The Four Agreements of Courageous Conversations

It`s not easy to talk about race. Regardless of your ethnicity, conversations about race feel like they`re loaded with landmines just waiting to go. People are getting defensive. Or scared. No one wants to say the wrong thing. Often we avoid talking about race. Recent events have added another level of difficulty: teachers felt ill-equipped when students wanted to talk about the racist stories that kept appearing on the news. For fear of misunderstanding these conversations, many teachers have simply changed the subject. Watkins felt they needed help. “How can they allow this very important rich conversation to take place in their room, but not make themselves vulnerable to a misstep in communication and potentially cost them their jobs?” A key element of the Courageous Conversations protocol is the four agreements, rules for participating in these difficult discussions. Even without taking the course, learning these four chords can shed light on what it takes to progress in a conversation about race. The course, supported by PCGs EducatorEd, is based on the idea that one of the biggest barriers to progression on racial issues is people`s discomfort in talking about it, giving participants the tools they need to have these difficult conversations. Singleton has seen this kind of growth several times in teaching this course, and he attributes much of that to the course`s approach to meeting people where they are.

Of the 300 participants who registered for the course, only three did not complete it. All the others gave extremely positive reviews. During the process of exploring why, the course also helps teachers take an in-depth look at their own beliefs and equip them with tools to talk about them. A set of instruments is called the four chords. The course begins by helping educators understand why it`s important to talk about race “to help them understand how differences work, what differences are, and why an understanding that actually improves their productivity and work,” says Glenn Singleton, who created the course. “Diversity training doesn`t usually work in its traditional form (because) we don`t address the why in advance.” “I watch human transformation unfold in a relatively short period of time around a topic that many believe is intractable,” he says. “And for me, that`s what makes my job, I think, the best job in the world.” I am currently taking your course in Broward County, Florida. I could really use some tips on how to start lesson plans with CCAR tools at our Park Springs Elementary School. Where is the best place to start? Any ideas? I don`t want to offend anyone, but I`d love it to be welcoming and welcoming to others. Thank you very much! One school district that found itself in this situation was Broward County Public Schools in Florida, the sixth largest school district in the United States. Broward County includes 31 cities and serves nearly 300,000 students from diverse backgrounds, representing nearly 200 different languages and cultures. David Watkins, Broward`s director of justice and diversity, says that while district leaders have always implemented progressive policies and worked to reach their most vulnerable youth, the work was disjointed.

“What we found was a lot of pockets of good work,” he says, “but not a systemic process to make sure it falls into the hands of teachers across the system as end users.” That`s the idea behind Courageous Conversations About Race, an online course that teaches participants how to talk about race. In February 2018, Broward County enrolled 300 of its educators in the course, and the results were significant. Participants who describe the course as life-changing say they would like all educators to take it. “When we conducted the polls,” Watkins says, “we struggled to find someone who was critical. They believed that this was something they were waiting for, that this kind of online experience, tackling something that was taboo and equipping them with the resources to better communicate with their own students, was something they had never seen before. Listen to my interview with Glenn Singleton and David Watkins (transcript): And it`s not good. Because race certainly affects our schools, our students, and our work as educators, and if we ever want to make real progress on race-related issues, we need to be able to talk about it openly, honestly, and productively. “Come to this conversation with the willingness to share what`s real to us, even if what`s real to us is not what`s real to others,” Singleton says. However, this is much easier said than done, which of course leads to the third agreement. This article contains Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, Cult of Pedagogy will receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you.

“We can`t have frustrated educators because they can`t fix it, link it in a loop and do it,” Singleton says. “This is something that still persists in our society. There is still a challenge that we face at the broader level, and so we must be able to stay engaged, even if the final solution is not yet in sight. “We have to feel uncomfortable,” Singleton says. “We actually strengthen the educator`s ability to stay engaged when things get uncomfortable to increase my ability to feel uncomfortable. This is what we call the productive imbalance. If this sounds familiar, you may feel that this piecemeal approach lacks cohesion, that even if you and your colleagues have changed your practices to some extent, something is missing. Perhaps it is true that only some employees really agree with the changes, while you feel the resistance of others. Or behaviors change, but you feel like hearts and minds aren`t fully there.

Or you may be tackling some issues related to actions, but not consistently across all areas. “Wherever you go in, it`s perfect, and everyone comes in from their own seat,” he says. “You`re not in this training to build relationships with another person or group of people. You connect from where you start to where you end. And if you can experience growth and understanding, awareness and healing as you progress, this is what allows you to develop the high level of effectiveness to turn your practice into the classroom. And that`s what you`re seeing in Broward now. Just as in so many districts across the country, there was a cultural disconnect between the teaching population and the students they served. “Educators (had) difficulty understanding the population they served and how to apply some of the policies and practices we implemented. ยป Categories: Book Reviews, Leadership, Podcast, Collaboration The impact of the course went beyond the individual attitudes and behaviors of teachers, prompting many of them to play a leadership role in justice. To learn more about the course, visit the PCG EducatorEd website.

You can also read the book by clicking on the book cover below: “You`ve had a lot of teachers who said, you know what? I thought about leaving the training. Now I`m actually thinking about not just staying, but doing something more impactful,” Watkins says. When I started looking at the signatures of many teachers who had taken the course, they put “Liaison for Equity” as their signature. They then become the contact person in their school, the contact person for the school management and for colleagues to ask questions to facilitate conversations, experiences and opportunities related to what they have learned during the course. “In our society,” Singleton says, “we gave permission to break with this conversation.” So committing to staying engaged instead of leaving when things get uncomfortable will ensure that the important conversation actually happens. .