EDUC 577 Final Reflection

I used to think of diversity in a very narrow myopic context as simply applying to race/ethnicity. This course has opened my eyes to just how far-reaching the word diversity can be and that it impacts all facets of life and how we as individuals identify ourselves.

The biggest takeaway from this course, for me, was really learning about and focusing on inherent biases in curriculum formation and student assessments. I always knew in the back of my mind that a grade’s curriculum had to have some bias because of who develops it but never gave it much thought: it was more out of sight out of mind. As classrooms across the country, including mine, become more diverse it is very important to be aware of how a student’s identity, upbringing and possibly even language barrier can impact his/her learning experience. Formulating lessons that students can better relate to and actively engage with other students creates a better learning environment. Additionally, the course gave me a better appreciation for how federal, state and local governments really do impact schools, teachers and students. Whether it be about levels of funding, curriculum or policies concerning school voucher programs, elections of politicians at all levels really impact education.

I particularly liked the assignment that utilized the cartoon generator. That is technology I definitely intend to utilize in my classroom as I think it is an excellent way to express thoughts and allows the students to have fun with each other either through reading the comic strips out loud to the class or by working as a team to develop a cartoon.

Overall, this course gave me a better awareness and appreciation for the privileges I have had in my life (growing up a middle-class white female) and how there are many others who did not share in this privilege. In fact, many experienced just the opposite in the form of inherent bias in school curriculum or, even worse, overt discrimination. It is my duty as a teacher to be mindful of this and how it informs how I teach and interact with my students. I am thankful for the perspectives this course offered and the awareness it raised in me.

Corey Battersby

Mullen #577 Final Reflection

Throughout this course, we explored how diversity plays a role in education from different perspectives. From a policy standpoint, we examined how governing bodies worked to foster diversity in public schools. Through policies like Title IX, schools strived to become more equitable and accessible for people from different backgrounds.

While the powers that be have set policies to improve conditions, we learned how societal changes needed to occur before the impact was felt. When the cultures of schools remain the same, the policy changes do not work. When public entities are motivated to promote diversity in their institutions and participants recognize the benefits of diversity, genuine change occurs.

We also learned how cultural background and identity contingencies affect people’s education. Challenges like stereotype threat can hinder student performance before they even enter the classroom. Most importantly, we learned ways to recognize the challenges of oppression and privilege to better meet the needs of all students.

There were many aspects about EDUC 577 that have impacted the way I teach. Recognizing how cultural background affects a students perception of school has helped me better differentiate my lesson plans to meet the needs of my students. Recognizing my own identity contingencies has helped me acknowledge that my experience in society may be very different than that of my students and coworkers. Identifying how privilege and oppression play a role in the school system has changed the way I view my classroom. I look forward to applying the principles we learned throughout this semester in my everyday life to ensure that my students get the education they all deserve.