Social Justice, Anti-Racist, Decolonization
Five words with power. Five words that confuse. Five words that need to be talked about right now.
Most of us are hearing words and having conversations about needing to do the hard work, but what does that mean? Reading books like Waking Up White, How to Be an Anti-Racist, White Awake, Blind Spot, and the plethora of books on the subjects of helping all of us to understand the struggle, biases, and injustices is only a START. Acknowledging white privilege, acknowledging bias, helping our littles to see color and to call out injustice is also a part.
Here is my latest read- I will need to go back and re-read. SO good.
Having hard conversations with friends, family, and yes, students also needs to happen. Yes, even in the music room.
Problematic Song Material
If you haven't been here before, or you have forgotten about some other posts on the subject - this post is about being sensitive (and inclusive, not exclusive or hurtful) with our song material. Songs are listed in alphabetical order and source information is included as is a short synopsis of why the material is problematic.
Why I No Longer Use Seuss in the Music Classroom
This post delves into the research study conducted in 2019 that researches the CONTENT of Dr. Seuss books and the stereotypes, anti-Semitic, disproportionally male characters, and other content issue within Dr. Seuss books.
Diverse and Inclusive Children's Literature
A few years ago I started taking a hard look at my curriculum, songs, and children's literature and went through ALL my song books and started making X's through songs and adding a note as to why a song was problematic. For future music teachers, I wanted there to be an immediate understanding (if they were not already aware) of why a particular song should not be used. I also wanted the reminder for myself. I also threw away books - yes, really. It was hard to do that, but I will never use, nor do I want anyone else to use those books that mock, harm, and perpetuate stereotypes. That is what is meant by disrupting the system. That is part of being ant-racist. The songs, stories, and books we use should be mirrors that reflect our students, windows into another's story or culture or way of being and doing, sliding glass doors to let students walk (or sing/dance/play) into another culture or way of being and doing, and sometimes we need to close the curtains.
I recently heard this quote and had to make it into a quick post for instagram.
If you haven't joined already, join the Diverse and Inclusive Children's Books for the Music Classroom page on facebook. There are wonderful books with lesson ideas posted.
Are we Welcoming or Assimilaiting?
We also need to talk about teaching - how we teach is MORE important than what we teach. Examining our bias, the words, gestures, speech, etc. in our teaching- especially with students that are having a hard time in school for whatever reason- trauma. learning differences, ability, developmental maturation, family changes, home life, equity, etc. It is a LOT. But the littles in our life are EVERYTHING. Remember teaching is a marathon, not a sprint or a 5K. Yes, we will make a plethora of mistakes. We are, after all, human.
I recently saw a conversation on facebook that was an "Ouch" moment. When we say, "All are welcome" do we really mean all and do we really mean welcome or do we mean ASSIMILATED?
Our school recently finished a 21-Week Racial Equity Challenge where we had small and large group conversations- REAL, hard, tough to hear conversations. It was amazing. We wondered what to do next. I am honored to serve on our YBG - You Belong Group - that focuses on issues of Social Justice and Equity. We are reading this book: