Although I was not able to attend class, I thought as though I could still share my thoughts from the reading. I found the book to be not only incredibly interesting, but also something that was a bit of a surprise. I was not surprised by the information necessarily, but by how large of a problem it has become.

We as educators, need to be more activists in the classroom I feel as though we are not doing enough to include all cultures, especially those around us in the classroom. For example, I thought as though when I was in school here in Juneau, I did not learn nearly as much as I could have about the Tlingit and Haida traditions and overall culture. This is something that I wish I would have had more in my life. I also noticed that when I was in Boston I took a native american history class and I was astounded to hear about how little a lot of my classmates knew much about native american culture, besides what was seen in the movies. This is something however, that I also realized meant that I had more experience with it and the different cultures, then others. So it is definitely I feel a problem. The issue though, is to make sure not to single out a student publicly and make them feel like an outsider, especially after hearing what some of the students shared with us in class before.

The classroom should be inclusive to all, and it should also be a place where everyone can feel comfortable, and learn from each other about each others culture. The teacher should be the activist in this realm, and not a bystander. Language is also something that can have a large impact on the classroom because it can either help, or hurt the environment depending on the language being used. It can create more of a safe place if words like “friends” or “partners” are used instead of words such as “students” or “kids”.

I also enjoyed the section on the “advanced” classes that exist. Just as Professor Lunda and others explained, there is definitely a gap within the classes through what kids, (white, black, native american) are in what classes. This is a systemic failure and one that obviously as anyone would agree must be changed. A large part of this may be the because of the involvement within the parental structure between the teachers and doing more to help out kids who may need special requirements such as having club meetings during lunch, instead of after school.¬†Overall I thought that this reading was compelling and frightening at the same time. I enjoyed it and I found it to something that is imperative to read for all educators. The only way to help change a problem is to address it and learn more about it, and that is what we are doing every day in this class.

2 thoughts on “BH&H”

  1. Thank you Matt for sharing your thoughts on this subject. We missed you in class that day, but your input is always wonderful. I agree with your thoughts that students have much to share with others. Even those from alike cultures have different experiences and that leads to comprehension.

    I also believe that the classroom should be a safe environment where all students can feel safe and secure in their thoughts and what they learn.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Matt. I think your comment about taking a Native American class in Boston is really powerful. In Juneau, it seems like there is a movement to incorporate place-based learning (although not nearly enough), but thinking about the lower 48 and specifically Boston, where I attended school, it is crazy how low of a priority it is for school systems to break out of their out-dated ways and to focus on healing for indigenous students/histories.

    I also really liked what you said about teachers being advocates and NOT bystanders. Too often have I experienced moments when the teacher would use me as a point of embarrassment or marginalization, when they should have been the one to support me. I read an article that said that one year with an oppressive teacher can require at least three years with a good teacher to even begin the healing. How many students are falling through the cracks if this is the case? How do we make teachers see how impactful they can be to their students (both positively and negatively)?

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