Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Learning Log

As I read and studied about gender and group differences I learned so much! It was so interesting to read about the different biases we form in our minds for different cultures or genders. One thing that I really thought about was making students comfortable in their classroom environment no matter what their home environment is. We talked about cultural mismatches and helping the student transition from home to school life. One other thing I learned was that there is a very minimal and in some areas no difference at all in girls and boys abilities to perform in certain areas. So many times we assume boys are good at and like math, science, and spatial activities. We also assume that girls like and are good at language arts, social skills, and art. Genders seem to follow those patterns, but it makes me wonder if we train students to like and do typical gender related activities.

It is important as I go into a classroom that I don't have any biases and treat every student the same giving them equal opportunity. If I encourage students to do the things that they want to do and not what someone of that gender normally does then all of the students will be able to thrive and succeed at the things they desire to do. It is also important for me to not look at students of different cultures and automatically assume something about them because of the stereotype that is in my head. Each student is unique and individual and I will need to get to know that student personally and find out the needs of that student and how I can help them achieve in the classroom. One thing I think that will be so important is to have open lines of communication with all the parents of my students. Most of the time if you can talk with the parents and get an idea of what that child is like and how their life if outside of school we will be able to better meet the needs of that student. Just like the example in the book where the teacher was having trouble engaging in conversation with one of her students, once she understood that he thought it was disrespectful to look her in the eye she would look the other way while they conversed and the boy was excited to speak with her. If we can just find out ways to make our students comfortable we will both be able to succeed in the classroom.

As I prepare to become a teacher I can always keep in mind these gender and cultural differences and try to overcome them. I hope that when I am a teacher I will be able to teach every student equally and that every student will have the same opportunity to succeed in my classroom regardless of race, culture, religion, or gender. Hopefully before I become a teacher I will be able to learn more about different cultures that will help me to more fully understand the students in my classroom.