Let's Talk! Teaching Race in the Classroom

Educator Professional Learning Seminar


Date:Monday - Friday,  July 8-12, 2019
Time: 9:00am - 4:00pm/day

Race.  Humans have used race as a marker to classify who is in and who is out, to determine who is in charge and who will be ruled.  Science has shown us that there is no such thing as race coded in the biological material that are the building blocks of life.  What is startlingly real is the racial identity assigned to each of us, especially within the American society. Racial identity, short-handed to ‘race’, impacts us all in various ways.  The impact of the social values placed on race can be wide-reaching and have a long historical background.

It is an aspect of our American culture that is often ignored, glossed over or mishandled.  Additionally, to succeed in promoting equity, tolerance, and justice, childhood is the time to address these issues by understanding children’s development and encouraging positive feelings about their racial and cultural identity, as well as others’.  Working with youth makes it incumbent that educators are prepared to address issues of race whenever they surface such as in history or social studies lessons or when current events brings them forward such as events in our recent history.

Through presentations from researchers in the field, small group discussions, and reflective exercises participants will engage in conversations about race/racism, explore ways to address issues and topics that will meet students where they are in their racial development, and practice techniques for creating safe space for difficult discussions.

Essential Questions

  • What is race?  What is racism?

  • How do we talk about race in academic spaces with students? with other colleagues?

  • What is anti-bias education?  How do we create anti-bias environments?

  • What is implicit bias and how does it affect our society, our interpersonal relationships, and our institutions?


By offering an opportunity to explore objects, engage with experienced practitioners and  have discussion Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the program aims to:

  • learn and practice strategies for building a personal connections within their classroom

  • be introduced to and deepen their knowledge of racial identity development

  • reflect on their personal racial views, experiences, and implicit bias

  • practice facilitating interactions/discussions around racial issues by performing role-play situations

  • identify implicit bias and recognize how it affects teaching in the classroom

  • learn strategies for resilience and self-care

  • explore teaching strategies and techniques that will support classroom teachers in having discussions on memory, slavery, race/racism and history

Program Session
Date: July 8–July 12, 2019

The seminar will be primarily held at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The workshop will accommodate 30 participants.

Participants should plan to attend the entire program, which takes place Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Target Audience
Educators who work with K-12 students in some capacity. This workshop will be especially beneficial for classroom educators of social studies, humanities, and English/Language Arts.  We encourage educators who interact with K-12 students in informal settings to consider this seminar for their professional development needs as well.

Program Fees and Resources
This program is free thanks to a generous gift from the Atlantic Philanthropies.  

Transportation and Housing
Participants will be responsible for their own transportation and housing.

This professional learning seminar is supported by generous gift from the Atlantic Philanthropies.

Registration Process

Registration must be submitted no later than 5:00pm EDT, Sunday, June 30, 2019.

Educators who work with K-12 students are eligible.  While this program will be most applicable to classroom educators, we welcome all educators who interact with students.

Participants will be notified of their registration immediately.  Subsequent confirmations and program details will arrive approximately a week before the program. Questions about this program should be directed to TeachingAAHC@si.edu. Responses will be sent via email, please provide your preferred summer email address.