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Diversity Theories

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Jennifer Kinch

on 3 August 2015

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Transcript of Diversity Theories

In this unit we will be discussing techniques educators can take to ensure a culturally rich curriculum in the elementary levels. This is an important topic that keeps in line with the common standards seen in elementary levels.
First we will look at how to prepare the unit
Then, we see how our unit is conducted with a diverse class of many backgrounds
Finally we will assess how students
learned and applied their own
culture to the topic.
Critical Race Theory
Has an ultimate goal of anti racism and anti subordination
Resistance or Oppositional Theory
Highlights the need of students to actively engage in oppositional behaviors
Cultural difference Theories
Focuses on Micro-level issues of linguistics in different classes

Diversity Theories
Philosophy of Multicultural Education

Critical Race Theory
Examines how teachers and students perceive and respond to cultural dominance (Chizik 2009). Students can choose to oppose or resist a culture laid out in their classroom because they want to preserve their sense of identity.

Today, when I see spanish speaking students and I introduce them to an animal they all repeat the name to me in spanish. I don't know if this is just how they learn new vocabulary or if this is a response of opposition.

Some techniques that can be taken are to incorporate lots of different cultures into the curriculum. Something that I like to do is to allow that student teach the whole class their word for "snake" in their native tongue. This would
help students of all backgrounds feel a connection
to the curriculum and create a feeling of identity
among the topic.
Resistance or Oppositional Theory

Today's schools still follow the same patterns. Teachers will more often correct those students from the working class, than those from the middle class. Educators may think of it as slang, or as improper, and the students are punished scholastically because of the dialects used at home and in their culture.

During early childhood is wear these cultural norms are established, when a child develops language skills. By using pictures, and actual items (not toys or plastic replicas) it can help a child from any class learn one dialect.

For older students, getting to know the background
culture is key to understanding the student and their
learning style along with the best path for success.
Cultural Difference Theory
Multicultural Approaches to Environmental Education:
Elementary grades K-4
Environmental education is about developing a sense
of stewardship among young people so that they will have
the desire to become environmentally conscious policy
makers and citizens.

In this unit, we will be helping the students to explore what happens to animals when their habitat is disrupted. In other words we will be teaching them to measure the level of human impact on an area.

First we must realize that all cultures view nature in a different way. While some cultures see nature as a reverent temple, others find awe in quiet natural spaces and there are some that even fear it, at the same time a large majority see it only as a space to industrialize. In order to be affective teachers, we must first understand the background cultures of our students so that we can better instruct them.

Once you get to know your students, you can then
devise ways to impact them in a powerful
and meaningful way.
Preparing Your Unit
After learning the cultural background on students you can then relate the unit to everyone's culture and include their past to the curriculum that would greater increase topic retention. Here are some ways that it could be done:
Reading different narratives from Native American cultures or fables about the same animal (let's use an alligator) around the world.
Studying the different types of environments and habitats around the world. (do areas in Asia and South America look the same?)
Also look at primary source journals from people years ago on how they viewed the land in their native home.
Learn the different words used for "alligator" in some of the students' native languages.
Use the internet to find old newspaper articles to learn about weather in the area from the past several years or any relate-able stories.
Human Impact on Habitats with a Multicultural Perspective
Philosophies of Multicultural Education
Jennifer Kinch --- Dr. Jessica McBride --- Diversity in K-12 Education --- July 19, 2015
Working Class White/Anglo
Working Class
Middle Class
Met school
Did not meet
school standards

Chizik, E., & Chizik, A. (2009, December 23). Resistance Theory.

Ladson-Billings, G., & Tate IV, W. (n.d.).
Toward a Critical Race Theory of Education.
Teachers College Record, 47-68.

Multicultural Education: Characteristics and Goals
. (2013). In J. Banks & C. McGee Banks (Eds.), Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives (8th ed., pp. 36-37). Seattle: John Wiley & Sons.

J. Banks and & C McGee Banks 2013.
Did not meet
school standards
Critical Race Theory or CRT started as a legal assessment of anti-racism and anti-subordination. It has since moved into education as a start of reform in social and curricular structure.

