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(Image from Forclass.com)

When reading An Indian’s Father’s Plea by Robert Lake (Medicine Grizzlybear), it made me really upset to think how much this child had to suppress while being at school. I always took the reading as a way for me to reflect on what I could have done as a teacher in the same situation. When growing up, in most cases, we are taught all the ins-and-outs of our cultural background. Whether this is the food, stories or dances. We are taught to be proud of who we are and where we come from. However, just because that’s what we are taught doesn’t mean that everyone else is going to be just as accepting as the ones around us. This goes for Wind-Wolf as well, a kindergartener who was deemed as “slow to learn” because his native American background taught him to learn differently than the “average” white student. But the whole time that I was reading this letter from a pleading, concerned father I was wondering that if Wind-Wolf’s teacher even gave him the time of the day in the first place, or did they automatically put a label on him because the length of his hair or the uniqueness of his name. If I were to be in that same teacher’s situation I would have taken the time to introduce Wind-Wolf to the class and even give him a chance to teach the rest of the class aspects of his culture. We are so shocked when kids say racist/prejudice things yet we don’t even take the time out of our days to educate them on different cultures than their own. In this link that I found it gives teachers tips on how to introduce diversity to the classroom:  http://educationtothecore.com/2016/04/ways-to-celebrate-diversity/

 

One question that I have for the class is what is some ways that you would handle this situation as a teacher? If a student’s parent emailed you pleading to give their son an equal chance as the rest, how would you handle it? What kind of techniques would you use in your classroom to help kids be proud of their diversity? I think I would let students do show and tells/ mini projects explaining interesting and cool parts of their backgrounds that kids would find interesting.

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2 thoughts on “Are Teachers Suppressing Cultural Pride? A Reflection

  1. I agree. My heart was breaking while I was reading this. A big problem in what we’re learning in this course seems to be just how to let people of all creeds and diverse backgrounds retain their culture while also assimilating them into the established dominant one. If the roles were reversed it would be easier for the currently oppressed, but it would not eliminate the problem, it would just be reversed roles. This is not an easy question to answer. I like your suggestion though. Projects and presentations that both enhance a student’s self-esteem in their culture as well as encourage classroom respect/appreciation for what is different. I would recommend studies on great works of pop-culture that utilize drawing from different cultures for a synthesis of a final product; like Lord of the Rings for European, and Avatar the Last Airbender for Asian cultures, or even Star Wars for aspects from both.

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  2. I agree with you on how it is heartbreaking while reading the articles and that culture isn’t always a matter people discuss in the classroom. In the future I hope this will never happen to me where a child is not feeling accepted and is rejecting their own culture in hopes where they can fit in with the others. I like the idea where you say you will have them all do mini projects to show their culture to their classmates in hope of mutual acceptance among others.

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