Week 5: Culture and Diversity

3 things I learned:

  1. Five Dimensions of Multicultural Education

As a visible minority who is studying Education at a Canadian university, I was thrilled to learn about multiculturalism because it is one of my teaching philosophy, as well as a goal to adopt it into my future classroom. I used to think that understanding the diversity while encouraging students to recognize and embrace it would be the primary way of achieving multicultural education. However, I have learned more specific ways to achieve:

  • Content Integration
  • Helping students understand how knowledge is influenced by beliefs
  • Using teaching methods that reach all students
  • Creating social structures in schools that support learning and development for all students
  • Prejudice Reduction

With this understanding, I think I got a step closer to make my future classroom as a place of embracing diversity.

 

  1. Gender Schema Theory

I learned a new term: Gender schema, “organized cognitive structures that include gender-related information that influences how children think and behave” (Woolfolk, Winne & Perry, 2015, p. 210). This schema can have a huge impact on a child, as “according to gender schema theory, children and adolescents use gender as an organizing theme to classify and understand their perceptions about the world” (Woolfolk, Winne & Perry, 2015, p. 210). As such, I think that my role as an educator will be very critical in assisting children to build appropriate gender schemas while unlearning gender bias/stereotypes.

 

  1. Socioeconomic status (SES) and Achievement

I learned that socioeconomic status and academic achievement are moderately correlated: Students with high SES tend to show higher scores on tests than the students with low-SES. Low-SES students may suffer from inadequate health care, lowered expectations of teachers, low self-esteem, learned helplessness, etc. Also, it is said that the longer the child is in poverty, the stronger the impact is on achievement.

 

2 Connections I made:

  1. I was told that the males are more likely than females to experiment with same sex partners as adolescents. As a person who graduated from a girls’ high school, this was very interesting to me as I have not met a male adolescent who expressed this issue. Though, regardless of gender, I think that we as educators, would have to be mindful and open to diverse sexuality that can be occurring in the classroom. For example, when talking about their relationships or family structure, it is recommended to use the word ‘partner’ instead of mom, dad, girlfriend, or boyfriend, in order to avoid certain circumstances where stereotypes can be caused, as well as protecting students’ self-esteem.

 

  1. In the class, we talked about giving students food if they have not eaten in the morning or do not have lunch with them, and this is where I made another connection. When I was little, my family experienced a significant financial crisis, so until grade 3, I was a student with low SES. I remember that my school had provided lunch and milk with free of charge for me, as I was in low SES. (In most cases, Korean students do not bring lunch to school, because either the schools have Food Services, or a partnership company comes to serve food. Students are responsible for the lunch fee, but it is very affordable.) It was a nice gesture of school and government, but I was shamed because of the fact that I was a student who gets supported due to my family’s economic circumstance, and worried about what if my friends find out that I am low SES. Now my family is stable and I don’t have to worry about these things anymore, I was a bit sad in the class because it made me think back to those days. Then, this made me wonder, how should we approach students with low SES to provide support systems while protecting their self-esteem?

 

Questions:

How can we achieve inclusive classroom where all diversities are accepted?

How should we approach students with low SES to provide support systems while protecting their self-esteem?

 


Reference

Woolfolk, Winne & Perry. (2016). Chapter 6: Culture and Diversity. In Educational Psychology. (6th Ed.) (P. 210). Toronto, ON: Pearson.

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