In the time I have been keeping this blog my basic ideas have not changed, I still believe "Personal Responsibility" is the order of the day. I think it stands true fro every aspect of our society from the homeowner who borrowed to much to the loan officer who approved the homeowner for more than they could afford. From our leaders, teachers and police officers to the men, women and Children who spend their nights huddled together in shelters across America. The one thing we are missing in this great nation is personal responsibility.
Cultural and ethnic differences are a part of American society and have been since we gave the first small pox blanket to the Indians. We didn't start out on a good foot there but I believe for the most part we've made great strides in making a place for people to come here and live out their dreams. Is it harder for someone of a different background to come here and succeed? I don't think so, if we are truly rising above prejudices and teaching in a manner that asks a child to look within themselves to achieve what they want from life. Lead them and encourage them to reach levels never before thought possible, they will. If on the other hand we make excuses and exceptions for a child, force them to point out all the ways they are different, many of them will leave with a reduced sense of themselves. Let's be clear I am not saying a child shouldn't be proud of where they come from or that a child should shrug off their heritage for the sake of the accepted Anglo-Saxon traditions. I'm saying the choices to do so should be theirs, not part of some show in class so that the teacher can feel good about promoting differences. I truly think in a lot of cases this will do more harm than good, especially if a teacher is unfamiliar with the accepted practices of other ethnicity's. I think we as teachers should learn about other cultures if for no other reason to find out what drives them, what makes them tick. But we should do it to help lead those children in class, not to point out to the others in class how they are "Not like us".Question : How will you become an effective multicultural teacher? What teaching methods will you use to guarantee you are effective with your students?
I think I've already covered this, but I plan to teach students, not cultures. I believe every student just wants to be treated the same, regardless of differences in background. People from all over the world come here to enjoy our freedoms and learn from us. While we have much to learn from them I think we do it without placing the onus on them to explain their views, beliefs or customs. Children are sometimes awful and pointing out additional differences will sometimes only make it harder on a student who may already be experiencing alienation from peers because of the obvious differences. My teaching method will be to expect greatness from each child. By setting the bar high, but making goals achievable, you set them up for success rather than failure. The most important thing to a middle school child I believe is self-confidence. And by giving them goals they may think are out of reach but encouraging them to try harder and do more and ensuring success you will build a foundation of success they will take with them throughout life.
My educational blog, http://jenniferbarnett.edublogs.org/2007/08/23/letting-your-student-transform-you/, seems to cover a lot of topics about real world teaching. It is mostly observations she has made in teaching. From the need to adjust practices and teaching styles for a given class. She talks about her struggles to find time to go into deeper discussion with the class because of her need to stay on the basic vocabulary for the classes sake. It seems to me a real eye opener, in that, regardless of plans, regardless of want to, the kids in the class, and their abilities are going to dictate how much or how far a class delves into any one subject. Her solution to this one problem was to look outside herself and turn to technology. She found Quizlet, http://quizlet.com/, which was created by a kid who had a hard time with his own vocab. It is now the most fun part of the day for the kids and they actually learn the material. This is an example of teachers thinking outside the box, realizing they may not have all the tools necessary and finding them for the sake of those she teaches. I hope to be able to admit I may not have all the answers and be willing to look outside for help, for my own sake and that of the kids.