Can I vent for a second about discipline and ethnicity?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by miss-m, Jan 19, 2018.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Feb 2, 2018

    I think this best represents some of my thoughts. I loved @ms.irene 's post and thr inclusive methods she brought up.

    However, should obvious contributers be ignored in teaching due to their race/culture?

    Sure, Isaac Newton and Shakespeare are white enough to be ingrained into culture, but do we discourage the study of them as a result?
     
  2. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Just to expand on my point - I am not saying that I believe we should tell students they are not capable. However, I also don't think that capable = all the same. I think capable also requires that we acknowledge the diversity of skills, experiences and values students bring to class and this requires that we use the range of practices I spoke about in my previous post.

    I also think arguing that we would exclude Shakespeare because he is white is missing the point. The point is that our literature (at least in Canada) is almost exclusively white and they question shouldn't be "why would we exclude Shakespeare" but instead why are we not including authors that reflect our society? (I actually would argue that we read FAR too much Shakespeare in Canada. I see no reason why students should read 4-6 of his plays plus 10+ shorter pieces when there is so much great stuff that has been written in the last 100 years.)
     
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  3. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    It is important for math classes to be culturally relevant but I don't think the best way to do it is by talking about a mathematician of color everyday. I would absolutely do this if it related to the topic that we are learning. In math, culturally relevant pedagogy is thinking about how the lived experiences of our students can inform their understanding of what we are learning.
     
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  4. TrademarkTer

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    I would generally agree with this. I don't really talk about any mathematicians, except perhaps Pythagoras and Euclid. Maybe I should, but I don't really have time for daily history lessons when I am trying to teach math skills and concepts. I think it would be better for said students to experience success with problem solving than to learn about history.
     
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  5. Tyler B.

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    The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men.
     
  6. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Agreed, which is why I wouldn't do the famous mathematician idea too much unless it was directly relevant to the content I am teaching. If learning about the number system, I would definitely teach about how different cultures created different number systems, etc. In math, I think being culturally relevant also means accepting that there are many different ways to solve one problem and honoring students' ideas.
     
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  7. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Companion

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    So, to add my two cents--in terms of sounding uneducated, mispronunciation, etc. The comment about "ax" for "ask." Back when I was getting my teaching credentials, I worked for a headhunting firm that specialised in high-end medical equipment sales--my job was to cold call salesman who were making $300,000+ to offer them even higher paying jobs with different medical companies. My boss told me he hired me because I "sounded smart." This was in NY, and he didn't like to hire people from Brooklyn, because many of them had that noticeable Brooklyn accent or used words incorrectly. Regardless of whether these words or dialects are acceptable and understandable--there is generally a bias towards certain sounds. If you want to work in most professional fields, you need to sound correct--regardless of whether its "white" language or not. And this is regardless of race. So, as a doctor, saying "I need to ax you a few questions," puts their ability into question.

    It is our job to teach proper language and how to speak properly. Not disparage, but we need to take every opportunity to correct them in speaking and writing. If they never hear it said correctly, or are never made aware of their mistakes, they will never learn how to fix it and will short change themselves.
     
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  8. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Companion

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    So, how about, instead of focusing on white authors or black authors, why not focus on authors who happen to be black or authors who happen to be white (I teach English). Unfortunately, I truly believe we spend far too much time deciding what's "white" and what's "black". But, it is the way our culture is. When we stop dividing ourselves, it will help immensely. But,as many posters have said, those students who have home support,regardless of color, do well. Which means that it's not a school problem--it's a family problem. It's a community problem. Not that the schools shouldn't try to help, but if parents can't or won't support their kids--that is the problem we need to fix. And unfortunately, if you're in poverty, you may not have a choice. You may want to, but don't know how because you never were. So how about making sure parents know how to parent? Do more to help people raise their kids right. There are far too many people out there having children for the wrong reasons who can't support them or who don't know how to take care of them. That's the problem we need to solve. I know this is an old idea but, you have to have a license to drive a car, a license t catch a fish or hunt a deer, but anyone can have a child. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
     
  9. webmistress

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    Today I went to volunteer-teach 7th and 8th graders. I encouraged them to start journaling, because the point is, they need to realize they just as important and special as anyone in a textbook. Books and words and images are the foundation to everything, so they need to be able to feel important enough to document their own lives, contributions, emotions etc even if it's just using a number to rate their day.
    Their behavior has been bad, rough, so my focus is intrinsic motivation for them. I told them they will be writing and reading about Shakespeare, George Washington etc all their lives, now it's time for them to think of WHO they are in this world, and realize they are valuable enough to be written about.

    I asked "do you think you're just as valuable and important as the names in these textbooks". A mixture of yes and no. I asked the girl who said no, why no.
    She said because they made contributions they are more important.
    I said, "who told us about those contributions?"

    I wanted her to see that "contributions" boils down to who wrote the books. It's one person's interpretation. I didn't have time to go into more detail but I said you are making important contributions to the world , just by being here today and answering that question for the class.

    The look on her face was a good one.
    I told them to come up with titles for their journals as well.
    After that, they were to write down one goal for the school year. When I did this last year, most had never thought about their goals, nor had they been asked!
     
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  10. webmistress

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    I didn't say bios. It only takes a few seconds of extra words to expand or supplement a lesson.

    There are extremely major contributions of black scientists, just many as white. Textbooks and standards should be challenged and updated. Textbooks and standards should just be guides, but shouldn't be taken as being the only way to gain knowledge.

