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Bethany Super

EDL 318
Midterm Work

How can teachers appreciate and explore the differences in the


classroom without profiling?

Mini-Literature Review

In classrooms these days it is becoming more and more common


to have a very culturally diverse and rich student body. We need to be
mindful of these situations and the students need to be as well. As
teachers we must become patient, considerate, appreciative, and
aware of these cultural differences and think of how we can continue to
respect them in the classroom and throughout instruction.
Before diving into the cultural differences we need to be patient
and understanding with our students. If I rely on patience, there is a
danger of it running out. If I rely on understanding, and this
understanding is based on sound developmental theory, it will never
run out, (Weber-Schwartz, p.2) As teachers we cannot just be patient,
because then that is stating that the situation is a problem and not
necessary. Since we will be getting the pleasure to teach a new

classroom of unique and diverse students every year, we have to


welcome them with an open mind and an open heart. We must be
willing to take a little extra time to make sure we understand each
students personality and culture and what that means in our
classroom.
Once we have understood the cultural differences in our
classroom, it is now time to start to think about how we will appreciate
these variances together. Teachers must attend to all students and try
to involve them equally in all class activities. This recognition gives
students a positive feeling about their worth as individuals and as
productive members in the classroom, (Montgomery, p.6). When we
start to incorporate the cultural backgrounds, it has to be done in a
positive and respectful manner. It is also necessary that we do not
profile the students and make them more noticeable than they might
already feel. A way that this can be done is through the transformation
approach as Banks describes, .the transformation approach changes
the structure, assumptions, and perspectives of the curriculum so that
subject matter is viewed from the perspectives and experiences of a
range of groups, (Banks, p.3). Ever since I had started my education
courses, the idea of incorporating all of the students interests and
cultures was a main concern. Once I read this article by Banks, it all
finally made sense to me. When you are using the transformation
approach in your classroom, you are teaching the students about the

differences and making them aware. We have to do this as teachers


because young children dont believe that much exists outside of what
they know and what they have been exposed to. So once we expose
them to these differences in the classroom, we can also begin to then
explore the similarities. When we explore the similarities, this might
begin to give the students who feel like they stick out or that they
dont belong, a sense of belonging and a sense of togetherness.
In Montgomerys article he offers several examples as to how to
incorporate the transformation method in your classroom. These
activities and ideas can be incorporated towards all cultures and are
also flexible. Some examples are to have multicultural books in your
book area, cross-cultural literature discussions, and language arts and
social studies programs providing culturally wide information.
Through the ideas on how to incorporate the differences and the
similarities in the classroom, you will end up seeing quite a few
changes with your students. As Banks says; It helps students learn to
construct knowledge themselves, (Banks, p.131). The students can
construct their knowledge through that multicultural book area, and
through a cross-cultural literature discussion. Within the activities, you
are expanding the possibility for the transformation approach to take
affect in your classroom. If you offer this book area throughout the
year, then you are giving the students ample time to discover different
cultures and also allowing them to educate themselves. When they are

discovering these ideas on their own, then that can also lead them to
start to ask questions. Asking questions will then lead into a discussion
that can be lead in any which way.

Context
These statistics were taken from Linden Elementary in Hamilton
Ohio.
Achievement:

All over performance grade: C or 75%


Indicators met grade: F or 33.3%
o 3rd Grade
Math: 74%
Reading: 86.1%
o 4th Grade
Math: 75.5%
Reading: 84%
o 5th Grade
Math: 54.9%
Reading: 56%
Science: 44 %

Gap Closing:

Overall Grade: F
Reading: State goal is at 85%

o Students with disabilities: 37.7


o Economically Disadvantaged: 76
o White: 80.6
Math: State goal is at 80%
o Students with Disabilities: 27.9
o Economically Disadvantaged: 64.8
o White: 75.9

K-3 Literacy Data:

66.7% of students are considered to be progressing in reading.


80 kindergarten students were not on track last year.
o 66.3% of those students improved in 1st grade.
72 first grade students were not on track last year.
o 59.7% of those students improved in 2nd grade.
81-second grade students were not on track last year.
o 79% of those students improved in 3rd grade.
22 third grade students were not on track this year.
o 45.5% of those students reached proficiency on the OAA.

Third Grade Reading Guarantee:

95.7% of third grade students met the requirements to promote

to 4th grade.
86.1% of third graders scored proficient on the state reading
test.

Enrollment/Attendance:

Black, Non-Hispanic: 4% / 94.9%


Hispanic: 7% / 94.7%
Multiracial: 5.6% / 96.6%
White: 82% / 95.8%
Students with Disabilities: 15% / 93.7%
Economic Disadvantage: 69.8%
Limited English Proficiency: 2.7%

Findings:

How can teachers appreciate and explore the differences in the


classroom without profiling?

As I had stated before that being able to appreciate differences


in the classroom without profiling, you have to be understanding first.
When you are understanding with a student that means that you are
accepting them as they are and you are not considering them as an
inconvenience. Understanding your students will be the first step to
being able to appreciate the differences and to be able to celebrate
them as well.
During my field placements I have seen excellent examples of
this being done. As I had stated before that a book corner is a great
use to explore the multicultural differences in your classroom. This is a
great resource to have available in your classroom, especially with
younger students. This way, if a student has a specific question then
they can ask and get some clarification. This would also be a great
resource to read a book in one language, and then read the same book
in another language as well. Along with exploring cultural differences,
you can appreciate every type of home living and background
knowledge.
In another classroom setting, I have experienced excellent
appreciation for the various home living situations in her classroom.

Since not every child comes from the same home, the same type of
home, and even the same social class, you have to be aware of this
within your classroom. A lot of my prior field placement students
parents are not their legal guardians. That being said, whenever she
would address who is responsible for them she would never assume
that it was their mother or father. Approximately 50% of her students
parents were incarcerated and the children have no contact with them.
She always made sure that she was speaking respectfully towards their
individual situations.
Creating a special and deep bond with each individual student in
your classroom is also a key factor into being a successful teacher.
Showing your students that you are always there for them with open
arms and open ears will be beneficial to you, and your students as well.
This way they know that since you are understanding, you do not
consider their issues or separate situations a problem or an
inconvenience. If you respond to every situation this way, you will then
be able to learn more about your students and their unique situations
and personalities. Once you learn this about your students, you can
learn how you are going to be able to apply that to your daily
instruction. If a student is having a more or so hard time at home, or
maybe doesnt get much attention, you can make sure that you give
them a little extra attention that day or ask them how they are doing.
Another great aspect to incorporate into your classroom is having a

close relationship with the students families as well. You can do this
through numerous ways, and it all depends on how willing the families
are to hearing new ideas or thoughts. Inviting the families into the
classroom during the beginning of the year is a great opportunity to
get to know each of them, while they are getting to know about you as
well. We are going to be important in the students lives, and this is a
great chance to show the parents and the families how we intend on
doing so. Throughout the year it is also important to maintain these
relationships. You can do this by a phone call or an email; either will
give you any information that you need. If there is no response you can
note that either they might need some more time, or that they possibly
dont have access to their email or a phone. This is when you start to
think of other ways to contact the families in order to maintain the
relationship. Sending home notes with the children is also a way to let
the parents know that you are thinking about them and that you care.
If you start off the year with a welcoming and positive atmosphere in
your classroom, your students and families will then start to be open
and feel welcome.

Discussion:

I believe that all of my findings and research have really come


together to open up my mind to what it is like to appreciate each
students prior knowledge and cultural differences in the classroom.
This has to be done strategically and not just at random moments.
When you do this throughout the year it will become a scheduled
routine for your students as well
Valuing the variances of your students will also help your
students become better rounded as individuals. Exploring different
cultures with the way they live, where they come from, and how
important they are to our community is going to be a key lesson that I
establish in every future classroom that I have. It is important to me
that my students learn what else there is in our society and community
other than what they see or what they know at that point in time. Since
I am still learning to this day, I think it is a great opportunity that my
students can also join the journey in learning with me.
When I was looking at the school details for my field school,
Linden Elementary, I learned new information that I wasnt even aware
of being there everyday for two weeks. The principal gave off a very
positive insight, but also let us know that they were considered a
failing school. When I looked at the statistics I did not see a failing
school. I saw all different types of unique students who are working
together to make their education a successful learning environment. In
the hallways I constantly am seeing examples of students working

together. Working together is also a way to appreciate differences


within not only the classroom, but as a whole within the school. I have
seen posters about staying positive, always applying your best
knowledge, and also being kind. The virtue of being kind can also be
correlated to us as teachers. For us as teachers, being kind is related to
us being understanding.
Just like being knowledgeable about every students individuality
and personality, it is important for the rest of the class to be aware as
well. From the beginning children learn about how we are all created
differently and we all bring something new and special to the table.
Just because we might be different than the person sitting next to us,
doesnt mean that it is a bad thing. Children need to know that
everyday is going to be a learning experience about how diverse a
classroom can be and what each and every student has to offer to the
whole class. When children are made aware of this in that certain way,
they are not only going to be aware and respectful but also they will
feel important. Feeling important is a great leeway into celebrating and
valuing any type of cultural difference in the classroom. When the
students feel like they are being valued and important, then the
thought of possibly pointing out and profiling a student is no longer an
area for concern.
As an ending thought, it is possible to explore the differences in
your classroom without profiling. There are many factors to consider

rather than just racial profiling. Every factor is equally as important and
special as the next one and it is essential to appreciate these values
within your classroom. When you do this you show each student that
you respect and care for him or her in a special way.

Works Cited:
Banks, J. (n.d.). Transforming the Mainstream Curriculum. In Educating
for Diversity
(p. 129).

Montgomery, W. (2001). Creating Culturally Responsive, Inclusive


Classrooms.
Retrieved April 8, 2015, from
http://www.nclr.org/images/uploads/general/A1d_ Creating CR
Classrooms.pdf

Weber-Schwartz, N. (n.d.). Patience or Understanding. In Food for


Thought (p. 52).

Pages - District-Report. (n.d.). Retrieved April 23, 2015, from


http://reportcard.education.ohio.gov/Pages/District
Report.aspx?DistrictIRN=044107