Embrace Diversity by Andrea Graham

After multiple readings during this course it has helped me be more mindful about race and expectations in the classroom.   How people were treated in the past when it comes to education has a major effect on how things are facilitated now.  There were many injustices in early forms of education for ethnic groups outside of Europeans.  There have been many struggles and fights to get to education system we have now.  The Brown vs. Board decision was a huge hurdle for African Americans and other races as well.  The Supreme Court decision to require all school to desegregate so that every child could have access to quality education was a monumental moment in educational history. Having a good grasp of what injustices groups have endured in the past helps to give a clear picture of the effort that must be put forth in order to stay mindful of these situations currently.

Being a minority myself I have experienced discrimination first hand, as a child and as an adult.  I know how it feels to be made to feel as if I wasn’t worthy based on the fact that my skin is brown or because I am a female.  Also by having a multiracial family I feel that makes me more cognizant of issues today.

I feel that some minority students may have an assumption that they are going to be treated a certain way based on past experiences and the rise of white privilege.  I feel this can also affect not only people of different race but also religion, sex or economic status. I would like to teach children to embrace and celebrate each other’s differences, that’s what makes us unique.

In my classroom I plan on making it culturally responsive by including music from around the world during book reading time, quiet moments and during transitions.  I also will encourage group work for students of different backgrounds.  I am a big advocate for arts. Ensuring that my classroom is equipped with paint, crayons and other art supplies that can represent a variety of skin colors is essential.  I love reading out loud and plays, there are many different cultural plays, books and musicals that I can include as a supplement to my curriculum in order to enhance it.  I will also have a reading corner that has a variety of books from different cultures that can help children see differences as well as similarities within ethnics.  Another way to incorporate their backgrounds is to invite parents in to speak to the class in order to share a bit of their history.  In one classroom I observed a bulletin board where they did student of the week.  They put a picture of a child in the middle of the board and there were different things put on the board that told all about that student.  The board included their history, favorite things and family life.  The other students in the classroom were also asked to write something about the student of the week as well.  Not only is this great for cultural awareness it also boosts self-esteem and self-awareness.

  “It’s not enough to say I’m going to treat everyone equally.” (Dr. Goodson, White Privilege Coffee Talk).  Everyone will say that they will treat everyone fairly, including myself.  I am fully aware that a teacher having a preconceived negative notion can greatly hinder a child’s academic progress and self-esteem.  Children will create a more positive association with a teacher if the teacher is engaged, and offering a culturally sound classroom.   By staying abreast of current issues as well as attending cultural in-services and conferences I feel that I can present an open minded and culturally diverse classroom.

 

A link to an article about Equality in the Classroom:

http://math.coe.uga.edu/tme/issues/monograph1/mono1_Reed.pdf

 A traditional African Folk Tale:

https://youtu.be/PcKelcbas9s

Middle Eastern music for classroom use:

https://youtu.be/Xf-F8OuMLlI

 Great resource for finding culturally diverse books for classrooms:

http://blog.leeandlow.com/2015/03/23/where-to-find-culturally-diverse-literature-to-pair-with-your-required-curriculum/

 

 

 

Classroom Outlook by Andrea Graham

Even though it’s only been 3 weeks, I feel like I have learned so much.  One idea  that has really stuck with me has been that of a progressive classroom.  Progressivism is one of the four main Philosophy’s of Education.  It focuses on actively engaging the student through student lead learning and applying it in real world scenarios.  This is something that can be put into place in today’s classrooms!  I love the idea of students getting to add input of what they’d like to learn and then being able to get hands on with their own ideas.  I also recognize that being able to bring our community into the classroom is something that is integral to moving forward and helping students become great citizens.

By asking students what they want to learn it helps to put them in the drivers seat.  Some kids really enjoy science.  There are many educational groups that provide science labs for classrooms.  In one class I was able to visit they got to study the life cycle of a crawdad.  During this unit the students got to observe the crawdads and hold them if they wished.  They also got to learn about their biology and what they ate.

Another class I got to assist with really wanted to do a science experiment that included an explosion, so I got creative and was able to come up with a foam “explosion” for them! (See photo of students with safety goggles)

Another way I can lead my class to be progressive is by asking what type of community projects they’d like to be involved in.  These could include cleaning up a park, making valentines for residents of long-term health facility, organizing a clothing drive or helping in a local community garden.  I also plan to structure my classroom in a way that promotes group learning.  Instead of placing desks in a traditional setting I’d like to group them together to encourage students to work with another, especially for brainstorming.

I feel if a student can see the work that they have put forth and the impact they have made that it will greatly increase their self-worth.

Foam Experiment