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Multiculturalism and Diversity Paper

Have you ever wondered what it would be like growing up as another race or even going to school as another race? I believe that all children and people should be treated equal as stated in the constitution, however this does not occur in the world that we live in today.

Today as educators we are tying to overcome diversity. According to A Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching by Raymond J. Wlodkowski and Margery B. Ginsberg teachers have developed a comprehensive model of culturally responsive teaching, that accommodates the dynamic mix of race, ethnicity, class, gender, region, religion, and family that contributes to every students cultural identity. I believe that this is what the students need. They need to feel like they belong in the classroom, and that their cultural background is important in learning. I believe that if they feel like their background is important, it will keep them motivated to learn. Motivation is a key element of teaching.

If we feel emotionally attached to what we are learning, we will be motivated to learn. I believe this is true, for example I am taking a music class right now, however I dont feel emotionally attached to that class therefore I am not putting forth all my effort to learn the material. On the other hand my major is Kinesiology with teacher certification, and I do feel emotionally attached to Kinesiology therefore I am motivated to learn the required material. Our emotions are socialized through culture. Our language, beliefs, values, and behaviors are important aspects of our lives.

The example that A Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching gives is; one person working at a task feels frustrated and stops, while another person with a different cultural background working at the same tasks might feel enjoyment and continue. Thus, the response a student has to learning an activity reflects his or her culture. I believe in order for educators to be successful they must make learning fun and enjoyable for the students. The main reason I want to become an educator is because I believe I can make learning fun and exciting for my students and they will want to come to my class.

I also believe that I have the ability to teach everyone the necessary skills to be successful in life. I remember as a child growing up, I had a certain teacher named Mr. Vallem that was so enthusiastic about teaching that it made the classroom exciting, and you actually wanted to come to class. However as a child this scenario does not always happen, some children do not want to come to school at all because they are being teased about their cultural background. As in the case of Wind-Wolf from the article An Indian Fathers Plea by Robert Lake.

In this article Wind-Wolf encountered racism about his cultural background not only by the other children but also by a parent of a child. After school the two boys wanted to play together, so they went to his friends house to ask permission of his mother. As they asked permission the other boys mom lashed out: It is OK if you have to play with him at school, but we dont allow those kind of people in our house! Wind-Wolfs mother asked why not, the other boys mother answered, Because you are Indians and we are white, and I dont want my kids growing up with your kind of people.

When I first read this I was shocked, that a mother would do this to an innocent child who just wanted to play with her son. I have never experienced this before, I guess I was lucky growing up as a child. Race was never an issue in my household. My parents treated my friends with open arms. This however was very traumatic for Wind-Wolf and his family. Wind-Wolf didnt want to go to school anymore. He felt like he didnt belong. Instead of being proud of his race, heritage and culture, he felt ashamed.

As a future educator, this is a serious issue, how do you handle the situation of a child who doesnt feel proud of who he/she is, or who is ashamed of what they are? I believe you need to make the children feel special to be who they are and let them share their knowledge with the classroom. All children have the right to succeed in school and in life, and they should not have that right taken away from them just because their culture might be a little different from the others in the classroom. As stated in this article My Indian child has a constitutional right to learn, retain, and maintain his heritage and culture.

By the same token, I strongly believe that non-Indian children also have a constitutional right to learn about our Native American heritage and culture, because Indians play a significant part in the history of Western society. This statement says a lot, I believe that all cultures play a significant part in history, from blacks to whites to Indians to Mexicans to everyone. Without these cultures America would not be America, as we know it today. I remember as a child growing up, we had the greatest thing called show and tell.

The teacher would pick a student and the next week that student would have to go in front of the classroom and share some things or stories about him or herself. Now as a future educator, I think that this was a great idea. This allowed the students to get to know each other, you could relate to that person some how, know matter what race, religion, or creed. As of today I still have the book I made of my self from show and tell. I dont remember exactly what I said that day, but I remember I was special and everyone was interested in me.

I believe I brought my dad into show and tell and I talked about his job, and what he did for a living. Looking back though that book makes me realize that children are special in their own way and not everyone is the same. Children are so impressionable that even the slightest thing can make a mark in their life. Like how they are treated when growing up, or how their family life is at home. Some children might come from wealthy backgrounds and others from less advantaged backgrounds. As an educator you would like to see all children being taught in the same type of school setting.

However this is not occurring in the United States School systems, as seen the article Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol. Children in less advantaged neighborhoods are being taught in bathrooms, gymnasiums, hallways and closets, which have been converted into classrooms. I dont understand how the government is allowing this to happen. I believe these children should have the same conditions as the other children in the middle-class and upper class societies. This article gave a lot of examples of how the less advantaged children are being taught. I cant imagine going to school everyday and being taught in this type of environment.

This is just another example of how race, social class, and parental wealth are influenced in the education system. In conclusion children are just children and they cant help what type of family life they have, or what race they are, or even their social economic status in society. However they need to be proud of who they are, and we as educators need to make them feel proud to be who they are. Everyday when they walk into our classrooms those children need to feel like they are special and that they can accomplish any goals that need to be accomplished. That is what I am going to strive for as a future educator.

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