Diversity In the Classroom:How can I make a difference?
“Diversity: The art of thinking independently together. “ Malcolm Forbes Pre-Service Survey
There exists an inequality of the educational opportunities provided to children who live within the inner city.Many teachers who are raised in suburbancommunities, are not properly cultivated towork in urban schools with children of color.
The Inequality in SchoolsWhat makes the difference, when the school is underfunded? www.youtube.com Inequality In Schools- Oprah Winfrey
We as educators must be able to provide the quality education needed to prepare our students for the future. When we fail:The students become victims and are ill-suited to compete in a global society.
A teacher must prepare themselves to receive whatever may enter his or her classroom in the form of a child. Unless, one is willing to concede that intodays society, racism and prejudice still existin the hearts and minds of many teachers, the judgments concerning poverty, ghetto culture and people of color are forever embedded in the forefront of their thoughts. ( (Irving, 2006)
I Have A Dream“My four little children will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” www.youtube.com Short Version I Have a Dream – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The lack of knowledge concerning students who live in urban communities also play a contributing factor in the inequality of education provided to them. There are several unacceptable beliefs as towhy the juncture of circumstances differs fromthe opportunities afforded to middle and upper class society.
Ladson-Billings in her book Yes, But How Do We Do It?writes of two terms which describe the assumptions often concluded by teachers concerning urban children.
Culturally Relevant The assumption which leads teachers to believe that an unsymmetrical relationship exists between urban children and society. These types of teachers feel that his or her purpose has become preparing students to fight injustice by actually being highly qualified and captiously vigilant.Students who are in classrooms with this type ofteacher, will sit in the class everyday and be viewed asa child who will exist in a continual battle of hardships.Having knowledge of these students circumstances isneeded, but should not be used as an excuse todisregard the pedagogy connected with learning thecore subject skills needed to succeed academically.
School Dependent Describes students who are thriving in school notwithstanding, the lack of funds to provide resources to fully educate a student. Students who are school dependent will most certainly fail in a school where there are a lack of funds and resources, if it were not for an excellent teacher. These students look to their education as their only way out of poverty and despair. Where there is a lack of funds, highly qualified teachers, who truly desire to see the success of their students without prejudice are needed.
“Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to live without.” William Sloane Coffin, Jr.
Prejudice To injure or damage by some judgment or action. When we see the color, not the child! When we see the behavior, not the need! When we see the lack of knowledge, not the desire to learn! When we see the culture, not the intestinal fortitude When we see a child, not our child!
Classism Prejudice or discrimination based on class When we look at where the student lives, not what he or she had to endure while attempting to get to school! When we look at what their parents do for a living, rather than, are they still alive, in prison, or addicted to drugs! The parents may have a job but are still considered poverty stricken. When we look at where they come from, and not where they are going!
Discussion: How would you respond?SCENARIO #1 STUDENT INFORMS TEACHER OF SITUATION AT HOME. FATHER WAS JUST ARRESTED AND MOM WAS GETTING HIGH ALL NIGHT. STUDENT IS SLEEPY FROM WATCHING SIBLINGS AND PREPARING THEM FOR SCHOOL AS WELL AS HERSELF STUDENT INFORMS YOU SHE HAS BEEN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED BEING JUMPED (INITIATED) INTO A GANG. STUDENT INFORMS YOU MOM HAD A DRUG PARTY LAST NIGHT AND WAS AFRAID TO GO TO SLEEP AFRAID SOMEONE MAY COME IN AND HURT HER.
All About Color wingclips.comAll About Color-Freedom Writers
It is only when the stereotypical myths concerning children who live in urban communities have been exposed andextinguished, will society begin to see the need for one person who can make a difference in a childs life.
Theory of Cultural Discontinuity Gail Thompson A theory that contends there is a conflict between the home culture of students of color and the culture of a school. Students are measured or compared to the middle-class society. If students of color do not speak or carry themselves according to a certain standard, they face discrimination and cultural misunderstanding.
HARLEM Langston Hughes What happens to a dream deferred?Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or Fester like a sore, and then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?
There are diverse negative cultures that exist within various cultures. The street life-theory of survival Drug life – the desire to make and have money. Single parent home life Sexual promiscuityIn the past children developed their attributes andcharacter from traditional community institutions,such as churches, community youth programs andschool.
The rules that apply in educational institutions are totally different from the rules that exist on the street, and often times the home. The many strategies that are provided to help students understand school rules and abide by them while in the building should also be presented in a way that will allow those students to utilize the same strategies to avoid problems that may be detrimental in their community. While teaching conflict resolution, one must remember, children who live in low income communities, abide by the law, an eye for an eye!Self preservation has always been the first law of nature.
