1st Edition

Learning to Relearn Supporting Identity in a Culturally Affirming Classroom

By Kwame Sarfo-Mensah Copyright 2025
    296 Pages 28 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    "With Learning to Relearn, Sarfo-Mensah has written himself into the canon of scholars who boldly advocate for social justice in schools."

    —From the foreword by Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz

    Kwame Sarfo-Mensah’s latest book, Learning to Relearn, challenges educators to embark on a transformative journey toward creating classrooms that embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion. Rooted in the principles of anti-bias, anti-racist (ABAR) education, this book offers a dynamic roadmap for teachers seeking to dismantle systemic biases and foster inclusive spaces that honor intersectional student identities.

    Sarfo-Mensah skillfully weaves together theory and practice, providing accessible strategies for cultivating anti-bias, anti-racist pedagogies that address the unique experiences of students navigating multiple layers of identity. From inclusive curriculum development to fostering empathetic classroom discussions, this book empowers educators to navigate the nuanced landscape of supporting identities with intentionality and sensitivity.

    Learning to Relearn is not just a call for change; it's a call for unlearning and relearning, encouraging teachers to continually evolve their practices to meet the diverse needs of their students. Through compelling first-person narratives and actionable insights, this book equips educators with the tools to create culturally-affirming classrooms where every student's identity is not just acknowledged but celebrated. This is an indispensable resource for educators committed to shaping classrooms that reflect the true richness of human experiences.

    Section 1: Overview of Identities  1. Examining and Disrupting the Culture of Whiteness  2. Indigenous Perspectives: Tackling Settler Colonialism  3. Black Perspectives: Combating Anti-Blackness  4. Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Perspectives: Debunking the Model Minority Myth & Fighting Anti-AAPI Racism  Section 2: What It Means to Teach with a Critical Lens/Action Steps  5. Latinx Perspectives: Combating Linguoracism, Anti-Immigrant Sentiment & Curricular Erasure  6. Start the Work with You  7. Affirm the Identities of Your Students  8. Combat Dominant Narratives Through Counterstorytelling  9. Co-create a Compassionate and Collaborative Classroom Culture


    Kwame Sarfo-Mensah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Temple University.  For nine years, he served as a middle school math teacher in Philadelphia, PA and Boston, MA. Currently, he is the founder of Identity Talk Consulting, a global educational consulting firm that specializes in developing K-12 teachers into identity-affirming educators. Throughout his 17-year career as a classroom teacher, author, and consultant, Kwame has earned numerous accolades for this work, which include being recognized as a Top Teaching Voice by LinkedIn, honored as the 2019 National Member of the Year by Black Educators Rock, Inc. and being recognized as a Top Education Influencer by brightbeam, Inc. in 2021 and 2022.

    "Creating humanizing educational spaces and experiences for students requires more than ‘best’ intentions. Sarfo-Mensah sheds light on the ways schools’ intentions have, in fact, been far from ‘best.” Learning to Relearn: Supporting Identity in a Culturally Affirming Classroom is the comprehensive scholarship all educators need to develop historical and current understandings about identity and center liberation as the goal of teaching and learning."

    Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul, author of Antiracist Reading Revolution: A Framework for Teaching Beyond Representation Toward Liberation, adapter of the #1 NYT bestselling Stamped (For Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You



    "It is true that identity informs and impacts how we act, interact, and see the world around us. As teachers and educators, our identities shape what we have learned and - as Sarfo-Mensah affirms - what we need to relearn. This book provides important content related to identity and teaching and also provides structured reflection and dialogue for the learning to continue. As we build healthy habits and skills for this work, Learning to Relearn can support committed educators to create a more inclusive community - one that starts with us!"


    Liza A. Talusan, Ph.D., author of The Identity-Conscious Educator: Building Habits and Skills for a More Inclusive School 



    "Kwame Sarfo-Mensah has written the book that many in the K-12 education community have been waiting for replete with content that is dear to countless educators who unfortunately do not have the platforms to speak their truth to the masses. Learning to Relearn: Supporting Identity in a Culturally Affirming Classroom is that truth that I believe will generate a thunderous, collective AMEN from so many educators while simultaneously, it will create tension, discomfort and cognitive dissonance within others, which is a good thing. I endorse this book with zero hesitation nor reservation."


    Principal Baruti Kafele, Education Consultant, Author, Retired Principal


    "Learning to Relearn is an anti-bias and anti-racist (ABAR) education clarion call. In Learning to Relearn author and educator, Kwame Sarfo-Mensahcharges fellow educators to move from allyship to co-conspiratorship and provides a remix of counterstory, research, and expert testimony to make this work stick. I love that he uses cognitive stops after each chapter to  ensure that we engage in the praxis of reflection, because ultimately what teaching and learning professional development books are missing is carved out space to interrogate the self through a systematic way. As an Asian American Ethnic Studies Scholar, I examine aspects of ethnoracial invisibility and omission and how educators and education policy often omit AAPI narratives and histories by default. But this is not true for Sarfo-Mensah – he gets it. He combats the pedagogies and policies of omission with inclusion, thoughtfulness, and precision. He challenges us to go deeper than merely combating white supremacy culture by forcing us to interrogate how settler colonialism has created the infrastructures, policies, ideologies, and practices that we see today in education and how they impact different communities in nuanced ways. I deeply needed this book when I began my education career, and I’m so excited to see this work come to fruition."


    Tony DelaRosa, Author of Teaching the Invisible Race: Embodying a Pro-Asian American Lens in Schools



    "In Learning to Relearn, Kwame Sarfo-Mensah has penned a must read book for educators which calls us all to be lifelong learners who teach the truth and engage in action for our students. He is adding to the scholarship of liberatory education where all learners are seen, valued, heard, and affirmed. May we all strive to support identities in culturally affirming classrooms."


    Kevin Simpson, Founder of AIELOC



    "In Learning to Relearn: Supporting Identity in a Culturally Affirming Classroom, Kwame Sarfo-Mensah presents readers with an encyclopedia of knowledge to understand the complexities of identity and racial bias. By skillfully interweaving personal narrative, insights from renowned educational experts, indisputable facts and the experiences of current practitioners, Sarfo-Mensah seamlessly ties history, theory and practice together, offering readers multiple entry points for deeper learning.


    The book's extensive research contextualizes race and culture, illustrating their profound impact on young people. Sarfo-Mensah challenges readers to critically examine our own beliefs and practices, urging educators to engage in self-reflection, continuous learning, love and collaboration to dismantle systemic inequities and promote educational equity. An essential read for current and future educators, this book is a powerful call to action that deserves a front-and-center place on every bookshelf."


    Keisha Rembert, educator and author of The Antiracist English Language Arts Classroom



    "Learning to Relearn is a must-read for every educator and every person, wishing to advance our educational systems towards justice and liberation.

    It’s a brilliant, honest, compelling, and soul-filling compilation of rich perspectives and storytelling, which will undoubtedly help to transform classrooms, education systems, and practices worldwide. Learning to Relearn is a genius work of heart."

    Shauna Brown, Founder: Teach for the Culture, LLC


    "Learning to Relearn is an infinitely applicable tool that guides White educators to move beyond performative allyship and into transformative action."

    Bree Picower, Ph.D.  Author of Reading, Writing and Racism: Disrupting Whiteness in Teacher Education and in the Classroom.