My biggest take away from this course occurred during the first few weeks of the semester around personal experiences. The Johnson text, Privilege, Power and Difference forced me to think in a way about myself and my teaching I have not previously done. It opened up my eyes to a completely different point of view which allowed me to consider other positions besides that of a white, middle-class female. Hearing others’ experiences in the class, also got me reflecting more on my life and how fortunate I am.  They often shared things that made me think differently about past experiences. These discussions have allowed me to embrace diversity and meet the needs of students.

The photo essay we had to complete also allowed me to see my district in a different light. Learning about policy and social justice standards this semester allowed me to see that my district is not strong in this area. After speaking with my curriculum director, I know this will be an area of focus for the upcoming school year. My participation in the class will allow me to bring more to the discussion moving forward on how we can be a more culturally responsive district and address these standards. 

Teaching elementary school, I know the importance of starting these conversations around differences, stereotypes, and culture at a young age.  I will continue to develop a culture that is respectful and open to discussions in my classroom so we can meet the needs of all students.

I appreciate all the hard work of everyone in the class and their ability to be open and forthcoming about diversity.  Thank you to all for a great semester. 


Stereotype Threat

Stereotype threat is when a person finds him/herself in a predicament of identity. When in this situation, the performance could confirm a bad view of the group.  According to Steele, “This term captured the idea of a situational predicament as a contingency of their group identity, a real threat of judgment or treatment in the person’s environment that went beyond any limitations within.” (2010, p. 59-60).

Steele came upon this when trying to understand why some groups of people under-performed on tests.  Stereotype threat created the reality that not all classrooms or experiences are the same for everybody. Different people have different ways of interpreting experience and come with different goals and preoccupations. These impact the outcome of a test because even when we are unaware of the stereotype threat it can significantly affect our intellectual functioning. (Steele, 2010, p.61). The bottom line is our social identities shape who we are, what we do, and how well we do it. (Steele, 2010, p. 62).

Steele referenced several individuals who conducted research to see how we could combat stereotype threat in the classroom.  They looked at such things as studying in groups, the feedback people received, putting a value on diversity, and growth mindset. Making simple conscious changes in the classroom can have a lasting impact on minority students.  Carol Dweck’s work with growth mindset has been a focus in my classroom for the last couple of years.  It’s great to realize the work we do around a growth mindset will help with the achievement gaps for minority students.

Link to infographic:


“Empirically Validated Strategies to Reduce Stereotype Threat”.

“Reducing Stereotype Threat.”

Steele, Claude. (2010). Whistling Vivaldi: and other clues to how stereotypes affect us. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.