Deculturalization: Happening Then and Now – by: Lisa Chapas

One of the main concepts that we talked about during the last 3 weeks that I found very interesting was about our history with deculturalization.  Deculturalization is the process of getting rid of a people’s culture and replacing it with a new one.  There are 4 main groups of people this has targeted:  African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Mexican Americans.  I was very disturbed that our country thought so little of other cultures, especially since the European people came to this country to find freedom from oppression.  How ironic that we then oppress other groups of people coming to this country whom are seeking the same freedom.  It saddens me when I read about Native Americans and the boarding schools that literally stripped these people of their culture.  They were forced to change their names, cut their hair, and change their clothing so that they would look like Europeans.  With each of the other three groups, they did some of the same things, stressing the Colonial way of life as being the correct and only way.  Many don’t realize that some of these same things continue to happen even to this day.  Segregation and academic tracking in schools are both types of deculturalization.  We continue telling people that they are not good enough because they don’t look or talk like ‘us’.

While this is very upsetting, the good news is that there are teachers that are willing to stand up and say this is wrong.  When I become a teacher, I plan to teach my students about and respect all cultures.  I want my students to feel that their heritage is important and that they should be proud of who they are.  I want to emphasize historical characters of different cultural backgrounds and how they shaped society and the world for the better.  I will dedicate a space in the classroom where students can share pictures of family and cultural events.  I also want to celebrate a different country every month and talk about how that culture contributes to the wonderful melting pot we are today.  Through a celebration of our differences, I want to help my students grow into well rounded and educated citizens.

I have learned a lot about the history of our country in this class.  While we can’t change our past, we can learn from it, and hopefully not make the same mistakes in the future.  Now that I am more aware of concepts such as deculturalization, I will do my best to not be a part of the problem, but rather part of the solution.

The following link talks further about modern-day segregation in America’s public schools-

Modern-Day Segregation in Public Schools

Progressivism: A Great Change for Education – by: Lisa Chapas

Education philosophies are the very foundation of education.  Each has its own style, purpose, and benefits.  I have learned a lot about the various philosophies of education over the past 3 weeks.  Of these, progressivism is the one that stands out the most to me.  Progressivism is a student centered philosophy that focuses on real world problems and real world solutions.  It emphasizes hands-on activities which help to reinforce the subject matter through experiences.  While progressivism in and of itself has great value and benefit, it is only complimented when used in conjunction with aspects of the other philosophies of education.

The means by which a philosophy can be implemented in a classroom are abundant.  They are only limited by the teachers experience, imagination, and ability to articulate their teaching methods.  When I think about my future classroom and how I will implement a progressive philosophy, many thoughts come to mind.  With each subject comes a flood of great ideas.        For example, I view science as one of the best subjects where hands-on activities can be implemented.  Some of the activities I hope to engage my students in include planting seeds and watching and documenting their growth.  Studying lifecycles by watching tadpoles grow into frogs and caterpillars turn into butterflies are also excellent learning activities.  In math, we will play math related games that allow the children solve problems related to real life situations.  For language arts, I will implement reading clubs that involve the children in a number of ways.  At the beginning of the year, students will help select books for our reading list.  Children will then be divided into smaller ‘reading-club’ groups.  These groups will meet weekly and students will be encouraged to share with their group what they have been reading.

These are just a few examples of the ways I plan to implement a philosophy of progressivism into my future classroom.  If you would like to learn more about progressivism and how it could benefit your classroom, check out the links below.

Progressivism: Overview & Practical Teaching Examples

Five Steps to Create a Progressive, Student-Centered Classroom