Friday, April 26, 2013

Connecting Social Work to Our Class

We learned about "Blaming the Victim" scenarios in our Social Work 240 class, where people are blamed for their social problems when in fact a larger system, such as the government, is responsible.

Savage Disovery in Schools, The Folklore of Cultural Deprivation, by William Ryan coincides with a discussion we had regarding culture of space at home verses at school; they are different so going to school can be a difficult transition for multicultural children.
  "They ["educationists"] found that lower class children, particularly lower class minority children, have had less exposure than middle class children to certain kinds of experiences that are helpful in the school situation. What kind of experiences? We are by no means sure, but they seem to be related to hearing, talking, and seeing" (Ryan 35). Moreover, the article clearly states ideas brought up in the articles we have read, specifically from Delpit. From our lessons and discussions, I can personally conclude that these minority children are having difficulties for multiple reasons:
I like to think of this as a "Learning Tree" which represents
 the classroom and the different branches of students in it.

1. They have not learned the codes of power ex. "Are we suppose to be doing this right now?" (the children takes the teacher literally, though the teacher is subtly saying stop what you are doing)
2. The children have not been exposed to the learning environment the teacher is setting.
3. At home, the children are not spoken to, listened to, exposed to aspects of learning that the teacher is introducing; most likely the parents are working-class/unaware of current education curriculum
4. The child speaks another language at home
so it is difficult for them to learn the way
the teacher speaks to them, especially in English.
5. Therefore, the kids may  not feel like the
 classroom is a "safe space" if their social class
is deemed as unwelcomed.

In essence, the codes of power at home differ from those at school. This leads to miscommunications between student and teacher, which creates a barrier to their learning. Therefore, the teacher must educate themselves on their students' social and ethnic backgrounds in order to educate them in an effective way.
We learned in class, "teachers need to use kids' experiences to teach them."
The teacher can use Collier's theory, for example, and reach out to the child's first language skills and make them feel comfortable in the classroom.

This book sounds interesting in connection with our texts.

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