Amid the current spike in anti-Asian racism, teachers Dawoun Jyung and Lauren Kosasa created a video resource as well as shareable lessons and guides to help educators navigate the issue and its historical roots in the classroom, Edutopia reports.
When discussing these issues, Jyung advises teachers to stick to the facts. For example, when discussing the Atlanta-area spa shootings, share that six of the eight victims were women of Asian descent and the gunman was a young, white male. Next, it's important to frame that in the historical context behind racism against Asian Americans and explain to students this is not new.
Students will ask questions of when, where and why, and they will also experience a range of emotions, Jyung said. Teachers can guide discussion by showing videos on the topic, as well as news coverage of incidents, and asking students what they notice and what they are wondering.
Among the resources shared by Jyung and Kosasa are a lesson guide and accompanying slide deck on the Atlanta-area shootings and rising anti-Asian xenophobia, and a second lesson guide and accompanying slide deck covering the historical context of anti-Asian racism.
The recent eruption of racism against Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) comes at a time when schools are already focusing on culturally responsive approaches to education. Albemarle County Public Schools in Charlottesville, Virginia, for instance, has an anti-racism policy focused on training staff to recognize and eliminate all forms of racism, identifying it as destructive to the district's mission, vision, values and goals. This effort includes a teacher certification program designed to help educators overcome their own racial biases.
The district also replaced its gifted and talented program with an initiative to include all students in its Talent Development Program and has increased efforts to recruit educators of color.
New Mexico's Gadsden Independent School District, on the other hand, established an equity council that includes parents, administrators and students who review protocols related to attendance, resource allocations and instructional delivery. The district is also focused on purchasing instructional material that is culturally sensitive and reflects the student body.
Teachers must also be aware of anti-Asian bullying that takes place in the classroom and on school grounds. Some Asian students, for instance, have reported being blamed for mandatory mask policies and are being left out during socializing time. The Speak Up at School guide helps adults respond when they hear racist remarks made by students and other adults in the school. It also models how to respond to racism so students can learn to be advocates, as well.