Thursday, April 15, 2010

Prompt #4 Johnson

As an aspiring culturally competent teacher, I must be aware of the diverse and cultural groups that may be represented in my classroom. I must investigate the sociocultural factors that may influence my students learning. Since no students enters the classroom without a personal history, I think it is quite obvious that no matter who you are, or where you go, that you’re going to encounter someone or something that you are not used too. I think that is part of life, and the way things work. As a teacher you might find yourself in some situation that you may have thought you would never be in. I think this comes into effect when a teacher who went to school in a different community or area, finds themselves teaching in a whole different atmosphere. As far as a teacher is concerned, they should be aware of the fact that No one enters a classroom without a personal history; thus, no one enters a classroom completely free of bias. I think that people are products of their environments and you are what you live in. Therefore in you were brought up one way, and for a while you may think that way is the only way, or right way, your wrong. Teachers have to be very open minded and be willing to learn and understand new ways of doing things.
Where I went to school as a child, that schools itself were not very diverse but my city was. I live in a relatively big city, and I feel as though we had a little bit of everything having to do with races and ethnicities. But depending on where you lived in the city, depended on what kind of kids you went to school with. Although I have always lived in the “better”, “nicer” end of the city, my parents put me in schools somewhere in the middle of the “bad” and “nice” parts of the city so that I could get the full public school experience, and I’m glad they did. I know some people who have never went to school with a black or Latino person up until college. And when they were in college they felt as though they did not know how to react to them. I am thankful that I never had to deal with that issue. My schools never had the best resources, and my high school had over 3,500 students in it. I think because of me going to school with many different kinds of students that it allows me now as an adult to be open minded and comfortable around all different kinds of people. I think people should be open to learning new things everyday and that as a teacher you have to really be open. What one may think about a certain kind of person of a particular race or ethnicity they might have a different opinion after working with one or meeting one. More over I would like to include the theorist Allan Johnson when discussing this issue, as I stated above it is very unlikely that someone can go through life without any kind of bias, therefore Johnson is his article, “ Our House is on Fire,” focuses mainly on how people say they are not racist in any way and that they have nothing to do with the problems around it, but in reality that is not the case. It is very important that as educators you go into a classroom as free of bias as possible and give every student the best support and education despite their personal histories. Johnson also says that one person cannot change the bias of people but if a person recognizes and accepts their own personal beliefs that eventually things could change. To promote tolerance, and celebrate difference.

Students should feel as though they are all unique in their own ways. That school should prepare them for their futures no matter, what school they go to or where they live. If I was the head teacher in my classroom where I tutor I think I would sometimes have issues with parents. They would probably think because I am white that I don’t completely understand their personal issues and hardships. Some parents might even think that I think I am better than them. The teacher in my classroom is a white woman. There are only about 2 white students in the class and the rest either Latino or African American and mixed races. But the assistant teacher in the room is an African American women. Right there though I think that is telling in itself because the head teacher in the class in white, but the assistant is black. Going into this experience I didn’t really have any misconceptions only because like I said before I went to school with all different types of children and people, so it really had no effect on me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Prompt # 3 Shor

As a teacher, I believe that it is extremely important to be aware, and acknowledge the individual and different specific needs of all of your students. Teachers should be open to the idea of being able to use a variety of different assessment techniques while making sure that their students are active and participating in them. Teachers should come up with as many different appropriate activities and assignments that they can to help their students succeed in any way they possibly can. Teachers should understand that their students are diverse learners and students may need to learn in different ways than others. Especially because they all come from different linguistic, ethnic, and sociocultural backgrounds.
Teachers need to accommodate the needs of their students. For example a student with different linguistics than most of the other children needs extra, and or special attention. The teacher could come up with ways to make the student understand better, or even take more time with this student before or after school. The teacher could send home specific homework assignments that would allow the student to practice on his/her free time. Moreover, at my elementary school where I tutor kindergarten students there are MANY students that speak another language other than English. The school does consist of mostly minority students. I also believe that for many of the students at this school that English was NOT there first spoken language. When I am tutoring my three students I pay special attention to one little girl. Over a few sessions with working with her I realized that she did not speak English, and that english was not her primary language at home. And that she was also in one of the bilingual classes at the school. She is my one student that has the most difficult with her studies as well. With her I will exaggerate things more and reinforce a lot of different concepts to her.
Also i believe that as teachers we should all consider the students ethnic and sociocultural backgrounds when we teach. We should consider all ethnicities and allow our students to ask questions and to actively participate in their learning. A theorist that comes to mind when I think of participating being an important aspect in a classroom in Ira Shor in his article, “Problem Posing: Situated and Multicultural Learning”, He believes that teachers should teach in such a way that the actual teaching process encourages students to question what they have been taught. For example when teaching a Spanish speaking bi- lingual student a social studies lesson in English where they might not completely understand, then repeat the lesson in their native language. Then have the student ask questions comparing and contrasting what they just learned in both languages.