LIST STRATEGIES THAT Are USED IN SCHOOL THAT CAN BE USED IN THE COMMUNITY AS WELL
Some teachers often believe that students who are not doing well in school are hindered because he or she does not have someone at home who care about their performance in school. A sad misconception about most parents of children who live in urban communities is that they are ignorant and unlearned. Another false perception is that these parents because they are unlearned or uneducated is that they do not value education. There are many parents who desire to be involved but are not able. Many parents work crazy hours. Some may not have the resources to aid in assignments sent home.
There are many reasons why some parents who desire to be involved, are not. Many parents work crazy hours. Some may not have the resources to aid in assignments sent home. As an educator we should ask ourselves:When a parent does show an interest in their childs education, are they warmly greeted?When parents request to volunteer in the classroom, are they welcomed in?When homework assignments are sent home, is the teacherwilling to explain to the parent as well as the student what needs to be done, and how to do it? We often complain about parents not being more involved intheir childs education, but they are not treated congenial upon entering the school building!
DiscussionAS A TEAM LIST IDEAS THAT CAN BE USED TO MAKE A PARENT FEEL COMFORTABLE ON CAMPUS AND ALSO STRATEGIES TO GET PARENTS INVOLVED IN THEIR CHILD’S EDUCATION
“Lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than outright rejection.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
PARENTAL SUPPORT STRATEGIES Parent Communication. Communication between parents and teachers should be two-way, frequent, and meaningful. Communication should also invite parents to share ideas, help form school goals and clarify institutional expectations. When communication is frequent and high-quality, parents evaluation of their child’s teacher, level of comfort with their child’s school, and involvement in school-based activities are all substantially higher. Support for Parenting. Decisions parents make about diet, entertainment, healthcare, and discipline correlate with different outcomes in terms of student learning. Many schools provide parent education and support programs to help parents build more effective, developmentally appropriate parenting skills.
Engaging Parents in Student Learning. When parents help teach their child, the parents not only improve the child’s skills, but they also increase their own feelings of competence, which, in turn, motivates students to perform better still. When teachers send home strategies and suggestions of ways parents could support learning, parents often respond favorably. In general, the more schools engage parents in specific student learning tasks, the more likely student achievement is to improve. This includes parent involvement in homework tasks as well as helping students adopt regular study and homework routines. Involving Parents in Volunteering. Engaging parents and caregivers in school-based volunteer opportunities is usually one of the first ways that parents and school personnel envision “parent involvement.” In reality, parent volunteering is one kind of parent involvement that demonstrates little impact on student learning, but volunteering can be an important way to build linkages between parents and schools that lead to more family engagement overall. Involving Parents in Making Decisions. Like volunteering, parent and caregiver involvement in school decision-making impacts student achievement largely because it builds relationships between caregivers and schools that encourage adults to become involved in student learning. For example, when student achievement in districts that involved parents in decision-making to adopt a new reading program is compared to student achievement in districts that did not involve parents, the districts that involved parents and caregivers in decisions about implementing the program and strategies for reinforcing the program at home had significantly higher reading scores.8
The Qualified Teacher There are many studies that connect teacher qualifications to student academic achievement.The quality of the teacher has a strong impact on the quality of education provided to the students
Qualified teachers in the classroom are one of the most important factors when addressing student achievement. Building strong relationships between students and teachers Children can sense when an adult is being genuine with them. Knowledgeable teachers, who are well prepared to present a lesson to a student, who have literally no emotional or personal relationship with their students will never break through with a child who has been let down by every adult in his or her life.
Students work harder for teachers who show true concern for them. Most students who live in urban communities, must be able to recognize when someone is sincere, solely for their own protection on the street. Children from the ghetto find it very difficult to openly and hurriedly place trust in others.
High Expectations, you as a teacher must first believe the student can succeed. An educators expectations of his or her students deeply affect the caliber of learning occasions given to students. Teachers who have very little confidence concerning his or her own teaching capabilities are most likely to possess very low expectations for their students.
All classrooms are filled with diversity. It is important to know that there are no two people or students who learn exactly the same. Recognizing the differences in his or her own personal beliefs and that of their students should lead a good teacher to know more about the culture of the groups he or she is teaching, and have high expectations for every student, regardless of color or station in life.
