Reading Response- Oct 22

3 Things I Learned:

  1. During this chapter, one section that really stood out to me was the association between low SES and stress hormones developing in the early years of a child’s life. The connection between these stress hormones and their negative effects on impulsive and violent behaviours revealed another layer of the ways environment effects children. As for SES, this is a term I have heard often from my family of teachers but I learned within this chapter that SES is not just the amount of income a family earns but rather a complex system of positionality that influences privileges within the greater society. As stated on pg. 196 of the text, factors at play include occupation and education on top of a family’s overall income.
  2. On pg. 205 the text introduced the concept of Stereotype Threat, or being afraid to align with or confirm with a stereotype. This is a new concept in name for me, however I have seen this play out especially within the Department of Music (my other department) where women are incredibly stressed about not doing well in conducting classes or ensembles which might confirm the stereotype that women cannot be as highly skilled musicians as men. It was interesting to me that this is a researched and proven idea, and that stereotype threat has an adverse effect on performance. I wonder how we can foster success if these stereotypes are already in place and what kind of language we can use as educators to eliminate fears and feelings of stereotype threat?
  3. The portion of the text on Sociolinguistics also stood out to me, as I have long wondered why some children seem to “get it” in the classroom through body language and classroom expectations and others seem to completely disregard the social norms. Reading this chapter I realized that white and middle class normals are reflected in the social expectations of a classroom and therefore white and middle class children are most often seen as good communicators. The section following instructing that if a teacher has social conventions they expect within the classroom setting then these rules and regulations must be taught explicitly to children, such as raising a hand to ask for turn and how to ask thoughtful questions.

2 Connections I Made:

  1. Reading the example of discrimination given by the textbook being Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka I was reminded of a podcast I listen to called Revisionist History, hosted by Malcolm Gladwell, and a particular episode specifically about Linda Brown. While the story is the same, I can recognize that the textbook leaves out an important portion of the narrative which includes the firing of almost every teacher from the black segregated school when integration was announced in Topeka. This action eradicated any representation of black teachers for black students within their schooling moving forward, and as the textbook states “simply putting people in the same building does not mean they will come to respect each other or even that they will experience the same quality of education” pg 202.
  2. The Point/Counterpoint on page 199 surrounding tracking reminds me of a similar inner dialogue that has been going on within me for quite some time. Within my own schooling I often felt that I was bored because I wanted more of a challenge, or even more often that there were only a couple of students that could really challenge my thinking and push me forward in learning. On the other hand, I know that children that are achieving lower classroom grades need the support of students who can quickly grasp concepts. My positionality within this narrative also comes from a smaller town where there weren’t many options for forming a class that would do advanced work, however one of my favourite classes was a Grade 5 English class in which the teacher split the reading groups by ability level and our group had more freedom in creating our own outcomes for the assignments. I can recognize when looking back that all of my peers within that reading group came from middle class or wealthy homes and were all very familiar with the sociolinguistics of the classroom.

1 Question I Have:

What do the habits of teachers who successfully manage a diverse and culturally conscious classroom look like? Is any educator ever perfect in their pursuit for an inclusive space in their classroom? What do we do when we make mistakes?

 

 

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