- Even though I have really enjoyed these past three weeks, I feel like we really need to spend more time to learn about multicultural education in Alaska. I appreciated Angie when she mentioned that this class isn’t over after three weeks. We will have to spend some time reading and learning in order to become effective teachers. Each student is raised in a different home, and teachers need to do what it takes to make them feel welcome no matter where they come from. As Lisa Delpit noted in her book, teachers need to educate students by finding positive ways to connect to their own culture. Delpit also said that if an individual is struggling in school, appropriate instruction in school could resolve the problem. But the answer is not a “quick fix” solution. It will take a continual effort. We will have to learn who the children are, their cultures, and their interests. We will have to make our classroom like a family. We will have to make the students feel valued if they excel or made effort in doing so. It might even take building lifelong relationships in order to make a difference in their lives. The students in our classroom might never get the acknowledgement they receive in our classrooms. We will have to treat the school year as if it’s going to be the only year with our current students.
When it comes to teaching strategies, teachers need to provide a safe place for each student. Students need to be given the opportunity to learn from one another just like we learned about each other in our class here. Just like we were focused on our own personal lives, teachers need to skillfully find ways to fit the curriculum into the students’ backgrounds. It is critical to be sensitive to an individual’s background too.
- Meritocracy, Eurocentric, Deconstruction
I chose the words meritocracy, Eurocentric, and deconstruction. These words resonate my experience in the village school system. My teachers cared about their students, and they thought they did what was best for each student. Since the day I entered school, much of our class time was Eurocentric as classes like social studies and geography classes often focused on how the United States became the country. We learned a lot about England and why the United States became a separate country. We also learned a lot about the Native American cultures down in the lower 48, but there was no time invested on what happened to the Natives over the past few centuries. I also had to learn about the history of my hometown through my parents and grandparents. I used the word deconstruction on here as well since there was hardly any time invested on our Yup’ik culture in school. Fortunately, I had grandparents and elders who taught me outside of school. I also used the word meritocracy because we were all promised that if we work hard to become what we want, we would get it. It’s a great way to motivate students, but it can also be a great discourager to those who aren’t getting the best grades in school. Knowing my classmates, they all had the ability to graduate in school, but they didn’t have the best environment in their homes, which would cause them to not do well in school. As a result, most dropped out before graduating.
- Honestly, I don’t have any specific plans on how I am going to teach in a cultural responsive way. My main goal is to make each student feel valued. I will apply what I have learned here into the classroom. Students’ cultural background is important, and I feel obligated to do what it takes to teach students about the roots of their culture. I have come to learn that group projects are an excellent way to go deep. If we are using the culturally responsive curriculum standards in class, I might have to back off the lecture and basically allow the students to learn from each other through projects. But I’d need to clarify the purpose of the project so the students can see the purpose of the project. If an individual is struggling to fit in to the group, I believe there are ways to get him/her involved. When the students are in the middle of the project, I can meet with the individual personally if that’s what he/she prefers. If some things aren’t working in class, I can possibly talk with a few coworkers or classmates and discuss the classroom environment.