Group 1 Week 5 Discussion Critical and Multicultural Education

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Group 1 Week 5 Discussion Critical and Multicultural Education by Mind Map: Group 1 Week 5 Discussion    Critical and Multicultural Education

1. Critical Approach CON: Christian Burford From the school project called “Sweet Cakes Town,” students experienced “real world” situations such as unemployment, homelessness, and injustice. Although I think this is a great way to learn, I worry about the student whose negative real life situation is re-created at school through a project. The reality is that not all students get good grades or come from affluent families. A lot of students go through the process of school with the intention of maybe graduating. Paul Skilton Sylvester notes, “As some African-American children grow older, they tend to engage in nonacademic activities and “become more aware of how some people in the community ‘make it’ without good school credentials or mainstream employment.” (John Ogbu 1988, p.332)” I see this attitude a lot amongst the boys in the Beach Group Home. Many of them have decided that the life they were given as a young person in the Foster Care System is the only life that they have a choice at. I feel like school and teachers should present as many situations as possible to show students that working hard as a contributing democratic citizen can help you aspire to achieve in life.

2. Lisa A. Delpit asserts that “teachers much teach all students the explicit and implicit rules of power as a first step towards a more just society” (Delpit, 1986). Critical Pedagogy is “fundamentally concerned with understanding the relationship between power and knowledge. Discursive practices, then, refer to the rules by which discourses are formed, rules that govern what can be said and what must remain unsaid, who can speak with authority and who must listen. Social and political institutions, such as schools and penal institutions are governed by discursive practices. Lastly, in a classroom setting, dominant education discourses determine what books we my use, what classroom approaches we should employ and what values and beliefs we should transmit to our students” (McLaren, 1989). Critical pedagogy asserts that what is taught in schools is the decision and values of the dominant culture. History and values depicted in textbooks lean towards Anglo-Saxon culture which is the current dominant culture in our society. Critical educators aim to reveal power relationships within society and delve deeper into inequalities to discover relational truths. Knowledge empowers students by helping them to “understand and engage in the world around them and enable them to understand the kind of courage needed to change the social order when necessary” (McLaren, 1989). Critical pedagogy aligns with the goal of teaching democratic values and creating a democratic society. McLaren states that “knowledge is only relevant when it begins with the experiences students bring with them from the surrounding culture; it is critical only when these experiences are shown to sometimes be problematic (i.e. racist, sexist); and it is transformative only when students begin to use knowledge to help empower others, including individuals in the surrounding community. Knowledge then becomes linked to social reform” (McLaren, 1989). In creating Sweet Cakes Town, Paul Skilton Sylvester gave his students hands-on experience in creating, developing and working within their own community. He empowered his students by giving them the “opportunity to question why certain conditions exist, and to try out new approaches in such areas as legislation, taxation, social services, and labor/management relations. Here the importance of the imagination in social change became clear” (Sylvester, 1994). Those students experienced how power relationships (employer/employee, city/businesses, vendor/customer, etc.) worked within their “city” and were empowered to push forward in making changes. Pro: Positives for critical pedagogy include empowerment to non-dominant cultures. It also encourages students to actively engage in, and apply critical thinking skills to, social inequalities. Con: A negative aspect of critical pedagogy is that if the emphasis is focused on power struggles versus empowerment it can sway towards Socialism as opposed to Democracy. Since the dawn of time humans, and the animal kingdom for that matter, have had a hierarchy. Consider the survival of the fittest. In every culture there exists a dominant person or group of people. Eliminating any one dominant culture will just bring forth a new dominant power. Critical pedagogy walks a fine line for me in the sense that by identifying power and knowledge in the light of social injustices, the focus needs to be the empowerment of those receiving inequality. I agree with Lisa Delpit that an individual can only do so much in the face of social change. Delpit contends that “it is those with the most power, those in the majority, who must take the greater responsibility for initiating the process (of social change)” (Delpit, 1986). References: Delpit, L. (1986). The Silenced Dialogue: Power Pedagogy and Educating Other People’s Children, Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 56, no. 1. McLaren, P. (1989). Life in Schools: An Introduction to Critical Pedagogy in the Foundations of Education. New York: Longman. Ch. 6. Critical Pedagogy: A Look at the Major Concepts Sylvester, Paul, Elementary School Curricula and Urban Transformation. Harvard Educational Review, 64, 3, 1994, pp. 150-165 - Cathi Brents

3. Multicultural Approach PRO: Christian Burford The Civil Rights Movement started a reform within schools aimed at changing the content and process within schools. The Teaching the Culturally Different approach is working to improve education for children of color “by trying to equip people of color more successfully with the knowledge and skills to compete with Whites.” I think it’s important for ethnic groups of all kinds to learn about their heritage, culture, and how their group operates within society. With a better understanding of where you come from, where you are at now, you can make better decisions about where you are going to go in the future. As teachers and students we can work together to develop ways in which our social problems can be changed, helped, and possibly eliminated. When I spoke with the boys in the Beach Group Home about this subject, they all agreed that their lives as ethnic young men were different than those of the white male students at their school. They felt like the teachers that taught them the most were those that addressed the differences in how they were growing up as kids versus the ones that want to pretend or act like we all start out at the same level in life.

