Teaching Tolerance is pleasured to announce the release of Teaching The New Jim Crow, a literacy-based teacher’s guide that accompanies Michelle Alexander’s groundbreaking book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. It’s free and just a click away.
“In many ways, this is a dream come true,” says Alexander in her introduction to the guide, titled Teaching The New Jim Crow. “I have long hoped that a set of materials would be created that would support high school teachers who want to explore the myriad issues surrounding race and justice in our society.”
The guide assists high school educators in teaching the pressing social and racial justice issues central to The New Jim Crow. Key features of the guide include:
- Abridged excerpts from The New Jim Crow.
- A collection of 10 lessons closely aligned to the book’s topics and themes.
- Tools that equip educators to teach about race and racial justice.
- Alignment to Common Core State Standards.
- Strategies aimed at text-based vocabulary instruction, close and critical reading, and speaking and listening skills.
- Text-dependent questions to guide reading and assess comprehension.
- High frequency/multiple-meaning vocabulary (Tier II) and low frequency, context-specific vocabulary (Tier III).
Over the course of the lessons, students engage with three essential questions that underpin Alexander’s sophisticated analysis of mass incarceration:
- How does the U.S. criminal justice system create and maintain racial hierarchy through mass incarceration?
- How does the current system of mass incarceration in the United States mirror earlier systems of racialized social control?
- What is needed to end mass incarceration and permanently eliminate racial caste in the United States?
Students’ engagement with these questions culminates in the last lesson, “The Fire This Time,” in which they explore Alexander’s call to action—a call to find ways to end racial caste and bring about racial justice in the Untied States. Students explore this message, and ultimately, participate in creative, summative assessments in which they apply their knowledge of racial caste and mass incarceration.
Teaching The New Jim Crow is an opportunity to introduce your students to social inquiry and critiques of structural inequalities, a combination of knowledge and skills that can foster agency and inspire change. Be sure to keep us posted as you explore the guide and use it with your classroom. You can use the comment section below to leave thoughts or ask questions, or you can tweet using #teachthenewjimcrow.
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- Introducing 'The New Jim Crow'
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