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Reflect on One’s Cultural Lens

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Lesson 2, Topic 62
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Competency #2 Episode Copy


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In urban centers like Philadelphia, and in urban districts like ours, we have lots of circumstances that children bring to schools that many educators don’t understand. And then you have the challenge of educators who don’t look like them, who don’t represent them, are not from their communities and those individuals come with sets of biases that they don’t intend to expose but they just expose naturally because they don’t have the background knowledge or cultural understanding of young people. So, that’s one process for professional development.

Getting individuals into a mindset of what our children are capable of. Talking about their abilities more from an asset orientation than from a deficit orientation and recognizing their biases about the children they serve.

Then there’s another whole group of individuals who persons of color, Black educators Latino educators, just people of color just in general and making sure that those individuals are also developed around the biases they bring because many of them in some cases have been able to lift or extract themselves from the circumstances that our young people are exposed to. And then they bring that back with them and they forget how those circumstances impacted their lives or their families lives or their ancestors. They forget that, and then they bring that into classrooms as well.

The final part of this is…

How do we develop individuals to have those conversations?

How do we allow them the space, the time, the agency in order to express their emotions, their feelings around what they do know, what they don’t know?

What bothers them, what doesn’t?

How do we provide them with the opportunities to build, to lift, and to support each other?