3.1. Christian, I agree it is very important to look at where we come from. For example, I have 3 younger sisters. Myself and the sister right after me have had many different living experiences being African American. We grew up in a low income area by our white mother and we saw things very differently growing up. After our other two sisters were born we moved to a better neighborhood and schools and they have grown up in a very different culture and perspective then we did. My mother made it a point to teach us all aspects of our life and our culture. She showed us how hard our grandparents and parents had to work to get where we are today. Where is the Beach Group Home located? -Yvette Breece

3.1.1. Yvette, Thank You for sharing your personal story with me. The Beach Group Home is located in Westminster. It's a great place!

4. There are seven students in my field placement classroom that are significantly behind grade level in reading ability. During quizzes and tests, the teacher must read aloud all written words to those students and, at times, script their verbal response. Rather than making those students feel singled out, he told all the students they were allowed to read ahead and take the test at their own pace but that he would read each question out loud to the entire class as well. If anyone finished early, they were to sit quietly and read until the rest of the class had completed the test. The field placement teacher addressed the needs of those seven students while at the same time addressing the whole class. The field teacher also tries to teach lessons using a variety of participatory, textile, auditory and visual methods. - Cathi Brents

4.1. Cathi, I like how your field placement teachers lets his students work at their own pace. My question is do the students that take a little longer still feel singled out because they are going at the pace of the teacher? What age group are you observing? -Yvette Breece

4.2. Yvette - I am observing 4th Grade. From my observation, the kids do not "appear" to feel singled out though internally they must know that they are struggling with that area of learning. Kids seem to come and go in the classroom pretty steadily (one goes with the ELL person, another goes with a reading specialist, another goes to the counselor, etc.). I honestly don't know that kids keep track of each others "placement" in the classroom like they did when I was in school. Students getting help in one area of education seem to have to sacrifice other subjects while they are getting that help. I don't know what the answer to that problem should be but it seems to kind of feed the cycle of staying behind once you get behind. Thanks for your great question! - Cathi Brents

5. Majority of the students I will be working with come from different countries throughout the world. The English language has become a second language in their home. The students experience and background relate directly to the RAMP program because we are helping these students to prepare for life after high school. To get them thinking about how successful they can be in the real world. Kate, the RAMP director, has expressed that most of these students will be the first ones to graduate high school in their families. This is the background they are coming from. It is important to start educating our RAMP students now about the life they could have after high school or even college. -Yvette Breece

5.1. Hi Yvette, This sounds like a really fantistic opportunity! What exactly does RAMP stand for? I think that your site sounds really interesting. How do you incorporate multicultural education at a site that is already very multicultural? --Danin Bies

5.1.1. Danin, RAMP stand for Ready to Achieve Mentoring program. Multicultural education has not been incorporated by the students, but mostly myself learning about their culture. So far I have only met with the kids once because the program started late, but I plan on asking the students a lot about their cultural lives and what are the traditions in their family. I think know more of the students background will help me mentor them better. - Yvette Breece

6. Critical Approach PRO: Christian Burford The “Sweet Cakes Town” school project was a great example of how a teacher used Critical Pedagogy to engage the students in learning about the realities of everyday life that takes place in a small community on a normal basis. The community showed students many things including; how jobs, social order, and government is created. The work together “in a real life situation” approach to learning encouraged the class to work together as a community. The students demonstrate characteristics of being democratic citizens by assisting one another through the project, “Although students’ ability levels varied greatly, there seemed to be a feeling of momentum when the entire class worked on an exercise, with the faster or more advanced students tutoring the others.” (Elementary School Curricula and Urban Transformation) The experience of kids learning from kids has been a very powerful one in my daughter’s life! Sienna was born 15 weeks early and had a gastric feeding tube until 4 years of age. The “Food School” therapy that we chose to participate in at the Star Feeding Center used a Critical “real world” approach for teaching the kids about food and the process of eating. The program includes a Physical Therapist and the kids exploring and teaching each other about food during a snack time they shared, while the parents learn on the other side of a one-way mirror the technicalities of the eating process. My daughter was motivated by wanting to learn and do what the other kids were doing along with wanting to help and show other kids what she knew how to do.

