The Life You Live is Relevant
I always believed that a school’s purpose was to develop students into critical thinkers. This is done not only through teaching students what they do not know but finding out what they want to know. Communication between students and teachers is essential to me. It loosens up the learning environment and opens the floor to discuss relevant topics that often get pushed to the side or ignored in a traditional classroom setting. My past teachers always shied away from discussing the “hot button” topics like race, gender, political views, religion, among others. However, these are such vital aspects of each of our lives as humans on this earth. Getting to know the life of everyone in the classroom can create an empathetic bond between its members. It can also erase ignorance from young minds; which helps develop them into better critical thinkers.
Not only are the current circumstances of my students important, but their culture is important too. Alongside racial discrimination, there can also be prejudice between students of different ethnicities. Educator, Gloria Ladson-Billings, created the term “Culturally Relevant Pedagogy,” and it is where teachers create a bridge between students’ home and school lives, while still meeting the expectations of the district and state requirements. Culturally relevant teaching uses the backgrounds, knowledge, and experiences of the students to inform the teacher’s lessons and to teach procedure. I believe that the lack of that bridge stems from just fundamental misunderstanding. Opinion can be influenced by parents, media, personal experience and a factor of many other things. I aim to pinpoint those influences and understand them.