I believe that multicultural education is the backbone of the classroom. There is so much potential for learning when the teacher focuses on multicultural education. I really did not know much about multicultural education and the concept of it until we talked about it in class. I have realized how important it actually is in the classroom. I plan on teaching in southern Iowa so there could be a chance that there will not be a lot of diversity. However, as a teacher, it will be my responsibility to find out exactly where my students come from and what their background is. I want to teach lower elementary. Most of my students will probably not know what culture is. I will have to teach them what culture is and that it can be represented many different ways. Educators need to focus their teaching and lessons around multicultural education because students will be exposed to so much beneficial information.
How have my thoughts changed about being a multicultural educator?
Before this class, I honestly never thought about multicultural education. I have learned so much about how I need to approach my students as an educator. I know that I need to incorporate every one of my students' cultures into the classroom. They need to feel like they belong and that they are represented. I know that I need to expose my students to different cultures so they are familiar with their peers' backgrounds. I can do this by having students work with those who are not of their culture or race. I love group work and I think students can learn so much from one another. Another thing I can do to represent my students in the classroom is hang up posters or pictures of the cultures in my classroom. That way students are always exposed to them and they can always be reminded where their peers come from.
Chapter 1 Terms:
Approaches to Multicultural Education:
Transformation Approach- The transformation approach is taking an idea that has been introduced in the classroom and trying to incorporate it into a lesson so that the students can see first hand why a culture does something the way they do or why they do it. I like this approach because students get a chance to participate in something from another culture.
Enculturation- Enculturation is becoming familiar with a culture by understanding their language, how they act and what they believe. This is an important term because I may have a student in my future classroom that is not familiar with American culture and they will have to become familiar with it. I will most likely have a big part in that being their teacher.
John Dewey & Democracy in Education
Marginalization- Marginalization is when something is not part of the norm or accepted by others. This term is important in a bad way. Nobody should ever marginalize anyone else just because they are different than you or they have a different background. Too many students get marginalized in the classroom by other students or even teachers. I will teach my students that marginalization is not okay.
Chapter 3 Terms:
Social capital- Social capital is all about who you know and the connections you have with other people. Having a lot of social capital means you respect and trust a lot of people. The lower class has the least amount of social capital.
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act 1986- This law requires that public schools have to recognize the educational rights of homeless children and they have to be protected. The school has to provide transportation for these students. Homeless students cannot be turned away from being enrolled in school. I love this act because there could be a good chance that I may have a homeless child in my future classroom. Knowing that every homeless child can get an education because of this act makes me so happy!
Upper class, upper middle class, lower middle class, working class, underclass- These are all of the different classes that we can fall under. Of course the deciding factor of where you fall is money. It is important for me, as a teacher, to understand the differences of these classes because I could have every class represented in my future classroom. I think it is important for my students to know the differences in the classes as well because then they might understand why a student is dressed a certain way or why they act a certain way.
Chapter 7 Terms:
Standard American English- SAE is referred to as the conventions to American English writing and spelling. When I think of SAE I think of the video we watched in class about it. I understand that English is not everyone's first language. However, I believe that if a student is going to school in the United States that they should know how to speak standard American English.
Bilingualism- Bilingualism is the ability to speak two languages. I think it is a good idea for teachers to be able to be bilingual because there are so many ELL students in schools now. I said above that I believe students should speak standard American English, but in some situations such as emergencies or if a student is really struggling with English, a teacher could speak to the student in their home language.
Videos: Native Americans/Thanksgiving/Columbus- Watching this video really opened by eyes to how much of America gets people's culture and backgrounds wrong or they are lacking information. It was hard watching the Native Americans get frustrated talking about the Thanksgiving holiday and Christopher Columbus. I will have a duty in my classroom to teach my students why we celebrate certain holidays and the actual meaning behind them. None of my students should feel marginalized or get frustrated when talking about their culture in the classroom. I want my students to be proud of their culture.
Chapter 11 Terms:
Bias- Biases are prejudices against a certain thing, person or group. Biases can be good and bad but in the classroom there are usually bad. Teachers need to avoid biases towards students because every student needs to be treated fairly. Biases can come about a few different ways. Every teacher should aim to shit their biases off when they enter the classroom.
Hidden curriculum- Hidden curriculum is the unwritten rules that guide behaviors and attitudes expected of the students at school. When it comes to hidden curriculum, I think it is important that teachers make sure the students know the attitudes expected of them. Hidden curriculum encourages diversity and positive relationships between students and teachers.
