 Pop-Up Conversations: Lessons from the 2016 Presidential Election 241

Epilogue 260

References 271

Index 275

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