Dr. Douglas L. Ragland
Dr. Kris Gutierrez-Race and Culture
The video on Race and Culture was very enlightening in terms of how we should view students; different cultures in gaining personal insight and thus allowing ourselves as educators to teach to the students’ regularity, variance and the like. We should develop culturally developed pedagogy in the aforementioned areas and not teach to a monotonous standard of one size fit all or that certain ethnic groups learn in certain ways.
We are doomed for failure or not reaching the full potential of students when we do this and this is an injustice to the students. We should focus on the individual aspects of teaching students in respect to their cultural and everyday living as we prepare pedagogy to implement in our classroom settings and thus this will enhance learning and success on an optimal level.
In essence in our world of globalization, cultural differences and the like we must understand and gain knowledge of the respective cultures in our educational settings, make curriculum relevant to cultural experiences in terms of daily living and individual cultural differences, and avoid teaching to group perspectives. These strategies will lead to successful teaching and learning in our respective classrooms and schools.
Response to Vignette
This was a very insightful vignette by a very intelligent student. The student expressed his views on the importance of educators developing relevant curriculum based on cultural differences, listening to students, valuing their opinions, creating an open environment to engaging in discussions, and developing trust between teachers and students in enhancing the learning environment as a result of mutual respect and trust in creating healthy dialogues on controversial issues such as racisms.
In essence, the student wanted to enhance his high school experience as a result of the aforementioned factors and his plea was for his teacher to incorporate these actions for the betterment of all students and teachers in creating a successful learning environment. I certainly applaud his efforts in this regard.
Community –Based Projects-Activity 6
As a school principal, superintendent and community leader I valued community based projects. As a school principal, my staff and I worked to create a “Learn and Serve Environment with community agencies in contributing to community success, personal development and mutual benefits on a two way scale between the community and the school. We created relationships with the local nursing home by having students to read stories from books to various patients and provide creative gifts to them in uplifting their spirits. We also worked with our local fire department in raising $25,000.00 dollars to purchase the first ever Thermal, Imaging Helmet which allowed them to see clearly as they penetrated heavily smoke-filled areas in their rescue efforts to save lives. We had very strong recycling programs in our school to aid the community as well as our students in understanding the value of recycling. As superintendent of schools, my staff and I valued community based projects in developing partnerships with the city council, chamber of commerce and higher education institutions in community development, recognition of student excellence via scholarships, and advanced educational opportunities and interactions for secondary and postsecondary students of various cultures. In our efforts of working in the community students and educators gained tremendous experience and interaction with all cultures and truly benefited from the “Learn and Serve” Concept via community based projects and interactions. Last but not least in my role as a community leader on the planning commission, chamber of commerce, we practice and exercise community involvement in bettering our communities, businesses, and schools with input from all stakeholders representing a variety of cultures and ethnicities.
Educator Reflection-Parent Interviews-Activity 8
In my role as Superintendent of Schools, I was very cognizant of cultural differences in accommodating parents to participate in education of their children and gain knowledge of their rights and responsibilities as well. We provided periodic and required Title I Workshops to make parents aware of their responsibilities, rights, and information regarding the qualifications of the teachers teaching their children. We also made efforts to provide translators, as well as assistance from English Proficient children of parents for those who had difficulty speaking English at both the school and district levels. We had an open school policy and parents were welcomed at our schools. We were very cognizant of cultural and or church events and traditions and scheduled all school events to avoid these conflicts, thus enhancing attendance greatly. Parents were accommodated at both the school and district levels in scheduling parent conferences in an effort to strengthen communication and support in working together to enhance the education of the students. The expectation and requirement that all documentation pertaining to student learning and success, were adhered to and present during parent conferences. Dialogue of openness, fairness, and high expectations were expressed in these conferences as well. Also, where possible, during the registration process, allowances were made in reference to getting required information in for registration to prevent students from losing valuable instructional time as a result of not being enrolled in school. We expressed and communicated to parents this rationale as well as the urgency to comply in getting required documents to us within a certain timeline. We were successful in those efforts and I attribute that to excellent follow-up and communication skills. All in all, we were very flexible, understanding, clear, and positive to our parents regarding the education of their children and we worked very hard to accommodate them in an effort to eliminate potential barriers such as special economic circumstances that would prevent them from fully participating in the school activities pertaining to their children. The aforementioned attributes and strategies have truly enhanced my professional development in the area of working with people of all cultures.