There is still segregation in schools today, however it has a different face. The curriculum taught in schools is subconsciously catering towards a more middle class White/Anglo culture. In today's schools I see many schools of working class students having lower reading and writing skills, larger class sizes and more behavioral problems. I think issues largely lie in the fact that the more wealthy areas can provide more resources, teachers, and state of the art materials.
Working Class Schools
Middle Class Schools
Getting to Know your Students
It may seem like an overwhelming thing to learn the cultural background of all your students but trust me, in the end, it will pay off with a very rewarding year! Here is an excellent way to encourage your students' to express themselves and to share their culture with the class.
Create a life map
. Have students draw out important milestones their life so far and what they hope to reach in the future. This way you can not only learn a bit about their past but also see what some of their desires are for the future. It can help you as a teacher direct them.
Form an ecological identity tree.
This is an activity that I really enjoy when meeting new classes, especially because I deal with natural education. In this activity, students draw their life as a tree. Starting with the earliest memories in the roots, then as they get older it forms the trunk. The branches will be as they are older or maybe more prominent memories that help them form their identity and the leaves are the tings that they enjoy now or are involved in. What is so great about this activity is that at the end the tree usually have one theme rooted in it. Another great thing is that all the trees look different! Below is my own ecological identity tree.
Furthering Your Unit with Multicultural Techniques
Now that students have studied the cultural significance of alligators and their habitats around the world in different cultures, look at how their habitats are impacted by the current activities of humans. Look at how the different countries use the alligators' habitat. Is it protected, managed, ignored, abused, etc.? After exploring the current state of alligator habitats from their habitat in the past 50 years, have the students tell you if it is better or worse than before.

With this analysis of habitat impact by humans, allow the student to draw up a "plan of action". How can humans help alligators and their habitats around the world. Make sure students are taking into mind the different people that value alligators and their homes.

By looking at how alligators are viewed by other cultures in the past and how humans affect them in a variety of cultures today, you are reaching out to a diverse audience and connecting them to the topic.

Now unite the class in a single culture by
writing a letter to a congress man or woman
or senator to help alligators. This helps to instill
the ideals that America is a melting pot of
many cultures working together.
In order to express my philosophy of multicultural education it would take seeing it in action. Each child is different, therefore the approach to their education should be unique, like them. To categorize a child is near impossible, so too would putting into words a philosophy for multicultural education.
In attempts to better describe my philosophy I would like to use the Ecological Identity Tree that I mentioned earlier.
The leaves represent things that help to direct the students now.
Roots represent the founding memories, or thoughts of the student.
The trunk is the stabilizing piece of their life.
The branches represent the points in a student's life that allows them to stretch out of their comfort zone and grow.
Epistemological Philosophy
I tend to side with teaching methods backed with epistemological processes. I believe the power of learning through doing, discovering, and exploration. I believe the only one who can tell you no is yourself. I try to pass on to my students that there are always things to explore and the theories are disproved all the time.
Evaluation of Multicultural Techniques
In order to assess if a student has retained the lesson from human impact on alligator habitats, I would ask students to compare and contrast at least two different cultures that share alligator habitats.
Students could share the cultural importance of alligators to different societies. Then students could
compare the different ways that
humans interact with the species.
In my own classroom...
I have seen the adverse effects of the Critical Race Theory. I visit schools of all shapes, sizes, and neighborhoods. It is sad to say that most schools in wealthier neighborhoods are largely white students and established teachers. The neighborhoods within lower class areas typically havee larger class sizes, younger teachers, students are often times bilingual, and the students come from various minority backgrounds. These schools also tend to be older and not equipped with the most modern technology.

As a more positive outlook on the educational social structure, I have started to work with schools that works against anti-racism. Charter schools that work off a lottery enrollment tend to have higher diversity levels and there seems to be a greater sense of equality among the students. I largerly prefer public charter schools to traditional public schools.
In my classroom...
In my classroom...
I hate to admit that I too, fall under the umbrella of educators that find themselves correcting certain students over others.

When working with students that may use a country dialect, or in my area, a mountain dialect, I will more often correct their grammar, pronunciation, or general manner of speaking.
Why do I do that? Does it fall under the Cultural Difference Theory? I think that it absolutely does! These students that I speak of, have their full time teachers speak to them in their same dialect. To them and their classroom, it is perfectly correct, in my classroomm that they only spend 60 minutes in, I find it to be wrong and I may be indavertenly punishing them for it.

I should instead try to connect the lesson back to their familiar culture or tie in the differences of others.

Using ISTE standards to inspire a multicultural classroom.
Use simple iPad or android apps to allow student to draw their identity map or tree digitally. Go further by challenging a students' creativity by encouraging them to make a video about themselves.
Using Technology to learn more about various cultres and the habitats they live in.
Use Google Earth to view different regions of the world. For example, view find the Florida Everglades on Google Earth for the American Alligator then explore the Chinese swamps for the Chinese alligator. Students can compare and contrast the two areas of the planet right in their classroom.
Direct students in building a model of a swamp preservation area. This area needs to have blueprints, landscaping concepts, and safety features.

Use Skype to video conference with a local or even international zoo to see how zookeepers care for alligators and to learn more about their husbandry needs.
Using technology to develop career skills and to meet real world professionals.
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