Being the Change: Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension
Topics such as race, gender, politics, religion, and sexuality are part of our students' lives, yet when these subjects are brought up at school teachers often struggle with how to respond. How do we create learning conditions where kids can ask the questions they want to ask, muddle through how to say the things they are thinking, and have tough conversations? How can we be proactive and take steps to engaging in the types of conversations where risk is high but the payoff could be even greater?
Being the Change is based on the idea that people can develop skills and habits to serve them in the comprehension of social issues. Sara K. Ahmed identifies and unpacks the skills of social comprehension, providing teachers with tools and activities that help students make sense of themselves and the world as they navigate relevant topics in today's society.
Each chapter includes clear, transferrable lessons and practical strategies that help students learn about a targeted social comprehension concept. From exploring identity and diversity to understanding and addressing biases and microaggressions, Sara demonstrates how to address real issues honestly in the classroom while honoring and empowering students.
Dealing with social issues is uncomfortable and often messy, but you can build habitats of trust where kids and adults can make their thinking visible and cultivate empathy; where expression, identity, and social literacy matter. There is no magic formula for making the world a better place. It happens in the moments we embrace discomfort and have candid conversations.
"I am convinced that every class of kids I work with is filled with change agents who will make this world the one we teach toward. I believe that my students will carry the work of doing right by this world into their own lives.
I'll bet you believe this about your kids, too."
-Sara K. Ahmed
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About the Author
Sara K. Ahmed is currently a literacy coach at NIST International School in Bangkok, Thailand. She has taught in urban, suburban, public, independent, and international schools, where her classrooms were designed to help students consider their own identities and see the humanity in others. Sara is the author of Being the Change: Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension and coauthor with Harvey "Smokey" Daniels of Upstanders: How to Engage Middle School Hearts and Minds with Inquiry. She has served on the teacher leadership team for Facing History and Ourselves, an international organization devoted to developing critical thinking and empathy for others. You can find her on Twitter @SaraKAhmed.