Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How could you, as a teacher, learn about the diversity in your classroom and get to know your students from multiple perspectives? Make sure to reference the readings and our class discussions.

When I did my student teaching at the Child Development Laboratory, learning about the diversity within my classroom was one of the things I tried to do the most. Because my classroom was a 21 month class, I was left to learn about my students by my individual interaction with the child, the child's parents, the child's interaction with each other. When learning about diversity, I really used the parents as a resource. We went on homevisits, had the parents fill out informational forms, and used school led, family functions to further develop relationships. My classroom had twelve students. Two children were English Language Learners, a family from Pakistan and a family from India. We had a child who had been adopted less than a year earlier from Guatamala. In a previous class, we read a lot from Ladson-Billings. In these readings, they refer to an insider-outsider perspective. This perspective refers to who is credible to talk about a certain group of people. I feel like it is problematic, by setting a "norm," for all people in generall.But that wasn't the only diversity and if we limit it to an insider/outsider perspective, we are doing ourselves and the children a disadvantage. We had working mothers and stay at home fathers. A single mother was an emergency room physician. Families with pets to share, nannies from other countries, and newborn babies. I emphasized these individual differences and had parents involved in many of the things we did in the classroom, because they have experiences we may never have known.

Fast forward to now. The problem comes when I step out of the lab school and enter the real world. Without the opportunities for some of the teacher/parent interactions, it would be more difficult to realize those wonderful differences between everyone. In addition, although sad, can we always trust the parents as the ONLY resource? Our daily interactions expand our knowledge of the diversity of all children in our classroom.

Honestly, I am nervous about how this will turn out in my own classroom. I am very curious and interested to see how everyone else sees this happening. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's blog :)

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