1st Edition

Let's Get Real
Exploring Race, Class, and Gender Identities in the Classroom

ISBN 9781138685239
Published July 15, 2016 by Routledge
220 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

USD $34.95

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Book Description

This new book is a vital resource for any teacher or administrator to help students tackle issues of race, class, gender, religion, and cultural background. Authors Martha Caldwell and Oman Frame, both lifelong educators, offer a series of teaching strategies designed to encourage conversation and personal reflection, enabling students to think creatively, rather than stereotypically, about difference. Using the Transformational Inquiry model, your students will learn to explore their own identities, share stories and thoughts with their peers, learn more through reading and research, and ultimately take personal, collaborative action to affect social change in their communities.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Facilitate dynamic classroom discussions in a safe and empathetic environment
  • Encourage students to think and talk objectively about complex and sensitive issues such as race, gender, and social class
  • Help students cultivate valuable communication, critical thinking, and writing skills while developing their identities in a healthy way.
  • Develop your teacher identity in a positive way to better support your students’ growth and self-discovery

The strategies in this book can be adapted for any middle school or high school curriculum, and each chapter includes a variety of lesson plans and handouts that you can use in the classroom immediately. These resources can also be downloaded from the authors’ website: www.ichangecollaborative.com.

Table of Contents

Additional Resources

Meet the Authors



1. Teaching by Discovery

2. The Theory behind the Practice

3. The Teacher’s Role: Facilitating Dynamic Discussions

4. Identity Inquiry: Creating a Safe Place for Transformations

Inquiry into Inquiry: Sample Lesson Plans

5. Inquiry into Race

Inquiry into Race: Sample Lesson Plans

6. Inquiry into Gender

Inquiry into Gender: Sample Lesson Plans

7. Inquiry into Social Class

Inquiry into Social Class: Sample Lesson Plans

8. Teacher Identity Work

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Martha Caldwell and Oman Frame are cofounders of iChange Collaborative Consulting, where they train teachers, administrators, and students in diversity education, global competency, and social emotional learning. They also teach integrated middle school humanities curricula at the Paideia School in Atlanta, Georgia.


“Insightful and helpful for teachers of all grades” – bell hooks

Let’s Get Real is the social justice teaching book I’ve craved for two decades. Caldwell and Frame have produced a treasure trove of strategies and exercises for cultivating race-, gender-, and class-conscientious youth. But they start where too few practice-oriented books ever manage to go: with knowledge about racism, sexism, and economic injustice to do that cultivating effectively and responsibly.” – Paul Gorski, Associate Professor of Integrative Studies in New Century College at George Mason University

“The beauty of Let’s Get Real is that the pedagogical techniques they describe have been repeatedly used in their classroom and in their teacher training workshops. Teaching identity to adolescents is a sensitive and necessary addition to the middle grades curriculum. I have seen Martha and Oman teach these lessons in their classrooms, and the ideas and activities are truly transformative for both the students and the teachers.” – Karen Swanson, Director of the PhD in Curriculum and Instruction Program at Mercer University

“Backed by solid academic research, as well as the authors' own experience in the classroom, Let's Get Real shows how crucial it is to engage with adolescent students on issues of core identity in order to help them become empathic and alert citizens with the ability to think critically about the systems of oppression that ultimately affect us all. Caldwell and Frame offer practical guidance for how to engage students in meaningful discussions about race, gender, and class, and how to shape a safe classroom in which "dangerous" topics can be discussed. This revolutionary book demonstrates how good teaching awakens students to themselves and to the world around them, and how such "awake" students will have the ability to create meaningful change in the world. I highly recommend this book!” --Susan Rebecca White, Creative Writing teacher, Emory University and author of A Place at the Table

"Let’s Get Real is a must read for educators, parents and school policy makers who want to understand how to honestly and courageously engage with young people about questions of power and difference. Caldwell and Frame are dynamic and daring teachers who generously share their skills and experience to help us all learn how to guide our young people to a better future." -- Amanda Lewis, Associate Professor of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago