Race, Culture, and Ethnicity….Oh My!

Continuing through the rest of this school year I hope to be much more conscious of what I am teaching to the students and its relevance for their lives. I want to be better at separating what is, culturally, a “real life and familiar example” as defined through my lens of experience, and what is actually relevant to the lives of my students.

I grew up in a middle class family in an accepting, but predominantly white area. My life experiences do not necessarily give me insight into the experiences of my students. I need to become a more critical teacher, and take my reflection a step further. I need to go beyond questioning the curriculum as it pertains to the developmental needs of my students with exceptionalities, and evaluate teaching expectations through a culturally relevant lens. I do not believe that students who have deep cultural roots should conform to educations white-normative standards. However, I am guilty of functioning through a skewed lens and definition of ‘culture.’

In the past I have identified ‘culturally relevant teaching’ as the goal I wanted to address as part of my personal growth plan. It was hard, because my view of ‘culture’ was narrow, and my classroom was very much not racially diverse. I struggled to separate culture, race and ethnicity. And since few of my students actively identify with their culture, or understand the importance of knowing their own cultures, I often avoided addressing the subject.

As I move forward I will continue to remind myself that culture, especially with my current class, is more reflective of lifestyles than religions or races. As such, I will need to look for more effective means of bringing culture into the classroom. My first step will be to expand my knowledge and resources regarding children’s literature. I have found that introducing new material through stories is engaging for many of my younger and lower functioning students.

However, it has been hard finding what I need in our school’s library. I have found a website that has an abundance of literature that seems appropriate. I will attempt to coordinate with the school librarian to expand our literary collection. Otherwise, I will purchase the books for myself.

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/how-choose-best-multicultural-books

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2 thoughts on “Race, Culture, and Ethnicity….Oh My!

  1. dezvillalobos November 9, 2016 / 3:22 am

    I think this is a good initiative on your part. A lot of people don’t realize that we fear what we don’t know and empowering your students to know and accept other cultures early on, in my opinion will go along way to promoting an accepting and more open minded mindset in adulthood. I do feel that it is important to do this, but many teachers may be hesitant to address culture in the classroom because it is a sensitive topic and it is easy to offend people, but it is an endeavor that I feel is worth exploring!

    Like

  2. leighahall November 12, 2016 / 12:08 am

    I agree with the previous person. Just recognizing this and starting to think about how to address it is an important place to be. Lots of people don’t get that far!

    Like

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