    Black contributions are not obscure, they are just hidden and ignored, such as with the movie Hidden Figures. Who knew Black NASA math geniuses contributed to the first moon orbit. But John Glenn and Neil Armstrong needed Katherine Johnson's calculations to have successful orbits and ultimately landing. That is huge!
    Would take only a few seconds to add that information to lessons. It's not in the standards or textbooks, but it's still real.
     
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  11. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    This is the second time you did this. The previous one was where black students in private schools or with wealthy parents outscore all races.

    Sorry, but you can't talk about how down-trodden black people have been for generations and then make claims such as these alongside of claims that black students can't be successful unless they can see themselves in the curriculum. You make too many claims that are contradictory.

    I agree there are major contributions from some black scientist. I agree that some black students may outscore a lot of students from other races. However, you speak in extremes.
     
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  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    100% correct in absolutely everything you said. Excellent post.
     
  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Yet another wonderful post, a2z!
     
  14. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I see what you are saying and I agree if the purpose is to supplement a lesson. So if a mathematician of color played a role in discovering something we are learning about, then I would highlight it. I just disagreed with the idea that simply talking about any black mathematician before any lesson will make math culturally relevant for our students. In math, we can think about what our students know and how it can inform their understanding of math....and presenting math as a set of steps that need to be followed is not the way. Since a lot of my students like basketball, I'm teaching a lesson on comparing a statistics of 3 different NBA players using graphs, tables and equations. I'm hoping this will increase engagement for some of my students.
     
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  15. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    But traveling to the moon isn't included in my standards. I have no need to talk about Neil Armstrong or anyone in the space program. Even when I teach classes where astronomy is part of the standards, traveling to the moon isn't included. My state dictates what I teach, not the textbooks and not someone on a message board. Bringing in a historical figure of color just because of their skin tone would be forced and I have no doubt insulting to my minority students.
     
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  16. webmistress

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    The moon is one example of millions. I could incorporate the moon into a reading lesson, a math lesson, a history lesson, optics, science, anything.
    Google African-American math geniuses and it will lead you to information about Black inventors as it relates to the telephone, the clock, appliances, trains, the almanac and so on.

    Takes a few seconds for the searches to come up and a few seconds to relate any topic to any standards. If it's a problem including a better variety of scholars for your students, then don't do it.

    Grade level and subjects do matter however. So I am speaking in general for Elementary grade levels, though with any grade level all teachers should be happy to incorporate any information that's of interest to their students or any information that will encourage them to explore the subject further.

    Students need to be well-rounded and encouraged to be life-long learners. Those are not attributes that are obtained from lifeless standards and textbooks. This is where the teacher's passion and interpretation comes in. Of course, everyone here knows this, this is a teacher's forum with excellent and experienced teachers.

    I notice the word "minority" being used. Minority to whom? No one should consider themselves a minority. If we're speaking only on population numbers, then whites will be the minority a few decades from now. But people's cultures should be named and recognized, not just listed as a minority (to whiteness). The term is dismissive as it describes people in relation to whiteness, rather than describing the people for who they truly are.
     
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  17. webmistress

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    No, simply just adding in a black scholar is not needed to make the lesson culturally relevant. I know it sounds like I'm talking about cultural relevance, but I'm really talking about a more broad, accurate and updated approach to education.
    I know I kept using the word culture, but I didn't mean it in the sense of culturally relevant, but in the sense of achievement and the contributions all groups of people have made.

    "So if a mathematician of color played a role in discovering something we are learning about, then I would highlight it."
    So yes, such as the first wooden ticking clock if the subject was time, or elapsed time, or just anything along those lines.
    One man, Benjamin Bennaker, could be mentioned in regards to predicting the solar eclipse, helping Thomas Jefferson lay out Washington DC,

    Well let me just paste about him because I just learned this. I've heard of him but couldn't remember the details about him.

    http://www.bannekermemorial.org/history.htm

    "In 1753, Benjamin Banneker engineered the first striking clock made entirely of indigenous American parts . This invention marked the advent of his rise to fame as people would travel from far and near to witness his remarkable invention. Made entirely of hand carved wood parts and pinions, the clock struck on the hour for over 50 years

    • Banneker was the first to track the 17 year locust cycle, a valuable revelation to farmers enabling them to prepare for attacks by locusts on their crops.

    • Banneker was the first scientist to study the relativity of time and space, and his revelations on the topic preceded Einstein's Theory of Relativity by two centuries.

    • Banneker was the first to disclose in his writings that the Star of Sirius is two stars rather than one. His hypothesis was not confirmed until the event of the Hubble Telescope two centuries later at NASA.

    • Banneker was the first American scientist to suggest that sentient beings perhaps lived on other planets, a topic barely touched upon in the 18th century.

    • Banneker was a member of the first presidential appointed team charged with the establishment of the nation's capitol.

    • Banneker, in his debut almanac of 1792 , was the first to recommend the establishment of a U.S. Department of Peace. It wasn't until nearly two hundred years later that the U.S. Institute of Peace was established by Congressional authorization in 1984. On their website, at www.usip.org, the organization acknowledges Banneker for his role as the pioneering agent of this idea and states"
     
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  18. webmistress

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    Ok, I am bowing out of these type of threads as I would end up typing forever. I'm not about this online back and forth life anymore. Too old for that! I ended up in here because I just came back to the board to find one of my posts that I made, over 7 years ago :D That was a long time ago. I'm getting back into photography and remembered that I posted my rainbow photos here . What a great forum to still have such old posts

    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/...inbow-rainbow-reflection.109217/#post-1229291

    And I even posted about how I would incorporate my photos into my science lessons. See, easy peasy to do ;) going above and beyond the textbook and standards ;)

    I wish everyone's students well!
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
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