IMagineIT - Phase 4 Problemitizing My ImaginIT Project
The DreamKeepers – pg. 36 “The usual antidote for this persistent view of African American children is for the viewer to pretend that he or she does not see the color that once forced their ancestors into slavery. Thus the teacher claims to be color-blind. However, such claims cannot be valid. Given the significance of race and color in American society, it is impossible to believe that a classroom teacher does not notice the race and ethnicity of the children she is teaching. Further, by claiming not to notice, the teacher is saying that she is dismissing one of the most salient features of the child’s identity and that she does not account for it in her curricular planning and instruction. Saying we are aware of students’ race and ethnic background is not the same as saying we treat students inequitably. The passion for equality in the American ethos has many teachers (and other) equating equality with sameness. “ “The notion of equity as sameness only makes sense when all students are exactly the same. But even within the nuclear family children born from the same parents are not exactly the same. Different children have different needs and addressing those different needs is the best way to deal with them equitably. The same is true in the classroom. If teachers pretend not to see students’ racial and ethnic differences, they really do not see the students at all and are limited in their ability to meet their educational needs.” This quote from the book, The Dreamkeepers explains the unfortunate assumptions that many teachers carry into the classroom – that all students are the same and that there are no color or ethnic differences. To me, this view of students is one that is a genuine expression of people who think being “fair” means treating everyone the same. Yes, fairness is expected with certain situations, such as following rules, behavior expectations, consequences, etc. However, when it comes to instruction, in my view, treating everyone the same is not fairness, but the exact opposite. As teachers, we must make modifications and accommodations for our students because of their different knowledge levels and variability of skills, background and cultural experiences. For my ImagineIT project – “STEMulating Dance”, I must keep this concept in mind as I choose my STEM/Dance lessons – music, choreography, math/science concepts, engineering challenges, and collaborative learning strategies. Meeting the needs of my different students is an important factor in my planning and instruction. Since most of my students are black students, I plan to utilize my pre-assessment tool to help me identify my students’ individual needs and skills. This information will help me to deliver instruction and assess students equitably throughout the project.