InTASC Standards- The InTASC standards are core teaching standards that outline what teachers should be able to do to make sure that every student kindergarten through twelfth grade is ready to go to college. I have worked with the InTASC standards a lot throughout my time at Graceland in class, my methods classes and my practicum. I really like these standards because they are specific as to what is expected of the teacher in the classroom. I feel like any student, from any culture or background, can be covered with these InTASC standards.
What is the most valuable term/concept/experience and why?
I believe that the most valuable term/concept/experience is the transformation approach. There is a difference between just talking about things from different cultures and actually doing something with them. I think it will be very important for me to incorporate lessons into my classroom dealing with culture so the students can experience it first hand. Lower elementary students will most likely not remember a manifestation from another culture if we just talk about it. Also, students will have a lot more fun if they actually get to do an activity and learn it kinesthetically.
How will my own identity influence my approach to teaching? What biases must I negotiate?
My own identity can make a big influence in my teaching. I am a young, white woman so some little boys may not think that they can connect with me. Being a woman also sometimes makes me feel like that my opinion doesn't matter. That might make me hold back and I do not want to be like that. I can only speak English so if I have students in my class whose first language is not English I may also have trouble connecting with them. I will do everything I can to build a positive relationship with all of my students. I come from a middle class family and I have been raised on those values. Most of my future students will probably come from the middle class. However, if there are students that come from an upper class family I am not exactly sure how to approach some of the situations I may have with them just because I do not really know anything about their values and life. I need to become familiar with upper class families so I know how to approach these children. I am more comfortable with a child who is from a lower class family because I have been exposed to many students like that already. The one thing I am most nervous for is my biases. Before this class, I had never really thought about any biases. However, I know that I do have a few. I will do my best to shut my biases off every morning when I walk into the classroom. Each of my students deserves a fair chance in the classroom. I know that I will accompany biases along the way but I will push them to the side. I will make sure to not ask teachers about students coming into my classroom because I want my students to have a clean slate with me. I believe that boys and girls should be treated fairly in the classroom.
Questions I Still Have
How can I incorporate the social action approach into a lower elementary classroom and still keep it appropriate for my students?
How do I handle parents from the upper class if they believe that their child deserves more than what they are getting at school?
Other than food, is there anything else I can bring to school for children who live in poverty who do not have anything?
"We are all different, which is great because we are all unique. Without diversity, life would be very boring." -Catherine Pulsifier
On top of all of this, there are even more serious issues that I may have to deal with in my future classroom. Chapters 2,4,5 and 8 go more in depth in ethnicity and race, gender, sexual orientation and religion.
What has changed about your thoughts on the role of being a teacher/multicultural educator since midterm?
I would not say that my thoughts have changed a whole lot, but they have deepened due to how serious the chapters were that we read. I have thought more about the ethnicity and race chapter than the others. I feel like ethnicity and race are the most relevant to me and the area that I plan to teach in. I understand that being a multicultural educator is extremely important in the classroom.
which critical concepts have contributed to the changes in your thinking about teaching? why?
Chapter 2 Terms
Minority Group- This is a group of people that are different from the social dominant group. I believe that this term is very relevant to me and my future classroom because there is a good chance that I will teach students that belong to the minority group. I will have to understand that these students may feel distant or separated from the dominant group students that are in the classroom. It will be my responsibility to include these students in class and keep them engaged. I believe the most important thing for these students is making sure that the content is relevant to them.
Discrimination- This is the denial of the privileges and rewards of society to members of a group (p. 380); After reading many articles in class, I understand that discrimination is still happening in schools. There are many students that feel discriminated against at all ages. As a teacher, I will try my hardest to make sure that everything is fair for all students. I never want any of my students to feel like something isn't fair to them. I also want my students to understand what discrimination is so they know to never do it to anyone else.
"Doll Experiment (white doll/black doll) video"- In this video, people showed children dolls of different races. The students were asked a variety of questions such as which is the pretty doll, which is the ugly doll, which doll would you choose to play with, etc. Almost all of the students, if not all of them, said that the white doll was the pretty doll and the doll that they would choose to play with. This video made me angry because I do not like how African American students think that they are bad and not pretty. I want all students to think they are all pretty. However, I believe that children think what they hear is always true and I think these students have heard other people saying that white people are better than black people. I want students in my classroom to want to play with everyone, not just one race.
Chapter 4 Terms
Socialization-This is the process of learning the social norms and expectations of culture and society (p. 388); The book said that most children are socialized by the age of 3. These children are socialized by their parents. I chose this term because I want to teach kindergarten. I will have to directly deal with these socialized students. I believe that sometimes it may be hard to agree with how some parents socialize their children. I may struggle with trying to teach some students a different way to do things. Page 114 talks about how some schools take on the "mothering role" and I believe that I may fall under that. I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing.