6.1. Christian, Your PRO point about the power of students teaching other students connects for me your CON topic of students potentially modeling others who share their same economic situation. In that sense, perhaps the in-class community neighborhood would provide a "real-life" type example of positive jobs which might help them make a goal of obtaining that after high school. Maybe that is too "pie in the sky' thinking for someone in a situation where all they see is unemployment, homelessness or injustice but it seems like providing some knowledge or awareness of something "else" or hope may be what they need. There are people who break out of poverty and become doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. It would be interesting to talk to people who have broken barriers of injustices to find out what caused them to do so. Was it a class they had? Family motivation? Fear of staying in a life similar to the one they are currently in? A positive mentor or teacher that believed in them? What are your thoughts on this? - Cathi Brents

6.1.1. Hi Cathi, Thank You for you comments. I do like the idea of creating projects for the students to have success in their role playing project at school that may show the student a different way of life. I think given the right opportunity anyone can succeed. I think for those students with a rough start in life, they are given people and situations in their life to show them a different path. They need to be motivated to take advantage of the possibility of change.

7. I experienced multicultural education in my high school German Class. The instructor of this class did not allow anyone to speak anything other than German from the time you entered the room. She was always dressed for a day in Germany and kept her learning room decorated with a German theme. I felt this type of environment encouraged everyone to not only learn, but to also use the language skills to our best ability as possible sitting in a school in Iowa. I feel like as teachers, we need to include as many multicultural lessons into our everyday learning as possible. America is a very multicultural place with many great diversities and experiences to learn from. Christian Burford

8. Multicultural education in the class can be beneficial. “Most nations of the world face the issue of multicultural education because of the global movement of populations caused by the growth of an international labor market, multinational corporations, the search for better economic and political conditions, and displacement by the war”(Spring, 2013,157). We have become “the host country of the largest number of global migrants…” (Spring, 2013, 157). The United States has developed such a vast and diverse culture it is important for teachers to embrace multicultural education in their classrooms. This can be beneficial to our students because we can begin to reduce the fear, ignorance, and stereotypes we placed upon each other throughout history. “Whites perceive blacks as lazy, violent, and less intelligent than Hispanics, Asians, and legal and illegal immigrants. High levels of anti-black racism are correlated with white attitudes that police and the death penalty make streets safe and with opposition to assistance to the poor” (Spring, 2013, 167). By teaching correct information about all types of cultures can help eliminate stereotyping, prejudice, and racism ideals that we have placed upon each other. Teaching multicultural education in the classroom can have some negative drawbacks as well. There is the issue of making sure that each culture is represented equally. “Overall goal of multicultural education is to help all students reach their potential. Educational and vocational options should not be limited by sex, age, ethnicity, native language, religion, socio-economic level, or exceptionality” (Sleeter and Grant, 1987, 433). It is important to make sure that teachers and schools are speaking in all lights of races and cultures -both positive and negative. Think about how some cultures view Christopher Columbus. There are some who celebrate his accomplishments and others, not so much. There is more to the story and it is important to reflect on all aspects of history. -Yvette Breece

8.1. Multicultural Approach Pro: Danin Bies One pro of Multicultural approaches to classroom instruction is the ability to gain better knowledge of different cultures and groups of people. One way to do this is through single group studies, a method referenced in the article “An Analysis of Multicultural Education in the U.S.” by Christine Sleeter and Carl Grant. The article points out that the Single Group Studies approach to multicultural education focuses on “the experiences and cultures of a specific group” (Sleeter, Grant 428). This can be beneficial to education because students are able to learn more in depth information about different cultures and peoples in order to better understand and interact with them. This is one of the benefits of multicultural education, in that students gain an awareness for discovering the deeper truths about other individuals and groups that they interact with. Without the information and opportunity provided through the Single Group Studies approach to multicultural education, students would be less apt to choose to look beyond their own culture and ethnicity. Especially in our society where a large number of the student population in schools is made up of White citizens, it is important to take the time to investigate on a deeper level, the other cultures that we may interact with. By increasing a student’s knowledge of specific groups, cultures, and people, students are able to develop into more culturally aware participants of society. This can eventually allow for less separation between citizens when more is understood about the social, cultural, and ethnic diversities in our society.

