with permission from The Shape of Change: A Curriculum for Building Strong
Communities and a Sustainable Economy. © 2000 Susan Santone. Creative
Change Educational Solutions.
Facilitating discussions about discrimination can be difficult. The following
guidelines may be useful as you use the discrimination curriculum. Below
these suggestions is a list of questions you can use to generate more
thoughtful and meaningful classroom conversations:
Establish classroom guidelines for behaviour
and keep them posted. Be sure to solicit student input on the guidelines.
· Remind the class as needed to adhere to the guidelines as needed.
· Allow people to participate as they feel comfortable. If students
seem reluctant to speak to the full group, have students write down
their ideas and share in pairs or small groups. Then ask for volunteers
to share responses with the full group.
· Students may "shut down" or otherwise resist hearing
about difficult issues. You may get comments such as "I don't believe
this" or "I don't think that could really happen." Instead
of allowing students to deny what they are hearing, ask them to share
the reasons for their resistance. Questions such as "What makes
you say that?" or "What is keeping you from believing this?"
invite further sharing. Questions that begin with "why" (i.e.,
"Why don't you believe this?") are confrontational and may
shut students down even further.
· NEVER ask a student to speak for his/her entire racial/ethnic/religious/etc.
group. Remember that students are individuals; their experiences may
or may not reflect the experiences of a larger social group.
Suggestions Facilitation Questions
- Desired outcome:
Students generate thoughtful reflections and significant information about
new learning or experiences.
questions to promote this outcome:
What else did you observe/experience?
Can you be more specific?
Can you say that in another way?
Can you provide some more details about ______?
Who else had the same reaction? Who had a different reaction?
- Desired outcome: Students make sense of data by drawing meaning
from it, identifying significant connections, patterns, or trends.
Do you see a pattern here?
How do you account for ______?
What was significant about ______?
What connections to you see?
What does ________ suggest to you?
Students generalize information to other experiences. They understand
how overarching principles apply to different situations.
What can we infer/conclude from _______?
Does _____ remind you of anything?
What principle do you see operating here?
What does this help you explain?
How does this relate to other experiences or things you already knew?
Students apply new learning to real world situations.
How can you use that information?
What does this new information say about our own actions/lives?
What are the consequences of doing or not doing _____?
How can you adapt this information to make it applicable to you?