Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum Reboot

30 minutes

This week on TeachLab, we’re republishing our first episode with the brilliant Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, to bring her lessons of equity and race back into light during these challenging times of the COVID pandemic. Now with a new segment called “Dear Teacher”, a message from Dr. Tatum directly to teachers around the world.

Next week, we’ll be back with a new episode in our COVID-19 series, talking with Paul Reville, founding director of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Redesign Lab, and former Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Episode 1 Summary: Our host Justin Reich has a powerful conversation with renowned author, psychologist and educator Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum. Dr. Tatum shares some of the stories that inspired her bestselling book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race and offers tips for addressing the ongoing challenges of racial issues in classrooms and schools.

  • Dr. Tatum encourages teachers to take the first step in tackling racism by talking about it, because “if we can’t talk about it, we can’t fix it”.
  • Dr. Tatum says that all of us can take a leadership role in making institutions more sensitive towards inclusivity by using her ABCs of leadership
    • Affirming Identity
    • Building Community
    • Cultivating Leadership
  • Dr. Tatum tells us that there is value in sitting together with those of a shared identity, and it’s not necessarily a problem “So I often say, let's worry less about who's sitting where during the break times, and think about what's happening inside the classroom. Are there opportunities inside the classroom to help kids navigate those differences?”
  • She shares stories of how ignoring identity and engaging in color blindness is not helpful. “One father said it really bothered him when teachers said they treated all the kids the same. His response to that was always, 'The same as what?'"


Note to the audience

The Teaching Systems Lab and the TeachLab team would like to thank all of our audience for their patronage as we attempt to shift our production and content in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We think it is of the utmost importance to continue distributing as much content as we can, and as widely as we can, to assist those who are in need of information in these difficult times. We are working to improve the quality of our content with these new constraints and get back to a more regular scheduling. Thank you for your patience.


Additional Resources

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race – Read Dr. Tatum’s book updated and reissued in 2017.

ROPES – This blog post describes a protocol for collaboratively creating shared rules and expectations for the classroom. It could also be used to kick off challenging conversations with educators.

“White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism” – Dr. Tatum recommended teachers read Dr. Robin DiAngelo; this article provides pointers based on her book.

Is My Skin Brown Because I Drank Chocolate Milk? – Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum’s presentation at TEDxStanford about how people talk (or don’t) about race and how to approach the conversation with young children.





Produced by Jesse Dukes and Garrett Beazley

Edited by Aimee Corrigan

Recorded and Mixed by Garrett Beazley

Filmed by Denez McAdoo


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