8.1.1. Multicultural Approach Con: Danin Bies One con of the Single Group Studies approach to multicultural education, is that it provides a narrow scope through which to view other cultures. As can be seen in the article by Sleeter and Grant, this approach to multicultural education “…pays least attention to goals”(428). That is to say, that this method towards cultural learning does not lay out any outcomes for students to achieve through this approach. There are generally too many assumptions in this approach that suggest that students will gain cultural awareness through in-depth study and focus on one ethnic group, but without clear outcomes for what students will gain from such studies, it is difficult to advocate for such an approach. As Sleeter and Grant suggest, the concepts that students are to gain knowledge of through multicultural education, such as social change, can only be achieved if they are established as learning outcomes from the beginning. A lack of goals leaves too much up to the student with respect to interpretation of knowledge, and can create differing ideas of what knowledge of other cultures can allow. For example, some students may see the goal of multicultural education through single group studies solely as a way to teach students about other cultures, while some may interpret the purpose to be to make students more aware of the differences and separations socially, economically, and politically between different groups. This is a con of this approach to multicultural education for students are unable to collaborate and form a community around these ideas without more detailed and structured goals for their learning.

9. Two-way bilingual programs include both English-speaking and non-English-speaking students. Class is conducted in two languages making it possible for English-speaking student to learn the language of the non-English speakers, while the non-English speakers learn English. The goal is for all students to become bilingual (Spring, 2013). Two-way bilingual programs encourage positive attitudes towards both languages and cultures. Bilingualism encourages biculturalism which broadens knowledge and perspective of the world. Pro – Two-way bilingual programs helps both native and foreign-tongued students. Two-way bilingual programs are an example of the essence of multicultural education. Lewis states the “Multicultural education should help “minority students…develop competence in the public culture of the dominant group” and at the same time helps them develop “a positive group identity” which builds on their cultures” (Sleeter and Grant, 1987). Two-way bilingual students are more aware of other cultures and differing views of life. It broadens their perspective and view of the world. Two-way bilingual education benefits those learning English by giving them a reference in their own native tongue. Sonia Nieto argues that “children who know how to read and write in their native language will be more successful in school than children whose language is neglected by the school and who do not become literate in their native tongue” (Spring, 2013). Native English speaking students benefit from bilingual education by becoming more aware of English grammar in relation to the second language, it broadens their view regarding other cultures and values and provides them diversity. Further, two-way bilingual programs value the non-dominant tongued students as resources rather than hindrances. There is an elementary school here in Longmont that teaches with a two-way bilingual program for the Spanish language. I have friends who open-enroll their children there because they want them to have a greater perspective on the world, an openness to learning and speaking other languages and they hope that is will give them a marketable edge in the job field when the time comes. Another friend open-enrolls her children there for the main reason of giving them an awareness of diversity. She felt that the feeder school in her neighborhood was too “White.” America is a true “melting pot.” We are a land originated by Native and Mexican Americans and immigrated into by European, African and Eastern Nations. Awareness of and respect for cultures different than your own is essential. Con – Two-way bilingual education encourages biculturalism which brings forward potential values and beliefs that go against a society’s current dominant culture. Some people argue that loyalties to one’s own cultural values are compromised in bilingual education (Al-Amri, 2013). Further, some people argue that two-way bilingual education slows the educational process down. Time spent teaching a subject in two languages might hinder a child’s ability to progress through lessons at the same speed as single language classrooms. References: Al-Amri, Majid, N. (2013.) Effects of bilingualism on personality, cognitive and educational developments: a historical. WEI International Academic Conference Proceedings. URL: http://www.westeastinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/ANT13-271-Majid-N.pdf Sleeter, C. & Grant, C. (1987). An analysis of multicultural education in the United States. Harvard Educational Review, 57, 4, 421-455 Spring, J. (2013). American Education, 15th edition. New York: McGraw Hill Chapter 7: Multicultural and Multilingual Education - Cathi Brents

10. Pros: Multicultural Educators are extremely skilled teachers. Connecting lessons with multicultural education grows student’s hearts and minds. Multicultural educators must engage students in lessons. Delpit states that “the teacher cannot be the only expert in the classroom.” Delpit goes on to say that “merely adopting direct instruction is not the answer. Actual writing for real audiences and real purposes is a vital element in helping students to understand that they have an important voice in their own learning processes” (Delpit, 1986). Cons: Christine Sleeter and Carl Grant completed a literature review on the subject of Multicultural Education. One of their findings is that literature focuses “heavily on the individual classroom teacher as the agent of school change. While classroom teachers are necessary participants in school reform, individual classroom teachers alone tend not to be successful agents of such large-scale school reforms as multicultural education.” Further, they found that it is difficult to find curriculum for multicultural education (Sleeter and Grant, 1987). In America where the Anglo-Saxon/Eurocentric culture is dominant many minority teachers feel that White people listen to suggestions for multicultural education improvements but that they don’t hear or heed any of the ideas. In an interview by Delpit with a Black female teacher regarding a discussion she had with predominantly White fellow teachers about how they should organize reading instruction to best serve students of color, she said, “You can try to talk to them and give them examples, but they’re so headstrong, they think they know what’s best for everybody, for everybody’s children. They won’t listen, White folks are going to do what they want to do anyway” (Delpit, 1986). Multicultural educators must be aware that there is not “one way” to teach and reach students. Suggestions of other, especially those who are in the non-dominant culture can be very powerful and helpful. References: Delpit, L. (1986). The Silenced Dialogue: Power Pedagogy and Educating Other People’s Children, Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 56, no. 1. Sleeter, C. & Grant, C. (1987). An analysis of multicultural education in the United States. Harvard Educational Review, 57, 4, 421-455 - Cathi Brents

