Everything in education has a philosophical foundation. Although the rationale may not always be clear, there is always an underlying conceptual basis. Policymakers, administrators, and classroom teachers all operate based on beliefs and assumptions about schools, teachers, students, content, and pedagogy. Thoughtful educators can articulate their philosophy of education, and they continually work to align their theory and their practice.
The purpose of this assignment is to capture one aspect of your philosophy of education at this early stage in your development as an educator. A comprehensive philosophy of education must include your thoughts on the best way to make schools work for all students, regardless of their background.
While there is widespread agreement that no student should be disadvantaged in schools by virtue of their cultural background, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, and/or religion, American education today clearly works better for some students than others. For example, Jacqueline Irvine, a professor of Urban Education at Emory University, has addressed the scholastic underachievement of African-Americans, arguing that African Americans have struggled in traditional American schools more than white students because of a lack of “cultural synchronization” between their schools and their communities outside of school. In short, the school espouses values, communication styles, and customs that are in conflict with the values, communication styles, and customs of African-Americans. Sonia Nieto and Richard Rivera have made the same argument about Latinos, and Ruby Payne and Rita Pierson have extended this concept to young people who grow up in poverty.
For this assignment, you are required to think about how to address this apparent breakdown between the culture of schools and the varying cultures of their diverse students. Before beginning your Statement on Cultural Synchronization, consider the following questions:
What should be the relationship between the culture of students and the culture of school?
What structures in schools serve to reproduce the culture of the school at the expense of the culture of the student? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Why?
What difficulties might a teacher have in confronting and potentially changing those structures? How would/will you deal with these difficulties?
Should we have varying levels of expectations for different students? Why or why not?
Should all students be required to learn the same thing? Why or why not?
Should all students be required to learn in the same way? Why or why not?
Should all students be required to demonstrate their mastery of content in the same fashion? Why or why not?
In addition, reflect on your own values, beliefs, educational experiences, and expectations for schools and teachers. Refer back to this information as you write your Statement.
The different elements of your Statement on Cultural Synchronization should fit together. You should not contradict yourself. For example, you should not argue that all students are equally capable of learning and then suggest that certain students are more gifted and likely to succeed than others. If such conflicts in your thinking emerge, you likely need to think more deeply about what you actually believe.
Your statement should be 3-5 pages long and should be written in APA-6 style.
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