Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Diversity in Social Studies

When thinking back to my social studies education as a learner in elementary school, I remember studying history through a textbook.  In my mind, history was a dull, boring subject that didn't impact me whatsoever.  It wasn't until college when I finally started noticing all of the topics that we didn't learn in my early years of schooling.   Minorities and those with different perspectives were left out of my education.  We simply focused on major cultures, societies and ethnicities when discussing history.  Schools have begun attempting to promote the learning of diverse cultures specifically with Black History Month and Hispanic History Month, but some teachers only mention these minorities during those months.  It is my goal as a teacher to make sure that voices and perspectives of minorities are represented in my social studies lessons year-round.  Students will be reading books and primary sources about or by minorities as well as learning in the classroom with their diverse peers.  We must educate our students that diversity is a positive that creates differences in our society that are to be respected by others.  I want my students to be comfortable sharing information about their lives and not feeling shy about others being critical of their point of view or opinion.  For specifically, ELLs and students with disabilities, I plan on including their diverse backgrounds in the classroom, and I am hopeful that they will share information about their lives with our classroom community.  I would also make sure that I find material and content that has interest  and connections to each of my students so that each student knows his or her perspective is important in my classroom.  This is why finding literature and media from minority perspectives is so essential to elementary social studies.  Students need to learn about the biases in history and how not all people are affected by history the same one way.

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