Culture and Diversity in the Classroom

Culture is like an iceberg. This analogy may be overused and predictable, but I found the use for this purpose very fitting. I learned that we only see the top third of this iceberg, Image result for different coloured children armswhich is comprised of the food, dress, and language of a culture. These are all visual indicators of culture. Whereas child-rearing beliefs, cleanliness, and roles in relation to age, gender, and class which are found below the surface of the water are not visually seen. Culture is complex and textbook definitions are vague, so describing culture as an iceberg is a great way to explain the confusing concept.

When you can only see a small part of someone’s culture, attaching stereotypes and assumptions will not only lead to incorrect expectations, but also hurt the student in the long run. I learned that oftentimes stereotypes, even ones that seem positive, have heavily negative effects on students. For instance, the seemingly positive belief that Asian-American students are smart puts an unbelievable amount of pressure on student.

In education the words ‘achievement gap’ become a hot topic. I had never seen the study as problematic. Then I learned that when non-white ethnic students are compared to white students it sets the white students as normal, and everyone else as different.

When it comes to teaching in an ever changing society, I feel that I have a lot to learn to successfully teach multicultural education. I connected to the use of the social divide ‘us’ and ‘them’. These terms were used regularly in my Education Core Studies 110 class to dismantle the many binaries and biases we covered in the curriculum. I also connected to the use of gender bias in teaching. I often find myself affirming the statistic that high achieving males are given the most attention and high achieving females are given the least. It is easy to assume that females have their bearings together and that my attention can be focused on more problem areas, but I must try to stop this way of thinking as it is not fair.

Image result for gender separate schools

My question for this reading is what effect does having single-sex classroom have on social development after school is over? Also, how does the school system approach children who do not identify with either gender? This so-called solution does not seem to be in favour of the child’s social development.