Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ch. 11: At the Edges of a Dream

This chapter challenges the reader to look at the "racial microaggressions" - unconscious or unintended forms of bias - that may or may not exist within many of our classrooms, and potentially within ourselves.

As I read this chapter - especially pages 88-90 - several questions arise in my mind:
Have you ever challenged yourself to look around the physical environment from the point of view of various students - those with different racial and/or socioeconomic backgrounds from your own - and thought about how they might feel when they walk into your classroom?
Does the make up of your classroom or class roster adequately reflect the diversity within your school in general, or the District as a whole? 
How do you recognize and/or celebrate diversity within your classroom?  Are your students comfortable with that? How do you know?
What other questions occur to you as you read this chapter?

Ch. 10: A Real Alternative

This chapter speaks of the need for education to "look and feel" different from the traditional model for some kids.  As I read this chapter, a few quotes really stood out to me.
Most teenagers... want to feel connected to, and supported by, caring adults. (p. 81)
Lacking formal support, some teachers grow weary of battling school cultures characterized by anonymity. Others never take up the fight. (p. 81)
"Our success has been about relationships from the beginning, and it still is." (p. 81)

I'm looking forward to learning your thoughts on these or other quotes that stood out to you, too.

The discussion (p. 82-83) of the so-called stigma sometimes attached to alternative schools was interesting also. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this as well.