10.1. Deborah Ryan Multicultural education is an education reform movement that seeks to empower oppressed students by “integrating the history and culture of dominated groups into public school curricula and textbooks.” (Spring, 2013) Christine Sleeter and Carl Grant assert that there are five approaches to teaching multicultural education: Teaching the Culturally Different; Human Relations; Single Group Studies; Multicultural Education; and Education that is Multicultural and Social Reconstructionist. (Sleeter and Grant, 1987) The Multicultural and Social Reconstructionist approach to education is an extension of Multicultural Education and works from the premise that teachers need to prepare students to be citizens who want to reconstruct society in order to improve the lives of the disenfranchised. Groups can not only be discriminated for their race, class and gender, but also for their culture, ability and sexual orientation. Educators that adhere to the Social Reconstructionist and Multicultural approach are “committed to the elimination of oppression, to cultivating students sense of hope, connecting critical pedagogy to multicultural theories and practices, to teaching resistance and social responsibility and to enacting a curriculum that privileges knowledge construction, relevance, critical thinking and democratic practices.” (Sleeter and Grant, 1999) Teachers can accomplish this by modifying the way that they teach “in ways that will make their classroom more democratic.” (Sleeter and Grant, 1987) Educators in favor of utilizing the Multicultural and Social Reconstructionist pedagogy believe that it creates cohesion in the classroom. A school that uses this educational framework would use progressive tools such as communication, collaboration and experiential learning. When students interact and share ideas on an ongoing basis, they begin to rely on one another and unify. Secondly, using a Multicultural and Social Reconstructionist approach to teaching provides an alternate point of view for the students. When children talk and share and learn about different cultures and disenfranchised populations, it facilitates a greater understanding between all individuals within the classroom. Thirdly, using this approach in education can decrease stereotypes, racism and prejudices by exposing students to many different cultures and groups of people from around the world. Through dialog and critical thinking students realize that although there are differences, there are also many similarities. Finally, a Multicultural and Social Reconstructionist education deepens the awareness of social injustices such as racism, sexism and ageism and encourages children to seek solutions. Not all people favor applying the Multicultural and Social Reconstructionist approach to education. Teaching from this perspective takes considerable planning in order to ensure positive outcomes. Not only should teachers at the school reflect the cultural diversity of their surrounding environment but they must also wipe away any preconceived notions they might have of their students based on race, class or gender. (Sleeter and Grant, 2007) Another criticism of the Multicultural and Social Reconstructionist way of teaching is that it can aggravate and cause tension in the students. The thought is that too much discussion of past and present injustices will anger students instead of motivating them. Students will act on their anger instead of channeling that emotion to make changes in their environment. A third reason for rejecting a Multicultural and Social Reconstructionist approach to education is that it can create inaccurate views of other groups if not looked at in depth. Students need to critically study different cultures in depth in order to understand them. Some people fear that understanding will be undermined if teachers don't take the time to thoroughly explore each and every dominated group. In sum, the Multicultural and Social Reconstructionist approach to teaching is still in it's beginning phases. While the approach postulates for curriculum reform, expediting this may be difficult. However, it is a noble idea and with our changing population and world view, it might become necessary.

11. Multicultural Approach CON: Christian Burford I was taught as a young person that the best way in life to rise above a challenging or negative situation is to educate yourself about the issue, to find a solution that works for you and to then work to move on from it. The Teaching Culturally Different approach to education, “does not imply that Whites should be taught anything more than they know now about racism, classism, or other cultural groups.” (An Analysis of Multicultural Education in the United States) If we do not continue to educate the White population of students on all aspects of life surrounding all of our students, we are not accomplishing the goal of creating democratic citizens. For White and Black and other cultures to work together to promote change for the better of our society, we all need to be learning about racism, classism, and other cultural groups to gain a better understanding of one another. I feel like schools and teachers can help create an environment where students of all kinds can learn from one another’s differences and create changes together to better our society as a whole.

