Not Light, but Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom (Paperback)

Not Light, but Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom By Matthew R. Kay Cover Image

Not Light, but Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom (Paperback)

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Do you know how to initiate and facilitate productive dialogues about race in your classroom? Are you prepared to handle complex topics while keeping your students engaged?

Inspired by Frederick Douglass's abolitionist call to action, “it is not light that is needed, but fire”, author Matthew Kay demonstrates how to move beyond surface-level discussions and lead students through the most difficult race conversations. In Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom, Kay recognizes we often never graduate to the harder conversations, so he offers a method for getting them right, providing candid guidance on:

  • How to recognize the difference between meaningful and inconsequential race conversations.
  • How to build conversational “safe spaces,” not merely declare them.
  • How to infuse race conversations with urgency and purpose.
  • How to thrive in the face of unexpected challenges.
  • How administrators might equip teachers to thoughtfully engage in these conversations.

With the right blend of reflection and humility, Kay asserts teachers can make school one of the best venues for young people to discuss race.

Matthew R. Kay is a proud product of Philadelphia’s public schools and a founding teacher at Science Leadership Academy (SLA). He is a graduate of West Chester University and holds a Masters in Educational Leadership with a Principals’ Certificate from California University of Pennsylvania.
Product Details ISBN: 9781625310989
ISBN-10: 1625310986
Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
Publication Date: July 17th, 2018
Pages: 278
Language: English
A reminder to educators to not sidestep or oversimplify conversations about race, but to engage students in them as scholars with voices and experiences that are just as important as those of the adult in the classroom.
— Erika Smith

I’m in love with Matthew’s book. He writes with clarity, passion, and backs up everything he says with experiences or history that hits you right in the chest. As an educator in the world today, we owe it to our students to listen to what Matthew Kay has to say.
— Jacob Chastain

This is the book we need to shift the "tried and tired" practice of touting empty rhetoric about race to a practice that puts us firmly on a pathway toward achieving racial equity. Matt is a master facilitator and shares the tools every teacher needs to hone their practice to make conversations about race commonplace.
— Sonja Cherry-Paul

Thoughtful, timely, and beautifully written.
— Kelly Gallagher

I found myself thinking, "How different would the field of education be if Matt Kay had advised John Dewey? How different would I be if Matt Kay had been my teacher?" The answer: radically so. He is that important, and his work on race is that essential.
— Cornelius Minor