The personal learning network for educators
Like all of us, educators bring their own cultural beliefs to their schools..Data from the National Research Center reveal that in general, Americans evaluate minority groups more negatively than Whites..Respondents were asked to evaluate on a scale of 1-7 characteristics of Whites, Jews, African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Southern Whites..These characteristics included intelligence, laziness, and motivation to be self-sufficient..African Americans and Latinos were ranked last or next to last on almost every characteristic measured (cited in Association of American Colleges and Universities, 1998)..stereotypes of non-Whites are carried into the schools and classrooms..
Although educators might not make their beliefs public, they have been heard to profess that all African Americans are gang members; African American and Latino students use confrontation to get what they want; minority students cheat because that is how they get along in society and that minority parents really don't care whether their children get a good education..Some teachers believe that students from poverty fail to achieve because they lack the necessary motivation..Included in this deficit model is that teachers have low expectations for students whom they believe are unable to meet high expectations..They tend to demand less academically and behaviorally, which translates into fewer opportunities to achieve and a decreased chance of graduating and going on to higher education..
Attitudes like this could partially stem from geographic location..For example, an analysis of why Blacks in Jamaica achieved higher levels than Blacks in the United States, given that the former live in such terrible poverty compared to the latter, showed that" The fundamental assumption in the Caribbean on the part of those Blacks' teachers, was that all students were teachable." No one doubted for a moment that the students could not be taught; not the students, their parents, or teachers!! The academic support teachers provide within the classroom is also related to their expectations of students and often differentiated, based on beliefs and expectations related to race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class..
In the classroom, teachers tend to call on those students whom they perceive to be more able learners and engage them more actively in the learning process..They are more likely to provide extra time and help to these students because they expect them to learn, grow, and succeed..
On the other hand, teacher tend to become impatient with and ignore students whom they believe are unable to achieve to the levels of the others in the classroom..Often, these lower expectations are related to cultural beliefs about the academic ability of the students..Unfortunately, educators often equate students' use of non-standard English with ignorance or rebellion, thus reacting to these students in negative ways such as holding lower expectations of them, considering them to be too ignorant to speak proper English, or focusing on how students express themselves rather than what students are expressing..
Unfortunately, students who are uncomfortable with or not used to speaking standard English, either because English is not their first language, or because they have been raised in an environment colored by distinctly different speech patterns and means of expression, may feel alienated by being thrust into an environment in which they must focus not only on learning content but also in communicating that knowledge in a way that was acceptable to that teacher..Some teachers go so far as to belittle these students in front of their peers or ignore them completely..As a result, students may lose confidence in themselves and their motivation to learn..."Between the Rhetoric and Reality" Lauriat Press;Simpkins&Simpkins, 2009:Amazon.com...