12. Multicultural Education- Write a pro and con--make sure no one else has included it!

13. Critical Pedagogy: Write a pro and con--make sure no one else has included it!

13.1. Critical Approach Pro- Danin Bies One pro of the Critical approach to classroom instruction is the ability to make students conscious of their social and political impact in the world. Through this style of instruction, as can be seen in the article “Teaching and Practice: Elementary School Curricula and Urban Transformation” by Paul Skilton Sylvester, students are able to participate in their education in order to see how it translates into their real lives. Through the forms of knowledge involved in Critical education, as discussed in the article “Critical Pedagogy, a Look at the Major Concepts” by Peter McLaren, students are provided with an opportunity to think freely about their lives and about the context of their curriculum in relation to their lives. As McLaren says, “The critical educator, however, is most interested in what Habermas calls emancipatory knowledge (similar to Giroux's directive knowledge), which attempts to reconcile and transcend the opposition between technical and practical knowledge. Emancipatory knowledge helps us understand how social relationships are distorted and manipulated by relations of power and privilege” (170). That is to say, that a pro of critical education is that students are able to understand their own lives more clearly because of their education, rather than differentiating between their lives as students and their lives outside the classroom. This can be seen in Sylvester’s article, as he demonstrates that the students’ participation in the “Sweet Cakes Town” project enabled his students to make a correlation between what they are learning in school and what they need to know to make their lives and their neighborhood better.

13.1.1. Critical Approach Con--Danin Bies One con of the critical approach to education is that the forms of knowledge are limited. As is suggested in McLaren’s article, students are not always exposed to all of the forms of knowledge, which may be beneficial to their overall learning. If students are not truly engaged in “emancipatory knowledge” then they may lose out on the technical and practical forms of knowledge necessary to make them a well-rounded student. If students are too focused on the emancipatory knowledge aspect of the critical approach to education, they may miss opportunities to better their knowledge of the more technical aspects of education which McLaren describes as “…based on the natural sciences, uses hypothetico-deductive or empirical analytical methods, and is evaluated by, among other things, intelligence quotients, reading scores, and SAT results, all of which are used by educators to sort, regulate, and control students” (170). That is to say, that too much focus on “social justice, equality, and empowerment” (171) will cause students to miss the necessary emphasis on material that they need to know for exams, standardized tests, and for their educational future.

13.2. A pro to critical pedagogy is allowing the students to have a voice and to express their opinions during class time. Sylvester the author of Elementary School Curricula and Urban Transformation, explains how students opinions led to a daily class discussion. “ By linking questions from one day to the next, we developed themes while keeping students’ experience and opinions at the heart of our study”(Sylvester,1987, P. 320). By students having a voice in the classroom helps with student and class participation, as well as, getting students excited about all subjects. -Yvette Breece

13.2.1. Hi Yvette, I do agree that by letting students have a voice in school and being able to learn and discuss things with each other is a good addition to the more progressive style of teaching. How do you think we balance the noise level and extra talking with a quite learning place? Christian Burford

13.3. A con to critical pedagogy is that not everyone can learn that way. Some students, like special education students, need a more guided instruction and more time to process information given by the instructor. For example, I have a student who has difficulty responding to on the spot questions. It takes several minutes to understand the question being asked by the teacher and then having to direct the correct answer out loud in front of the class. That can be intimidating to some. It is important to “[ensure] that each classroom incorporates] strategies appropriate for all children in its confines”(Delpit, 1986, P. 286). Critical processing is not all always the best option for all students in the classroom. - Yvette Breece

13.4. Debby Ryan will address the pros and cons of ideology in critical pedagogy.

13.5. Teachers of critical pedagogy need to be extremely skilled educators. They need to educate their students to question and analyze various “truths” in society. They must research and discover the history and background of each topic and push their students to do the same. Just as with progressive teachers, they must become “experts” in the truths their class is discovering. Critical educators must stretch their students’ imaginations to see beyond societal injustices and rules. Because truths are relative, a “correct” answer is elusive. Delpit supports this skilling of educators by asserting that “those who are most skillful at educating Black and poor children do not allow themselves to be placed in “skills” or “process” boxes. They understand the need for both approaches, the need to help students to establish their own voices, but to coach those voices to produce notes that will be heard clearly in the larger society” (Delpit, 1986). Pro: Empowering others and being agents for social change would be rewarding. Encouraging students to critically think is a life skill. Con: A curriculum grounded on critical pedagogy is counter to traditional education. Whose history would be taught? What basics, beliefs and values would be taught? Who would decide? There has to be some base knowledge provided as part of the curriculum. Reference: Delpit, L. (1986). The Silenced Dialogue: Power Pedagogy and Educating Other People’s Children, Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 56, no. 1. - Cathi Brents

14. Thinking of your own education, what examples of critical or multicultural education do you remember encountering as a student? How would these look different if you were considering the experiences through the lens of a teacher?

