“When I think of children of color, in my head, in my dreams – when the images are disconnected from cold reality – they appear as I see or saw myself as a child. Curious. Energetic. Smart. Brilliant, even. Innocent. Yes, innocent. Young, gifted, and innocent.”
– Alexs Pate, The Innocent Classroom: Dismantling Racial Bias to Support Students of Color (ASCD 2020)
In an Innocent Classroom, every child knows they are young, gifted and innocent
Without innocence, children of color are left with the cold reality of an education injected with society’s racist stereotypes. Stereotypes that interfere with a teacher’s greatest efforts to reach their students. Stereotypes that undermine a child’s ability to believe that education is for them.
Innocent Classroom practice puts our children’s humanity at the heart of our schools. It humanizes the child. It humanizes the educator. Transformed relationships open up opportunity for every child. Students in Innocent Classrooms believe that they are in fact, innocent. Innocence becomes a way of being, these classrooms – these are Innocent Classrooms. Every educator has the ability to make this happen.
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Our Approach: Constructing the Innocent Classroom
Schools, districts, and individual educators partner with our team to implement Innocent Classroom concepts and skills as a part of their daily practice. This partnership begins with our foundational workshop series Constructing the Innocent Classroom and continues with coaching, tools, and resources that allow for everyday use of concepts and skills.
The workshops use a progression methodology that asks educators to begin practicing immediately with children, while adding increasing clarity, depth, and independence in each session. Led by an expert trainer educators use their own efforts, successes, and challenges in collaboration with one another to drive their development.
What Makes Our Workshops Different
Focus on Relationships
We invest in the most important link in education: teacher to student. Educators learn to make closer connections, develop greater empathy and create an environment where academic success can flourish for all children.
A Teacher-driven Solution
Educators hold the key to student success. Instead of a top-down approach, our training unites colleagues on the front lines to collaboratively change student performance and school culture classroom by classroom.
Training begins with the concept that at the heart of all actions is good, “the thing for which all other things are done.” We prepare teachers to see through behavior to each student’s deeper motivation — and respond to that.
A Forum for Progress
Innocent Classroom workshops are a safe, productive environment for educators to dig into the challenges they face, ask honest questions, and adopt new perspectives for dealing with difficult issues.
With You All the Way
We engage directly with teachers and school leadership to help the community make progress as a whole. When the training is over, we offer ongoing support and stay connected to make sure our solution sticks.