“Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.”
Today, I began reading Managing Diverse Classrooms: How to Build on Students’ Cultural Strengths (Rothstein-Fisch & Trumball, 2008). The foreword introduced the top three “components for achieving cultural responsive management: (1) recognition of one’s own cultural beliefs, biases, and assumptions; (2) acknowledgment of others’ ethnic, cultural and other differences; and (3) understanding of the ways that “schools reflect and perpetuate discriminatory practices of the larger society” (Weinstein, Curran, & Tomlinson-Clarke, 2003 as cited in Rothstein-Fisch & Trumball, 2008, xiv). The movie “Freedom Writers” is an example of an initial teacher failing to sincerely relate to students, therefore losing respect from the students. However, the movie is also an excellent example of a teacher creating a culture of community, by exposing the implicit commonalities between diverse students through interaction.
Teachers take on the responsibility of bridging the cultural gap between themselves and the classroom, as well as the gap between the students. Every teacher will benefit if they “know how to (1) examine their own cultural values, (2) develop understanding of the values of others and regard them in a nonjudgemental way, and (3) apply what they learn about cultural differences to the improvement of classroom practices…in a way that is meaningful, nonthreatening, and not overwhelming” (Rothstein-Fisch & Trumball, 2008, xiv).
“Freedom Writers” is an extreme case of a secondary school experiencing the tribulations of the Rodney King era. As a pre-service 21st century teacher, I am cautiously optimistic about societal norms and also prepared to encounter diverse student populations. Interacting with my students, as well as incorporating multicultural lessons will help me to be more knowledgeable about my students differences. Teachers can combine cultural awareness and classroom management to help students become more familiar with the importance of cultural pedagogy.
Gutek, G., Levine, D. & Ornstein, A. (2011). Foundations of Education, 11th Edition. CA: Wadsworth.
(2011). incorporating culture. [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.teachersofcolor.com/2009/04/incorporating-cultural-diversity-in-the-classroom/
Rothstein-Fisch, C., & Trumball, E. (2008). Managing Diverse Classrooms: How to Build on Students’ Cultural Strengths. (p. xiv). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum.