Final Reflection

After taking this class, I have learned a lot about diversity and how it relates to myself and my classroom. There were many aspects of privilege I was not aware that I had, and how this impacts me and my teaching. Although I do try to incorporate diversity into my classroom, it seems that there is always more I can be doing. I also realized that diversity does not have to just be about skin color, but it can also relate to gender and socioeconomic status as well and those are important aspects that I would like to work on incorporating into my classroom as well. I also got some great ideas on social justice lesson ideas from my classmates that would be incredibly beneficial to use in the classroom to help teach diversity. I believe that teaching students at an early age about diversity will make them more tolerant and accepting of those who are different from them. The sooner we have these discussions and teach these lessons, the better off our students will be in the future.

Thank you!

Michelle

Stereotype Threat

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A stereotype threat can be defined as when a person, once aware of the stereotype, can be subject to conforming to stereotypes about their social group. For example, many believe that girls do not perform as well as boys when it comes to math. Now, a girl who is about to take a math test becomes aware of this stereotype threat, now performs more poorly than she would have if she was not thinking about this stereotype. Stereotype threats can take many forms. They can be academic, athletic, age, classroom performance and more.

An example of a classroom performance stereotype threat Steele shares with us is when Ted MacDougal was in an African American political science class. Ted truly felt his “whiteness” in this class since a majoirty of students were black. He also felt as if he were walking on eggshells with things we thought and said because he did want to fall victim to the stereotypes that exist about him because he is a white male. He did not want to seem insensitive so this put a large amount of pressure on him to say and do the right things to not offend. (Steele, 2010).

An example of an academic stereotype threat is when Steele discusses how many black college freshman and sophmores performed more poorly on standardized tests when their race was made more apparent to them.

These stereotype threats could have a large impact on the classroom. There are ways to reduce these stereotype threats in order to make your classroom an accepting community. One major way to reduce the stereotype threat is to foster a growth mindset. This means to teach students that we are not born with our intelligence or how smart we will be. Teaching students this mindset will help them not fall victim to the stereotype threat. All students will believe that they can achieve if they try/want to learn, rather than blaming their identity for why they cannot learn.

Another way to help reduce the stereotype threat is by making your classroom a place where it is okay to fail or make mistakes. In my school, we are big on the phrase F.A.I.L is the first attempt at learning and teaching our students this motto allows them to feel safe when making mistakes. Building a community in which it is okay to make mistakes and a community where it is okay to take risks can help to combat the stereotype threat.