Antiracism Work in Schools: Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Empower South Texas Educators

Phillip Yang, Yolanda Crous, Norma A. Balli-Borrero, Brandi L. Scott, Ann Margaret Trujillo, Byeong Yeob Choi, Barbara Robles-Ramamurthy

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Implicit biases within school systems contribute to racist school cultures and policies. Black and Hispanic students are more likely to be over-policed in schools and to be penalized, especially by White teachers. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills can be taught to educators to support antiracist efforts in schools. Method: A virtual 2-day Train-the-Trainer antiracism workshop incorporating DBT skills was delivered to South Texas educators. DBT skills were integrated as life skills in antiracism situational role play, small group discussions, and meta-cognitive activities. Participants also received books on antiracism and an educators’ toolkit to DBT and antiracism. Descriptive analysis described results from the workshop application, pre/post-workshop survey, and 6-month follow-up survey. Results: Twelve educators completed the workshop application, with 10 educators reporting no history of antiracism trainings at their schools. Nine educators attended the workshop. Workshop feedback was overwhelmingly positive. A pre/post-workshop survey demonstrated growth in both teaching and use of all measured DBT skills and antiracism attitudes. Confidence in teaching and using DBT skills and changes in antiracism attitudes were sustained 6 months later. Five educators reported leading an antiracism initiative in their schools since the attendance of the workshop. Conclusion: A DBT-centered Train-the-Trainer antiracism workshop instilled confidence in educators to lead antiracism efforts, which resulted in the initiation of several initiatives in South Texas schools. Training educators, including teachers, counselors, and administrators, encouraged systemic antiracist change in school systems. The virtual training format may facilitate accessibility to educators who lack access to trainings; however, it may also add difficulty in building community among participants.

Keywords

  • dialectical behavioral therapy
  • education
  • racism
  • school based service

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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