Reflection

            I found this course to be very insightful and useful as an educator. There is no way to avoid the diversity of our students. In each classroom we go in to, there will be a wide variety of cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, ability levels, genders, sexual orientations, ages, and values and beliefs. Students need to be able to not only learn in a diverse environment, but learn that diversity is what makes each of them unique.

            I feel as though that as an educator it falls on me to ensure that each of my students is recognized as an individual that has his or her own social justice. I have to also acknowledge that there are various privileges that I have that many of my students do not.

            There were several aspects that I feel as though I will hold onto and continue to work on throughout my career. One of the biggest take away from this course would be including the Social Justice Standards in my teachings. Before this course I had no idea that Social Justice Standards even existed. Teaching younger students, I feel as though it is crucial to implement these into my lessons as much as possible.

            As Johnson (2018) states, “As long as we participate in social systems, we do not get to choose whether to be involved in the consequences that result. We are involved because we are here. As such, we can only choose how to be involved, whether to simply be part of the problem or to also be part of the solution. That is where our power lies, and our responsibility” (p.75). I could not agree with this statement more!

            The first step in becoming part of the solution is first being able to recognize that privilege and oppression are a real thing for our students. Furthermore, its not just being aware of the issue, but also acting on it daily in our classroom.

            Being an educator, I feel as though there are many things we can do to become part of the solution. For myself specifically, I feel as though it is crucial to be able to actively listen to my students. And as Johnson (2018) points out, not just listen to listen, but listen to do something. I also feel as though it is imperative that I just become more aware of the issues of privilege in general. I really liked when Johnson (2018) states, “dare to make people feel uncomfortable, beginning with yourself” (p.123).

Reference:

Johnson, A. (2018). Privilege, Power, and Difference. (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Combating Stereotype Threats

https://www.easel.ly/infographic/2i585v

     The Teaching Center (2019) defines stereotype threat in its article Reducing Stereotype Threats as, “a phenomenon in which a person’s concern about confirming a negative stereotype can lead that person to underperform on challenging assessment or test” (p.1). This means that there is a preconception that has been set forth about certain groups or individuals. Because of this preconception, individuals are at risk of internalizing this risk, very similar to making the preconception a self-fulfilling prophecy. This very likely will have an affect an individual’s performance and abilities.

            While thinking about stereotype threat and their classroom, an educators need to take into consideration how to reduce the stereotype threat. Vivaldi (2010) conducted a study that found, “stereotyped students consistently got better subsequent grades than non-stereotyped students with the same prior test scores or grades” (p. 187).  Taking this into consideration, educators need to be able to use strategies to eliminate or limit the effects of stereotype threats.  

            One way in which educators can reduce stereotype threats in the classroom is by incorporating assessments that are not culturally biased. Thirty seconds into her video, Hurst (2018) describes a culturally biased test as, “a test that yields clear and systematic differences among the results of the test-takers. Typically, test biases are based on group membership of the test-takers, such as gender, race and ethnicity.” With this being said, educators need to make sure that they are doing the best they can to reduce culturally biased assessments (or any other type of stereotype threat) to ensure that all of their students have equal educational and assessment opportunities. 

References

Hurst, Melissa. (2003-2010). Testing bias, cultural bias, & language differences in assessment. Retrieved at https://study.com/academy/lesson/testing-bias-cultural-bias-language-differences-in-assessments.html#/lesson

Steele, C. M. (2010). Whistling Vivaldi: how stereotypes affect us and what we can do. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

The Teaching Center (2016). Reducing stereotype threat. Retrieved from https://teachingcenter.wustl.edu/resources/inclusive-teaching-learning/reducing-stereotype-threat/