Teachers must understand, when a child grows up in the ghetto, life experiences can also be a lesson to them. The expectations a teacher sets in the classroom can determine whether a student succeeds or fails. One can not simply allow a student to just sit and do nothing. An educator has the obligation of making sure each of their students perform at their best.
Many urban students who can not conform to the aspirations of the educators pedagogies, are often labeled at-risk. Once labeled, students are often referred for special education services, or have various interventions presented to them. When one looks in to the criteria for students to be considered at-risk, it is determined that the standards in which one may be labeled has hardly anything to do with the students cognition, but rather his or her socioeconomic backgrounds.
All students can learn, some at different paces, some by using various strategies. It is the teachers responsibility to identify what strategies work best for each individual student.
“Human diversity makes tolerance more than a virtue; it makes it a requirement for survival.” Rene Dubos
What expectations do you set in your classroom? Are you teaching enough to make the lower income student a minimal employee or are you preparing them to become major employers? Are you giving the underachiever the permission to settle for whatever life presents or are you challenging them to design their own destiny?The respect and expectations of a student from hisor her classroom teacher can encourage thatstudent so much that their classroom experiencewill take precedence over what society says thatstudents future should be!
Teachers should be encouraged to not close their minds to the obvious reality of life in the poverty. And one should not spend a great deal of time looking for answers to why things are what they are, but rather spend time focusing on what you, as an educator can do to make the life of a struggling child better.
Neglect, abuse, homelessness, hunger and fear are what some people face daily, and not just children of color, but every race. Teachers only need to be there for them,approaching them with a positive outlook, and asmiling face filled with compassion and concern, but never pity.
Classroom ManagementMuch research has been done pertaining to classroom discipline and management, however, the most effective program in my opinion is “Capturing Kids’ Hearts”Building relationships with children are vital to educating them. Getting to know who they are through personal relationships go much farther than constantly sending to the office or even suspension.
Classroom Management “Capturing Kids Hearts” "If you have a child’s heart, you have his head."™ - Flip Flippen Truly remarkable outcomes are possible in a classroom where trust, respect, and caring relationships flourish. But creating such an environment is a tremendous challenge. Capturing Kids’ Hearts is a learning experience that provides tools for administrators, faculty and staff to build positive, productive, trusting relationships- among themselves and with their students. These processes can transform the classroom and campus environment, paving the way for high performance.
PITY IS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NO HOPE!AS A TEACHER YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO GERNERATE HOPE IN EVERYSTUDENTS LIFE, BECAUSE YOU HOLD THE KEY TO THEIR SUCCESS, AND THAT KEY IS EDUCATION!
I AM HOMEFREEDOM WRITERS wingclips.com I Am Home-Freedom Writers
References Anderson-Moore, K. (2006). Defining the Term “At-Risk”, Research-to Brief Results. Child Trends, 1-3. Dalzin, V. A. (2010, February). Cultivating an Academic Image. In My Opinion. Principal Leadership, 64-67. Garrison-Wade, D., Lewis, C. W. (2006). Tips for School Principals and Teachers, Helping Black Students Achieve. In J. Landsman, C. W. Lewis (Eds.), White Teachers/Diverse Classrooms (pp. 150-161). Sterling, Virginia. Stylus Publishing, LLC. Goldhaber, D., Hannaway, J. (n. d.). Creating a New Teaching Profession. UI Press. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/books/newteachinprofession/chapter1.cfm Norman, A. J. (2003). Disaggregating the High-Risk Youth Category: Toward a Definition of Proven-Risk Youth. Project Footprints. Retrieved from http://www.projectfootprints.com/portfolio/writ-provenriskdefined.html Payne, R. K. (1996). A Framework for Understanding Poverty. Highlands, TX. Aha! Process, Inc. Payne, R. K. (2009). How the Environment of Poverty (Having Fewer Resources) Impacts Cognition and Learning. Aha! Process, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.ahaprocess.com Payne, R. K. (2009). Ten Dynamics of Poverty That Undermine School Success and What Schools Can Do About Those Barriers. Aha! Process, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.ahaprocess.com Riddile, M. (2010, January). The Best Things May Be Free. Principal Leadership, 64-66. Copyright 2011 Mia L Clark
References cont. Toppo, G. (2003, July). The face of the American teacher, White and female, while her students are ethnically diverse. USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/educate/college/eduaction/articles/20030706.htm Vannick, A. (n.d.). White Teachers in Minority Schools: Understanding Their Own Racism as A Prerequisite. Retrieved from http://www.macalester.edu/educationreform/publicinterllectualessay.ellossay.pdf