Black History Month

February is observed as Black History Month at Thames Valley. It is an opportunity to celebrate the many achievements of Black Canadians and a chance to educate our students about the many noteworthy individuals who, throughout history, have had significant impact inducing change in our society.

In consultation with Black administrators, educators and clinical staff, the TVDSB Equity Team has prepared Black History Month resources, virtual class presentations and professional learning opportunities to support learning throughout February and beyond. 


Important Information for Staff: CULTURAL SAFETY

It is important to create a learning environment that is respectful and that makes students feel safe and comfortable not only physically, socially, and emotionally but also in terms of their cultural heritage. A culturally safe learning environment is one in which students feel comfortable about expressing their ideas, opinions, and needs and about responding authentically to topics that may be culturally sensitive.

Teachers should be aware that some students may experience emotional reactions when learning about issues that have affected their own lives, their family, and/or their community.

Before addressing such topics in the classroom, teachers need to consider how to prepare and debrief students, and they need to ensure that resources are available to support students both inside and outside the classroom.

Students can also experience strong emotional reactions when learning about the adversity and challenges faced by others.

There may be students who express the wish or need to opt out of the learning.

If students are demonstrating a negative reaction to content discussed during the presentation, staff are encouraged to:

  1. Discreetly touch base with the student and assess their emotional response
  2. Connect the child with the administrator, LST or school support counsellor (if needed)

Important Reminder For Staff Before Discussing Student Identity:

CALLING SOMEONE IN

  • Done privately, after the fact
  • Invites a conversation and creates understanding
  • A chance to explain why the behaviour/language was inappropriate and what changes can be made
  • Can be difficult but, ultimately, enlightening
  • Helps someone shift their perspective
  • Depends on your social influence and relationship
  • Takes energy and patience

How it might sound:

“Hey, can we chat about what happened during the presentation? It’s about…”

 

CALLING SOMEONE OUT

  • Done publicly, in the moment
  • Stops problem behaviour immediately
  • Demonstrates that certain behaviour/language is never acceptable
  • Can be shaming, isolating and punishing
  • Might push someone into an insincere apology
  • Depends on your position / authority
  • Takes energy

How it might sound:

“There will be no Islamophobic remarks here!”

Staff Professional Learning Resources

To support staff learning related to Black History Month, employees are invited to register for the following virtual professional learning opportunities:

Unpacking the Black History Month School Resource Guide
Session Description: This virtual session will guide employees through the Black History Month School Resource Guide, with an emphasis on Black History Month curriculum content.
Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2021; 4 – 5 pm
Registration information: Registration in the Employee Portal beginning on Jan. 22.

Virtual Panel Discussion: Best Practices for Supporting Black Students
Session Description: A panel of TVDSB educators, clinical staff and administrators will discuss best practices for supporting Black students and for addressing issues of race, racism and other difficult conversations.
Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2021; 4 – 5 pm
Registration information: Registration in the Employee Portal beginning on Jan. 22.

 

Educators and staff looking for tips, strategies and best practices for discussing race and racism are invited to review the following guide prepared by Teaching Tolerance at the following link: https://bit.ly/3gSwyZI

Educators and staff are also invited to explore the Dismantling Anti-Black Racism in Schooling, Education, and Beyond: Resource Guide developed by the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies at the University of Toronto at the following link: https://bit.ly/3nDnIlv

 

Elementary Classroom Resources

ETFO Black Canadian Curriculum Resources:

Secondary Classroom Resources
External Resources 

London Black History Month Calendar of Events

The London Black History Coordinating Committee has planned several events and initiatives for Black History Month 2021.

Please review a calendar of events in English and French, as well as event information at the following link: http://www.londonpubliclibrary.ca/black-history-month

 

Links:

 

Noteworthy Black Canadians


Honorable Lincoln M. Alexander


Honourable Jean Augustine


Perdita Felicien


Viola Davis Desmond


Donovan Bailey

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