14.1. As a student I remember doing projects on different cultures. The teacher wanted us to focus more about religions and types of government. It felt more like a project rather than getting to know the actual people of these cultures and their full backgrounds. Through the lens of the teacher I would want it to be more of a meaningful multicultural experience. I think it would be a great idea to allow guest speakers to come in and share their life experiences living in another culture. - Yvette Breece

14.1.1. Hi Yvette, I too remember doing projects on other cultures. However, one fun aspect was we always tried to focus on the foods of other cultures and their different cultural activities. For me this made it seem like less of a research project and more an example of learning through experience.I felt like we were best able to learn about other cultures through activities or through preparing that culture's food or listening to that culture's music. I most often think of my Spanish courses, and how we often studied things like how students our age go about a traditional day, or how food is used to celebrate culture or religion, such as for Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico. How else besides guest speakers would you create a more meaningful multicultural experience for your students? -Danin Bies

14.1.1.1. I agree with you Danin. I took a class in college called Cultural Nutrition. It was by far one of the best classes I took. Every week our teacher would make us something new, sometimes she would even cook in front of us in class. Our final project we had to bring in food from our own culture and explain how to make it to others. I think you can learn a lot from food. Yvette Breece

14.2. I do not recall examples of critical education in my schooling but I do remember a humanities class assignment I did in high school that impacted me multiculturally. Our teacher was teaching us about societal prejudices. The class discussion was about prejudices associated with groups of people. We discussed how society typically views and labels groups such as homeless people, females in the workplace, disabled people, foreigners, etc.. The next day she brought a wheelchair to class and gave each of us a turn getting around school, moving from the parking lot through the front door, accessing the lunch room, using the bathroom and accessing our locker while seated in the wheelchair. This assignment accomplished several things. It opened my eyes to how challenging being disabled might be, gave me awareness to how non-accommodating our society is for the most part to disabled people and gave me a greater respect for people with disabilities. It also gave me a greater understanding of societal prejudices regarding disabled people. Disabled people are not inconveniences, “in the way” or less capable. I began to realize how much I take for granted. She helped to change my perspective in my world. Through the lens of a teacher, this assignment actively involved and awaked our awareness into the world of someone different than ourselves. - Cathi Brents

14.2.1. Cathi, What a powerful way to get a point of view across. I do not think that many people understand what it is like to be in that position. My sister is getting her masters in linguistics. She was asked by her teachers to go out into the public and pretend they have a studder. She wanted them to understand how society treats someone with disablitlites. Not only will they understand what it would be like in their shoes, but it will also make them better teachers. My sister said it was the hardest thing she had ever done. She said she cried when people treated her so poorly. She said it changed her perspective dramatically. Do you think doing and activity like that today would still impact our students? -Yvette Breece

14.2.1.1. Yvette, I definitely think an activity like this would greatly and positively impact students. I still remember how hard getting around was and how I felt in the way. It gave my more compassion for anyone with challenges (physically OR mentally). It is a very powerful way to teach empathy, awareness and respect. It also made me more grateful for my own body (even if it didn't look like I wished it did). Thanks for your question and I am glad that your sister had a similar opportunity!! Take care, Cathi Brents

14.3. Danin Bies: In thinking of my own education, I remember most of my multicultural education occurring at the secondary level in my Spanish courses. This was a consistent theme in all of my Spanish courses in middle school, high school, and in my Spanish major in college. I remember there were always portions of the text books that provided “cultural snippets” with respect to different Spanish-speaking communities. I also remember the discussion of race on or around Martin Luther King Day. In terms of critical education, I remember having many activities like the one described in “Teaching and Practice: Elementary School Curricula and Urban Transformation” by Paul Skilton Sylvester. One in particular that I can remember was the Scholar Dollar program that we used when I was in fifth grade. Our teacher would award us “scholar dollars” for good behavior, good attitude, or good work, and we would be able to save them for prizes. There were officers and workers that patrolled the room checking for messy desks and other issues that would cost students scholar dollars. I remember one student received a ticket from the class officer for a messy desk, and when she refused to pay it, the teacher discussed with us the implications of social justice and how the system works. We learned about actions and consequences, and how each individual is personally responsible for the things that they do in the community. If I consider these experiences through the lens of a teacher, I think that there is value in a combination of multicultural and critical educational approaches. I think that there may have been more subtle multicultural educational approaches in my elementary career that I just may not recall. Ultimately, as a teacher, I think it is important to introduce these educational approaches at a level that is accessible for students, and that promotes learning through activities. I think that with a combination of critical education and multicultural education, it is possible for a teacher to structure a curriculum that allows students to learn about themselves and others through their classroom activities. In this way, students are better able to understand what they are learning, as they are experiencing the real social, economic, and political issues of their society in their classroom.

