Having difficulty publishing a video, so I will just share the link: http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/72238/july-27-2006/better-know-a-district—district-of-columbia—eleanor-holmes-norton
Watch from 4:35 for a couple of minutes for relevant material.
Having read Ladson-Billings’ article and stance on “colorblindness” before, I always am reminded of Stephen Colbert’s ongoing joke of his own colorblindness. Colbert frequently insists, “I don’t see color. I don’t see myself as white. People tell me I’m white, and I believe them because…[insert joke here].” His reverse-psychology-type of humor highlights the near-ridiculousness of a concept such as race-blindness. Race and color are part of a person’s identity, and typically part of your own identity. To pretend you do not see or acknowledge this aspect, or to ignore and pretend you do not see differences is just a blatant lie.
Insisting on colorblindness as a reason to treat all students “equally” is counter-productive and ultimately leads to digression and continued racism in the classroom. We know as educators that being culturally relevant and differentiating are not about treating all students equally, but about treating all students EQUITABLY, which entails seeing them as individuals and as they are. I truly believe that it is impossible to avoid stereotyping others. However accepting and just you think you are, it is human nature to categorize and stereotype those around us in order to make sense of the world. Now, ASSUMING that all stereotypes hold true to all people included in the stereotype is where we can go wrong. As teachers, it is our responsibility to give all students and other people the chance to be just that – people. We should recognize and celebrate differences, and while acknowledging aspects of individuality like race, religion, beliefs, and even personality, we give everyone the opportunity to succeed.
I choose this music video as my American Artifact, because more that the patriotic aspect of identifying as America, I think the social and cultural world of being American is very distinct. A large part of American culture and society has been the popular culture, and I have to say when I think of a good-old-American-summer, the Beach Boys are the soundtrack. 🙂 I believe this band, song, and video, more than just having USA in the title, represent a lot about American pop culture. The video is a part of a television show, and television has been huge in our society for decades; the Beach Boys were an iconic boy band of an era, and even still today.
John Dewey said, “Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is, not a preparation for life; education is life itself.”
My interpretation of the social education and teaching elementary social studies aligns with just that. It seems to me that “The Nature of Social Education” article and outline we read for this week is in complete agreement, too. Effective educators committed to supporting students to be thriving members of a communicative and vibrant society do not simply want students to “be taught,” but rather, we’d prefer for students to really “learn.” To an average citizen, or even a mediocre educator, the difference between these concepts may not exist; but to me, putting the student in the responsible, active voice or experience makes all the difference. Social studies is one area of education that is often overlooked, but, as emphasized in the same article from Hamston & Murdoch, can and should be integrated with content from other curricula to education and allow students to fully experience their education, their lives, and the world we all live in.
Black Ants and Buddhists by Mary Cowhey is unlike any ‘textbook’ I’ve ever had to read. It is not only easy to get through, but makes me smile and offers legitimate teaching advice from a legitimate teacher. While almost all of her experiences and anecdotes in the Prologue and beginning of the third chapter seem nothing but idealistic (particularly in the children’s reactions and understandings of the classroom and world they participate in), I think there is great value to her positivity and specific explanations of her routine and philosophy towards children and teaching. This first grade teacher runs and inspirational, integrated-curricula classroom (full of little geniuses, I might add). While she may have full access to some resources that other schools and teachers may not, the purposeful activities, routines, games, and discussions she includes can still be applicable to any elementary teacher. I am specifically grateful for the detail she includes in her daily schedule, outlining what typical activities look like, providing alternatives for those activities depending on the day and situation, explaining why she includes and elaborates upon this or the other, and effective ways to integrate lessons throughout the day – never isolating lessons or dragging on. I think it is important for elementary teachers, especially in the primary grades, to learn to effectively use mini-lessons like hers throughout the day, AND to establish such a routine as she has. I can honestly see myself using this book as a crucial resource during my first couple years of teaching, and modeling my own classroom and instruction on Ms. Cowhey’s.