Building Trust in the Classroom: Understanding Black Culture and Overcoming Labels

Building Trust in the Classroom

I'm thrilled to welcome  University of Oklahoma graduate, Dr. Christine Chapman, Ph.D to discuss some important steps to building trust in the classroom. This topic is especially important to me as a White woman serving diverse communities. I know this topic is important outside of my context since 80 percent of public school teachers are White, according to a 2020-21 report from the National Center for Education Statistics. Conversely, only 45 percent of students fit that same racial demographic. I also know that in order to serve a community that I'm not already part of, I need to become a student of that community to learn how to care for them. This starts with listening to people who are already doing the work and sharing.

Dr. Chapman built her doctoral work on a foundation of her own experience of being a student in classrooms. She shares that from elementary school all the way through her second year of Ph.D. studies, only ONE of  her educators was Black! She didn't grow up with Black role models in the education system and now she is making it her mission to help teachers learn how to really SEE the minoritized students in their classrooms instead of ignoring race.

Students WANT to be seen, welcomed, and valued in the classroom. Instead of lumping all students into one "colorblind" group, teachers must learn about students' cultures, beliefs and communities. Dr. Chapman's biggest message is to look at your classroom as a multicultural space and to see your students’ individuality and uniqueness through the lenses of their experiences instead of just your own.

What's the biggest lesson you've learned from the students in your classroom?

I'd love to read your ideas! Feel free to share your thoughts in the collaboration area below.

reThink ELA Podcast
reThink ELA Podcast
Building Trust in the Classroom: Understanding Black Culture and Overcoming Labels

About the author 

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education and co-Editor of the Oklahoma English Journal. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify students' voices and choices.

  1. I enjoyed hearing these ideas! Thank you so much for sharing and for trying to give students the experiences you didn’t get to have. I would love to be a learner in a class like this.

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