14.3.1. Danin, I loved the "scholar dollar" idea and that your teacher used a student's disobedience of the law as a catalyst for discussion. I am curious what came of it, did the student ever pay the fine? Did the other students put pressure on him/her to play along with the class? Did other kids decide to protest as well? - Cathi Brents

14.3.1.1. Hi Cathi, Yes, it was a good way to get a good discussion going. If I remember correctly, the student eventually paid the fine after a large class discussion that subtly addressed the students behavior without actually addressing it, if that makes sense. I remember as a class we talked about what it means to make mistake and the importance of taking responsibility and righting that wrong. I think that was our only real protest of the scholar dollar system, but I think that would have been an opportunity to do an overview of the legal process of court, and appeals etc. Thanks for the great questions! -Danin Bies

14.4. Debby Ryan Reflecting on my own education made me realize that there were very few examples of critical or multicultural education in my past. Because I went to school in the 70's and 80's, both multicultural and critical theories of education were still being formulated. Aside from my open classroom experience in elementary school, the rest of my schooling was quite traditional. It was not until I enrolled in college that I was exposed to a multicultural view to education. In the 1980's, my little college in upstate New York was offering courses in gerontology and ageism and race and inequality. My college also had an active student abroad program where a person could apply to take a college semester in another country. When I was a student they offered programs in England, Africa, Spain and the Semester at Sea. My college was one of the first schools to offer a semester in Africa, and students from all over the country applied to go to Africa through my school. My school now offers opportunities to study in more than twenty countries, so I believe I experienced the beginning of a great tradition of encouraging a multicultural view at my college. As a teacher, I would be proud to offer these kind of classes to my students. In the 1980's, these were cutting edge ideas and I would be excited to expose my students to them.Allowing students to look at the world in different ways would be paramount to a college education.

15. In what ways, if any, have you seen the backgrounds, experiences, and/or needs of the students in your field placement brought into the instructional practices of the classroom

15.1. Danin Bies: My site for my field placement is very diverse. One of the main examples of student’s backgrounds and experiences being introduced into the instructional practices is through the farm and animal unit in Kindergarten. Some of the students have never been out of the city or to any type of rural location, and therefore have never seen a pig or interacted with farm life in any way. In this case, the teacher provides a central background knowledge through activities that allow students to investigate farm life, culture and practices. Students learn about different farm animals, they read books about farmers and growing plants, and they study concepts such as how food is grown, harvested and delivered to stores for them to eat. Some of these students come from apartment housing, low-income housing, or multi-family housing, and often many of them have never interacted with any type of living community besides their own. Therefore, activities like field-trips to a farm/ pumpkin patch to see how things are grown are activities that help students to contextualize their learning and to make comparisons or connections with their own lives. They learn about agrarian cultures that are different than their own, and they also learn about how different people in different regions of the country, and of the world, live and work.

15.1.1. Danin, That is very interesting how some students have never been out of the city! Where is your site located? How diverse is the classroom in the terms of culture or ethnic background? -Yvette Breece

15.1.1.1. Yvette, My site is located in Southeast Aurora. Many of the students are Hispanic, but there are also many African-American students. Another interesting group in the classroom is students from other countries. There are at least two students whose families came directly from different parts of Africa. It is very interesting to me as well, but many of them knew very little about farms or farm life and many were genuinely surprised to learn how plants grow/crops are planted etc. -Danin Bies

15.2. Debby Ryan Reflecting on my own education made me realize that there were very few examples of critical or multicultural education in my past. Because I went to school in the 70's and 80's, both multicultural and critical theories of education were still being formulated. Aside from my open classroom experience in elementary school, the rest of my schooling was quite traditional. It was not until I enrolled in college that I was exposed to a multicultural view to education. In the 1980's, my little college in upstate New York was offering courses in gerontology and ageism and race and inequality. My college also had an active student abroad program where a person could apply to take a college semester in another country. When I was a student they offered programs in England, Africa, Spain and the Semester at Sea. My college was one of the first schools to offer a semester in Africa, and students from all over the country applied to go to Africa through my school. My school now offers opportunities to study in more than twenty countries, so I believe I experienced the beginning of a great tradition of encouraging a multicultural view at my college. As a teacher, I would be proud to offer these kind of classes to my students. In the 1980's, these were cutting edge ideas and I would be excited to expose my students to them.Allowing students to look at the world in different ways would be paramount to a college education.

15.3. I have found the Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen to be a progressive school in the way they deal with the needs of their students. After the students had been through an hour long computer test, the teachers decided together that the kids needed an extra playtime on the playground outside. The teachers discussed how important it was to “let the kids be kids.” I liked how they adjusted the day from the scheduled learning to let the kids run off some of their energy and enjoy the outdoors for some fitness and sunshine. Christian Burford