Sexism-This is the belief that males are superior to females. (p. 122) I believe that sexism is still a very popular thing that happens way too often. Being a teacher, there are not many male teachers so most people probably do not think that sexism takes place in schools. However, female teachers get ridiculed all of the time just because they are women. I really want sexism to stop being a reoccurring thing to happen to women. I do not think that I will have a sexism incident in a lower elementary classroom. If I do, I will address what sexism is with the entire class so they understand it.
Masculinity and Femininity Standards- This is similar to sexism. However, this goes more into how men and women act. The reason I do not like these standards because they make everyone think that boys need to act one way and girls need to act another way. I want my students to believe that they can act whatever way they want to. If a girl wants to act tough and strong then they should be able to act that way.
Chapter 5 Terms
LBGTQ- This stands for lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and questioning. I chose this term because I fall under it. I may not have a future student that will identify in this group but I could absolutely have parents or co-workers who do. I think it is important that this group be represented in my future school. Times are changing and this group is rapidly growing. I believe that this group needs to feel safe in their school and their community.
The Story of Jazz- This is the story of a girl that was born a boy. I chose this term because there could be a chance that I could have a transgendered student in my classroom. I will support this student 100%, but it will depend on the student's parents. I am hoping that the parents will be supportive of their child. If they don't, it will be hard for me not to support the student. I do not want to make the parents mad however.
Homophobia- This is a fear to homosexuals that leads to prejudice, discrimination and violence. (p. 382); I believe that many people are homophobic, especially in small, rural towns, which is the type of town that I plan on teaching in. I do not want any parent to be scared for me to be their child's teacher. I am nervous for an incident like this happening and I am not sure exactly how I will address it. I hope that homophobia keeps decreasing as the LBGTQ community keeps growing.
Chapter 8 Terms
Impact of religion on working with parents/community- The community has the most influence on the religion of the town. Obviously religion cannot be taught in schools, however, it does impact the beliefs of the students. I think it is important for teachers to understand what the dominant religion is in a town so we can understand what our students believe.
School prayer- I know that there is to be no praying in schools. However, if a student wants to lead a prayer in class I cannot tell them no. Whenever I think of praying at school, I think of a vigil where there has been a car accident and the students want to get together to pray. I believe that they should be able to. I want my students to understand that praying is not allowed in schools but there are certain situations where praying is okay.
Religious Pluralism in the US- I did not know all of the religions that we talked about in class. Learning about these religions made me realize that I could have students in my future class that practice a religion that I am not familiar with. I will need to understand what kind of religions are in the community that I teach in. All of my students are going to be different and I need to know their backgrounds.
of all the critical terms/concepts/experiences to which you have been exposed since midterm-which have you found the most valuable and why?
The experience that caught my attention the most was the "Doll Experiment" video. Watching this video really opened my eyes to how students feel about themselves and their friends. If I have black students in my future classroom, I never want them to feel like they don't belong or they aren't special. I believe that kindergarten teachers have a responsibility of making sure that students understand that no one race is better than another. I want all of my students to be comfortable and accepting of one another. I never want any of my African American students to feel left out.
how will your own identity influence my approach to teaching?
The biggest obstacle I believe that I will have with my teaching career is my sexuality. I am still not sure how to address my sexuality with my future students and their parents. I believe that it is important for the parents to know about it. I do not believe that this obstacle will affect my teaching practice in any way. I have no biases towards straight people or the LGBTQ community. Another obstacle I may have that relates straight to the classroom is will be making sure all races and minorities are included. This will depend on the different minorities and races in my classroom. The most important thing that I will have to do is get to know all of my students on a personal level. After I do that, I will have to get to know their interests. I am confident in including my students in the classroom and everyone getting along.
what things do you still have questions about or do not completely understand?
Should I tell my students and their parents about my sexuality?
How do I address religion in the classroom if it comes up?
philosophy of multicultural education
I believe that multicultural education is going to be extremely important in my future practice. Depending on the area I teach in, there may be more emphasis on some areas than others. I believe that the biggest things I will need to focus on is language and race and ethnicity. Language is important because there are many bilingual students in schools today due to immigration. It will be important for me to let students speak or write in their home language at times. This is how students express themselves. I think it is especially important in lower elementary grades because that is all they know. I also think race and ethnicity is important because schools are so diverse with many different races represented. It will be crucial for me to