How to teach kids to talk about taboo topics | Liz Kleinrock
TED Talks Daily
When one of Liz Kleinrock's fourth-grade students said the unthinkable at the start of a class on race, she knew it was far too important a teachable moment to miss. But where to start? Learn how Kleinrock teaches kids to discuss taboo topics without fear -- because the best way to start solving social problems is to talk about them.
In this episode
- 02:51 - Why does racism exist?
- 03:51 - What makes a topic taboo?
- 05:50 - What does teaching kids about things such as equity in school mean?
- 07:04 - How would teachers be doing a disservice to their students?
- 10:23 - How do you teach third-graders about consent?
- 11:04 - How should we teach social-emotional intelligence to young kids?
- 11:45 - What do students think of these taboo topics?
Smash Notes summary for this episode
Why does racism exist?
Liz Kleinrock told her elementary students that one reason why racism exists is because light skinned people have looked down at people with dark skin. People will even use reasons as excuses to dehumanize them. She explains that reason why they were learning racism was to teach them to understand and know better.
What makes a topic taboo?
Kleinrock says taboo topics are when feelings of discomfort arise when certain topics are brought up in conversations.
What does teaching kids about things such as equity in school mean?
It is not teach them what to think, but it's about giving them the tools, strategies, languages, and opportunities to practice how to think. Kleinrock believes this approach to teaching should also be taught as if she were teaching kids how to read or do math.
How would teachers be doing a disservice to their students?
A disservice to the students would be to act like the students aren’t capable of having these conversations. Although these topics may be intimidating when talking to students, even younger kids can differentiate between things that are fair and what is equal.
How do you teach third-graders about consent?
The idea of consent is often associated with sex, but it can be very well taught to third-graders without any mention of it. Consent is about boundaries, and the fact that different people have different levels of comfort with their boundaries. Kids get it.
How should we teach social-emotional intelligence to young kids?
The social and emotional intelligence it takes to read someone’s words, tone, and body languages are the skills that need to be explicitly taught, just like math or science.