Year after year and decade after decade, racism in the classroom continues to plague many schools with no remedy insight. Without a remedy, the school to prison pipeline will continue to flourish as the permanent underclass is continually victimized. Eliminating racism in the classroom will require teachers to become more involved in discussions for which the Raccelerate Continuum provides a non-dysfunctional and teacher friendly platform.

The reason that many teachers are reluctant and uncomfortable with discussing racism in the classroom is associated with the characteristics of a dysfunctional organization. There are five levels associated with a dysfunctional organization. At the infancy stage, people such as teachers will protect themselves from circumstances and situations that make them feel threatened, embarrassed, or upset. In response to these circumstances and situations, teachers develop unwritten rules to ensure that they are not threatened, embarrassed, or upset. 

These rules result in ensuring that the teacher maintains the power over relationship in the classroom. Students of color do not have the same cultural characteristics as their White teachers and when challenged the White teacher avoids the feeling of threat, embarrassment, or becoming upset by exerting that power. This is the primary reason why it is so difficult to transform teachers thinking and therefore the development of a process that enables teachers to discuss and improve their “power over racism” must be tactfully facilitated.

The way to tactfully get teachers to discuss racism in the classroom is to utilize the Raccelerate Continuum. The Raccelerate Continuum is one component of the Raccelerate Nexus. The Raccelerate Nexus is a seven-step professional development process designed to eliminate disproportionate discipline and racism in the classroom. During the process educators transition from the cause to the ability to evaluate the progress of their school towards the final goal.

The Raccelerate Continuum has seven pillars for safe discussions involving racism in the classroom which include:

  • Teacher-Student Relationships
  • Teacher-Student Racial Differences
  • Student Beliefs and Perceptions
  • School-Student Racial disparity
  • Discrimination in the Classroom
  • Teacher-Student Verbal Behavior
  • Teacher-Student Nonverbal Behavior

The process for talking about racism in the classroom begins with teachers reading about each individual pillar. The process works best either in a group setting of as an on-going professional develop process.

For the leader who decides to use the process in a group setting, you will need approximately seven groups of teachers, easel paper, markers, Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships textbook. Next assign each group a topic to read and outline the salient points. Next, this is most important, have them to recommend several strategies for overcoming the challenges that they read about. Then have them to report out to the group. This three-step process will remove the characteristics associated with a dysfunctional organization as outlined previously in this article.

What I have found that is most beneficial is to use the Raccelerate Assessment Rubric as a guide for the strategies that teachers will develop and recommend. The Raccelerate Assessment Portfolio has four distinct levels which are ineffective, adequate, effective, and outstanding. If you want to throw some fun into the professional development have the other teachers score the developed and recommended strategies. For those groups whose activities are less than outstanding have the other teachers recommends alternative strategies.

The second option that the school leader can utilize to get teachers to talk about racism in an on-going format. The leader could start in one month and each month thereafter have teachers discuss the next topic. The recommended sequence of topics are as follows:

  1. Teacher-Student Racial Differences
  2. Student Beliefs and Perceptions
  3. School-Student Racial disparity
  4. Discrimination in the Classroom
  5. Teacher-Student Verbal Behavior
  6. Teacher-Student Nonverbal Behavior
  7. Teacher-Student Relationships

Since teachers are very busy in their craft, ask them to bring the Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships textbook to each session. You will also need easel paper and a marker. Have the teachers to read the specified topic. Then have them to tell you the salient points of the topic. As the leader, you write down each salient point on the easel paper. Once they have completed this phase of the task ask them to work in groups to offer several solutions. Have each group to present. Finally, as a group that has discussed racism in the classroom, have each teacher score the recommended alternatives using The Raccelerate Assessment Rubric. 

Related Articles

No, teachers are NOT racist because of disparate rates of racial discipline

What teachers can do to help black boys overcome our racist society

Trainer asks teachers to examine unconscious racial bias


All the best,

Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

Author of:

  • Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships
  • Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
  • The Raccelerate Formula App
  • Treasures of Hidden Racism in Education
  • The Ultimate Guide to Classroom Racism Management

classroom management cultural diversity consultant cultural diversity consultant cultural diversity consultant raccelerate formula

“Dr. Campbell did his part and now all we have to do is run with it.”
 ~ Tom Coleman ~
Woodstown-Pilesgrove Public Schools Superintendent of Schools

“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.

~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor

“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”

~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President



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