Thursday, August 18, 2005

Another Multicultural rant

Seriously, I'm looking for context in this classses. I ask people to explain how this will make me a better teacher, and I get the same damn answer.
"You just need to be sure that you are sensitve and aware of other cultures."
The worse part is that the current system punishes you if you don't believe that this class is necessary. You must be a racist or be uncaring of migrant children or just be a bad teacher if you don't like multicultural education classes.

The assignment was to read about 10 articles about Multicultural education regarding a certain ethnic group. Mine was Latinos. The question was, "What ideas did you gain from the articles this week? Was anything eye-opening?" Here was my answer:

No, and here's why.

Nearly every article made reference to or supplemented teaching strategies that should be used in every classroom, not just in one that might have ELL students, or (as the articles looked at) migrant students. Hence the problem with multicultural education, the focus is on good teaching towards certain ethnic groups, instead of good teaching for everyone. Multiple articles mention that it is good to bridge a child's experience with what is going on the in classroom, that it will enhance the child's learning by lowering the affective filter.
Ok......and the point is? Isn't this just good teaching practice? Does it have anything to do with cultural identity? Should it?
You know, I had multicultural classes in my teaching credential program and I was totally open to what they had to say. Then I became very irritated with them when I got into the classroom (a diverse classroom) when I realized that it wasn't about teaching, it was about changing a person's view on culture, and that teaching other cultures MUST be done differently because the way we teach our culture MUST be wrong. Except, that they are the same, exact methods used in teaching everyone in the dominant cultures classroom. I know about culture, and the concepts surrounding culture. I studied culture, teach culture, and accept the fact that cultures are different. Since every student has a different culture, why is it that “culture” is dealing so much with ethnicity?
The problem is that Multiculturalism classes are saying that teachers should not be focused on assimilating students into the dominant culture, yet the learning strategies come from the dominant culture. It’s as if it is wrong to say that SDAIE works in all classrooms, regardless of culture. For example, if the student doesn’t know English, then we get that student the help necessary to make that student successful. Hey, surprise…….if one of my Seniors has a 3rd grade reading level, wow, we get that student help in order for the student to succeed. I just spent 45 minutes reading articles about SDAIE, only they act as if SDAIE was designed for Latino students, which is absolutely ridiculous because SDAIE is supposed to be, in essence, teaching to different learning modalities. Once again, good teaching. It is as if there is a fear to say “The best way to teach these students is to prepare them for the dominant culture, you know, the one that has been very successful during the last 200 years”. Nobody is asking ethnic groups to remove all semblance of their identity, but isn’t assimilation necessary for success in the United States? Aren’t we doing students a disservice by saying that aspects of their culture that are not successful in the United States, are ok when we teach the students academics?
What is the point of this entire multicultural mode of thinking? And don’t tell me it’s about sensitivity because teachers are supposed to be sensitive to student needs, regardless of ethnicity.

What a supreme waste of my summer.
blog comments powered by Disqus