The Personal And Collective Transformation Of Teachers by: Sonia Nieto Presented by: Nancy Hian and Brian Kehoe BLMC 672 May 18, 2009 Claudia Peralta-Nash CTEL/CLAD
Education is a Political Act
It focuses on questions of power, privilege and access
Concerns decisions and actions that effect who, what and how we teach
Education is about political commitment and social responsibility
Transformations begin as political commitments on the part of teachers rather than a “technical activity”
Q: Why are you a teacher?
The majority of teachers choose the profession due to a profound commitment to the success of young people. Q: How do we commit ourselves to these young people? Through relationships .
Fair View High School (FVHS) is a continuation high school that focuses on 3 main ideas that support social relationships
Respect ( for yourself and others)
Responsibility (for your choices and actions)
Resiliency (the ability to bounce back from adversity)
Small school setting (270)
Students have greater accessibility to teachers and administrators
After school programs to support academic success
Life Skills and Orientation courses
Q: How do you build and support relationships with your students?
The Personal and Collective Transformation of Teachers is a collection of graduate students’ journal reflections 6 components of “transformation” are outlined in Nieto’s essay Confronting One’s Identity Becoming a Learner of Students Identifying with Students Becoming Multicultural Challenging Racism and Other Biases Developing a Community of Critical Friends
Confronting One’s Identity
Teachers in the United States, who are primarily White, middle-class and monolingual, have had limited experiences with diverse populations, and they frequently perceive of diversity in a negative way. (Zeichner and Hoeft, 1996).
Being a member of a cultural or racial minority does not necessarily guarantee that you will be able to identify or understand with students.
Q: What is the ethnic makeup of teachers at your school site? In the U.S. 75% of teachers are female, white and only fluent in English
Recognizing and confronting one’s privileges can be painful and discouraging.
Native English speaking teachers need to examine the “privileges” that they have inherited and understand how these privileges effect their perception. (Ann Scott)
Not suffer discrimination because of their native language
Know they can survive/thrive without learning a second language
Be rewarded for learning a second language (Bilingual)
Teachers who can identify with students culturally may not need to work as hard because they can draw on their past experiences and therefore better understand the feelings and perspectives of their students. Teachers need to develop their identity in order to relate more closely to their students.
Becoming a Learner of Students Teaching and Learning needs to be a reciprocal process. Teacher’s become actively engaged in learning through their interactions with students. This, in turn, focuses on building relationships.
To become learners, teachers need to:
Learn about their students
Learn with their students
Q: How have you become a learner in your classroom? Teachers need to be authoritative not authoritarian . Authoritative = knowledgeable, clear and direct in their interactions Authoritarian = controlling and demanding
It is impossible for a teacher to be “trained” to be culturally responsive. Teachers need to learn what can help their students learn and then change their teaching accordingly. Students can spot negative attitudes and false intentions. Cultural “learning” needs to happen intrinsically. Example: Francis Kendall (1996) told a story of a white teacher who washed her hands every time she touched a black student. Her negative beliefs were communicated to her students through this subtle behavior.
Teachers should know about their students’
Lives outside of school
Families and cultures
View of the world
Values and dreams for the future
This learning can be done WITH and not only FOR or ABOUT students.
Identifying with Students Students are empowered as learners when they can identify with school and with their teachers. “ When a teacher becomes a teacher, she acts like a teacher instead of a person. She takes her title as now she’s mechanical, somebody just running it. Teachers shouldn’t deal with students like we are machines. You’re a person, I’m a person. We come to school and we all [should] act like people.” (Nieto, pg. 498) Q: How is culture shared between you and your students? Teachers can explore their family history and immigration as a way of connecting with culturally diverse students.
Educators should build on their personal experiences, not as teachers but as people, with particular history and strengths.
Examples of personal experiences that can be easily transferred to the classroom:
Involvement in culturally diverse relationships
Participation in cultural events and celebrations
Understanding of cultural leaders and figures
Becoming Multicultural If teachers do not demonstrate through their actions and behaviors that they truly value diversity, students can often times tell. To becoming a multicultural person, teachers need to broaden their understanding about the world in general. They need to value the experiences and realities of others. Educators need to focus on the lives and priorities of those that are different. Q: What have you done to explore your diversity?
Challenging Racism and Other Biases Teachers need to discover the biased and racist ideologies that exist. To challenge racism and bias can mean upsetting “ business as usual” Educators need to carefully analyze school policies and practices as well as the ideologies behind them, then attempt to change those that are unfair. The following graph demonstrates how educators can work toward equity pedagogy. Q: Does racism, sexism or homophobia exist in your classroom?
Developing a Community of Critical Friends Teachers who can develop respectful, but critical, relationships with peers will be better able to provide support to their school. Nieto discusses her philosophical change in interaction with colleagues. Her initial belief was that teachers should avoid negative lunchroom banter regarding students but now feels it best to engage in conversations to change the discourse toward the students they teach. Q: What do you talk about during lunch? Collective relationships among teachers are needed in order to make meaningful change.
“ Conflict is the midwife of consciousness” Q: Is conflict necessary for change to take place? Teachers need to experience transformations in order to become effective and meaningful multicultural educators. To make this transformation teachers need to: