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Comments

Marcus Johnson

First and foremost I think a huge problem is that we're living in the era of political correctness. I think that when a teacher is dealing with students of different ethnicities that they are afraid of offending because they lack understanding of that culture. I have dreadlocks, and one thing that bothers me is that people assume that I am a certain way. The main problem in the Delta is that people feel the need to impose their beliefs and way of life on others. Everything from your religion to your personal appearance is placed under a microscope. While @ Delta State I served on a Multi Cultural Committee. We took the time to learn about people with different backgrounds and instead of focusing on how we were different we focused on our commonalities. If more schools implemented things of the sort I don't think the divide amongst cultures would be as great.

Wykena L. Brown

The Mississippi Delta is in a culture of its own. I feel that a lot of things that happen in the Delta do not happen in other areas, because of the different cultures. I feel that ethnicity is not that much of an issue in schools, because the Delta is in a league of its own. In this culture we have to adapt to the surroundings and make an effort to teach and learn in the best ways possible around our cultural values. It is sad, but it is so true.

Kim Nance

Because I lived and taught school in Ecuador, SA, I found that ethnic differences do play a major part in how we teach and treat children. For one thing, everyone comes from a different background and culture, maybe not immediate, but historically. Furthermore, we should realize that we are all a product of our upbringing and the values and standards that our parents, teachers, and other important people in our lives have instilled in us. These people and circumstances do influence how we think about minorities, but because we are all individuals who have the ability to think, we are able to form our own opinions when we get older. These minorities, whether classified as race, religion, disabled, language or political are really just a matter or demographics and population statistics.

My experience working with minority children has brought me to realize that children are children. Some maybe more privaledged than others, and some may come from different cultural backgrounds than others. I have lived outside of the United States and in the Mississippi Delta for about 13 years. I have experienced the prejudicial mentality of some, and the open-mindedness of others. I believe that to be a truly effective and empathetic teacher, we should be aware that there are different cultural backgrounds at play in our educational atmosphere. Teachers would be wise to accept these differences and to find ways in which they can incorporate these differences in the classroom to better educate all students.

Bobbie Amos

I agree with you Marcus! People in the Delta always look at how we differ instead of looking at our commonalities. I can sort-of relate to what you are saying about you being steriotyped because of your dreadlocks. For instance, every 3 out of 10 African Americans have a gold tooth in their mouth. People with gold in their mouth are said to be ghetto (the outer appearance). Statistics proves that at least 1 of the 3 out of 10 is of good character (the inner appearance). Do you understand what I am saying? You can never judge a book by its cover. Since I've been working at the hospital, I have served on a Multi-Cultural Committee as well. We implemented different techniques to gather answers on how different cultures perceived health care. You would be suprised of the answers we received!

brenda kemp

I think that teacher may have not known that they were bias in their teaching styles. I feel that they were aware of the fact that all the students were not accommodated. Society tends to go with the flow as long as nothing is said than why change. Also, some people like to judge others because they are not like them. For, instance with our different religions, so many people seem to believe that if you are not a member of the same church where they worship than you are wrong and you are hell bound. We are wrong for judging others. What kind of whole would this be if we were all the same or looked the same? Teachers need to learn as much as possible about their students, their backgrounds and incorporate this knowledge into their teaching styles to better educate their students.

Takisha Causey

The MS Delta educational system involves children from different cultures. I think it can be a difficult task teaching students from different cultures because some teachers do not understand different cultures. As educators, we must have an open mind and do whatever we can teach children. Race, ethnicity, or culture should not be a factor. Since I teach reading and all of the students in my classroom are African Americans and come from middle class homes. I try to expose them to different cultures through the stories they read in class. Last year, I had my students communicating with students from New York. They found it interesting to communicate with different students from different cultures. I think at the end of the year they gained respect for individuals from different cultures.

Latita Harden

Because the Delta has so many different ethnic backgrounds, I think that teachers should make it a priority to learn about them. They should take out some time to learn about the different cultures that lie behind the students that are in their classrooms. I don't have my own class yet, but I think it would be very interesting to find out about other ethnicities. Because I am a minority, I think it is important for people to learn my culture and find out about my people. That way when you see us on the streets or in the classroom, you would have a better understanding of where i'm coming from. Most minorities feel that others don't understand them because they are different. This type of assumption should not be made in the classroom. No student should feel like the teacher doesn't understand them just because of their race, culture, or ethnicity. All students should feel that the teacher is fair if nothing else.

Linda Ayegbaroju

I also think that teachers are not aware of their bias teaching styles. For instances, most teachers teach the way they have been taught by other teachers in the past. On the other hand, a large part of the teacher values and belief are rooted in their experience. This is why I believe the article is true. After reading the discussion question, I examine myself by reflecting on how I reacted to the white students in my class. The result was I did not change my teaching style. I approached the white students the same way I approached all of my black students. I focus on their behavior and the techniques which were proven to help aid the student in learning. The white students pass and grades were higher then most of their black peers. Maybe this was the reason I never took their culture into account. This school term I will make sure I take this into account.

Ruth Giles

I think we as teachers should become more knowledgabe of different cultures. We must understand that people do come from different backgrounds. Not only do different cultures communicate differently, or have different values.
Families have different values and beliefs of the same culture. Therefore, it is very important to use diverse teaching stategies to include all students even those from different cultures.

Terrence

Not coming from the delta, I still say that minorities are over represented in special education classes. I believe that this is the case in many other towns and cities across the board. Most of the students in these classes don't have a learning disability. I think they may not under the way the teacher is teaching a particular lesson or lessons. The teacher's teaching style is very important for a students to understand and the teacher must think of ways to improve their style if it is not being understood. They may have to change their entire style. The teacher should do what's best for the student's learning.

Patricia Silas

Mississippi is a biased State to me. Sometimes because we are educators we may overlook the negatives of certain situations.Culture diversity is something we all are faced with in the schools. However the goal of the teacher is to make sure all of the students learn to their potential. Therefore, it becomes important that we become educated of the different cultures and their values that effect our students. An experience I remember in one of my early childhood classes about singing songs about different cultures when there may be a child of that ethnic background in there. Who knows what effect it will have on that student.I also agree that when it comes to Special Education, African Americans are not being considered.

Gina Exum

I have been teaching in the Mississippi Delta for 20 years. I look at each child as an individual. Each one is unique and has individual needs and different learning styles. I consider the cultural diversity of the students when teaching different subjects. I look at my job as teaching children, no matter what religion, race, etc.

Jerome Daniels

I feel that most of the special education classes in the Delta are composed of African Americans mainly because there is a lack of identity between behaviorism and intellectual ability. From my observations and experiences, teachers have neglected students because of behavioral problems, and referred these students for special education. These are African American teachers referring these students for disciplinary reasons. If you neglect a child academically, the child will automatically be below grade level. I think the problem with the majority of African Americans in special education is self-inflicted from the African American teachers in the Delta. By the same token, African Americans have to integrate within Mainstream America, have self-respect for African American values, culture, and beliefs. We also have to respect all nationalities' values, cultures, and beliefs. In addition, certain Mainstream American standards you must possess in order to function economically, politically,and socially in this country.

Abby Rowland

I do feel that sometimes as teachers we overlook the culture of our students. We try to teach them according to how we were taught. That is a hard cycle to break, but we must change our pedegogy. We must teach the students who are present in our classroom and treat them with respect, while respecting their culture. This past year, I did not understand some of the traditions that my students held for holidays. I know that this is minor, but it has to do with their culture and background. I just feel that if I can talk to the students and listen to them talk about their life, then I can better understand their culture. Therefore, I can teach these students better because I understand them. No matter where you are in the country, a teacher should understand the students in the classroom. I think that the Delta has a wonderful mixture of culture, we must try to understand it and understand our students.

Rosalynn Lampkin

I think teachers should have a better understanding about the different cultures of their students. It is important to know the difference in the students culture and important for them to learn about other cultures. Different strategies should be used to help enhance student learning because the students come from different backgrounds.

Alicia Curry

I have lived here in the rural MS Delta all my life. In school, the population was always nearly 100% African American, with the exception of 2 or 3 Caucasion students, who fit in quite well though. Many assume that because individuals are of a certain race or nationality, they are supposed to act a ceratin way. Not understanding an individuals culture will certainly create a prejudice or bias to that which we have not been exposed. Some schools in MS such as Velma Jackson in Canton has become a Magnet school, learning about the culture of a different region of the world each 9 wks. I think the concept of the Magnet school can be implemented into programs that seek to educate peole about the unique learning styles of students. It is important for teachers and students alike to consider the many other aspects of a students' culture, besides location or race.

Marie Herrin

I agree with Gina. I have been teaching in the delta for five years, and teaching to me is about teaching to the individual child not anything else. I believe that to be a good teacher I must teach to every child as an individual based on the child's learning ability not on sex, religion, race...

Robin Davis

I think as educators we should be aware of culture diversity in our classrooms. Taking that into consideration, I have always approached all children with the attitude that if you are not learning then I am not doing something right. I expect all students, regardless of their culture to do their best in my class. There have been times when I experienced cultural differences in the classroom, and did not understand why they did something, but you have to just accept that and teach in the best possible way. Here in the Delta we do have cultural differences and sometimes its hard to teach to those you don't understand. We have to make the difference as teachers and teach the child and remember most children want the same things regardless of culture; love, respect and attention.

rosie gatlin

I feel that teachers in general education have the tendency to be bias toward special education students. I have seen this happen when inclusion took place. The teachers tend to think because the students are in special education, they don't know anything. Their expecatation of the students are too low or they don't try to motivate the sped students to reach their highest potential like they do the students with disabilities.

Ruth Giles

After teaching for two years I come to realize that each child is different whether they are minorities or not. However, I have never been the type of person to be to quick to judge another person. I think you should just accept a person for who they are and not what society thinks they should be. In other words don't just go with the flow of what others think. What do you think? People are different whether it's cultural differences or not.

EthelGibson

I think the system here is very biased.You are treated certain ways because of who you are,your family,color or your school contribution. It is so sad that your charactor content and knowledge count for so little. We are educating children for what and to do what? As an educator we are obligated to be fair and unbiased. Often a teacher is ridiculed for doing the right thing.How can we demand so much of our students if we are not true to ourselves. A certain race of people is not the minority, it's the good samaritian.

Diana Mills

I am currently not teaching, but I think it is important for different cultures to be taught in the classroom. I also think it is important for a teacher to evaluate herself through out the year to prevent being biased. This was one of the steps taken from another article from last summer session. A teacher should take into consideration each student's background when addressing certain subjects in the classroom. Every child should be treated as an individual with different needs.

Kenyia Procter

Living in the Delta my entire life, I can actually say that the Delta is a place of its own. There are bias individuals everywhere, but the bias in the Delta stands out, especially when race is concerned.Teachers should be open-minded individuals that encourage and adapt to change.Because of the different ethnicities of students in the classroom, teachers should want to know more about their students cultures and way of life.

Ezandra Washington

Teachers should acknowledge those students who are culturally diverse not just in Delta, but all over the world. There are many bias people in the educational system and even at your job. People have to learn to be considerate of those who are different from them including race, culture, and disabilities. Teachers need to educate their students better by having that student-teacher relationship, giving them all the attention they deserve, and allowing the students to gain high expectations. We are not here to judge people based on their appearance or backgrounds, but we want to acknowledge them on their abilities and the positive things they are capable of doing.

Bobbie Amos

I agree with you Wykena. The Mississippi Delta is a culture of its own. For some reason, whenever I talk to people from another state, without knowing me, they can tell from the way I talk that I am from Mississippi. What's up with that?

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