Meaghan D. Cochrane
EDCI 813: Philosophy of American Education
Kansas State University
All too often, misguided and misused blanket statements negatively impact an entire demographic, population, culture, or subculture. In describing diversity, our words are often shielded by a blanket of overused, and often inaccurate terminologies.
Within the classroom setting, diverse student populations are frequently targeted as slow learners, culturally deprived or disadvantaged, at risk, challenging students, or as individuals who are simply incapable of performing as well as their peers.
By placing limitations on the perceived potential of diverse student populations, educators and administrators, alike, are at fault for their lack of intercultural competence.
Because misguided and misinformed blanket statements often negatively impact students of diverse populations, I created a “blanket of diversity” in hopes of encouraging educators and administrators to look beyond blanket statements in order to recognize that all students– regardless of race, ethnicity, culture or socioeconomic status– have the potential to excel both in and outside of the classroom setting.
As a result, I created a final project that depicts a visual representation of the unique talents, interests and experiences of students of diverse populations, as shared with me by English Language Learners (ELL) kindergarten students from
USD 475, Morris Hill Elementary School.
The goal of my final project was to depict the unique talents, interests and experiences of ELL students by giving them the prompt, “When I Grow Up, I Want to Be…” and then having them illustrate their occupation of choice.
After the students were finished with their illustrations, they then dictated, in their own words, to the classroom teacher, or in one instance, a translator, their thoughts and feelings about what they wanted to be when they grew up.
After completing my project, I visited the students of USD 475 during an awards assembly, and presented them with Star Student Awards, and the blanket of their illustrations.
Following the awards assembly, I read the class Dr. Seuss’ book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, which reads: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go.”
I hope that the students of USD 475 will someday look back on this experience and recognize their unique talents and abilities– just as I will for years to come.