What I have Learned from Banks so Far

The biggest lesson I have learned from Banks so far is that there is really no down-side to being a culturally diverse teacher and striving to build a more multicultural education. Especially in math and science, there is an incredibly diverse body of contributors to past and current understanding in both fields. And yet, studies continue to indicate that race, gender, SES all contribute to a student’s prospects for success in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). By not seeking transformative multicultural education, I believe we are impoverishing these fields, that is, we are limiting the progress of ideas in these areas of knowledge by not questioning the cause of limited aspirations of historically marginalized groups. The key to changing this, according to Banks, is to work actively to transform education, to forge equity pedagogy in classrooms across America.

The transformation starts small with building a corps of teachers that value cultural competence, that practice regular and deep content integration in their daily lesson plans. These teachers will not be blind to the diversity in the classroom, but will engage it, and will celebrate it in each individual. They will work to reduce prejudice by interrogating their own assumptions, their students’ assumptions and the assumptions in their texts and sources. The transformation continues as more teachers revise their curricula, differentiating their instruction to recognize and celebrate the backgrounds of the students in their charge. These teachers will encourage others to do the same. They will assume their role as facilitators of knowledge construction to create environments where all students identify that their own implicit cultural assumptions, frames of reference and biases are real and yet they still have a role to play, a contribution to make to form a more just community, a more fair society and a more hospitable world. Finally, progress is assured if the entire school culture is transformed to empower students. We as teachers must strive to increase proportionality in student achievement; to end grouping and labeling practices; to foster healthy interaction of students across ethnic, racial and SES lines. It rests on teachers to start this process of transformation and to see it through.

I am convinced that it is only up-side benefit and positive potential to help inspire students from different race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, spiritual practices, political beliefs and other ideologies. By enfranchising these students, we build a stronger country, a stronger future.

References

Banks, J.A., & Banks, C. A. M. (2010) Multicultural Education Issues and Perspectives (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. p. 22.

Advertisements
Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: