People often face inequality. Whether it is based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, class, or disability, students may feel at times stifled or stunted in their education based on feelings of inadequacy and experience of inequality. For decades prior to the Civil Rights Movement, blacks and whites remained separated with white children going to good schools and black children going to poorly funded and maintained schools. Although people in the United States have come together to integrate and provide a common playing field for everyone, blacks still experience inequality, with many facing poverty and going to underfunded schools with crowded classrooms and low quality instructors. Therefore, it is important to realize what kind of issues children face today in terms of inequality through learning principles and observing communication while implementing sound strategies. Ten golden nuggets will be utilized from week 5 and week 6 readings in order to show that inequality can stem not just from a racial or ethnic perspective, but also from an intelligence or environment perspective.
Instructors/teachers must communicate a sense of understanding and provide an even playing field for students that are underprivileged, of various races/ethnic groups, or are mentally handicapped. This should happen at least once a week in order to evaluate how the students’ progress throughout the semester, especially if there are problem students. An instructor for instance, may reach a level of miscommunication or no communication if students feel they cannot trust the instructor, if the instructor uses language that offends the students, if the students do not feel smart enough or feel talked down to. Face-to-face conversations as well as online services like email, forums, and chat may help shy and sometimes stressed parents reach out to the instructor.
A. The first golden nugget, “Communication Aha!: The way people talk about your ability affects how they treat you and then, how you succeed — no matter what is “in your head.” (Chapter 6 Pollock 4) provides an important lesson in terms of developing a new communication infrastructure as it relates to inequality talk. Children, students are impressionable, moldable, especially in their formative years. If a student hears from an instructor, they are stupid or they keep getting low grades without much help in terms of finding out what causes the low grades, the student affected will remain with a negative mentality. The student will feel as if they cannot do anything that no one believes in them. Students facing inequality in any sense, often feel the need to have someone there to believe in them and root for them. It gives them the necessary motivation to continue. Without which, they may not have enough self-esteem or drive to go the extra mile needed in order to succeed.
The second nugget is a strategy “Say out loud that no group is “smarter” than any other. Actively reject the myth that intelligence is distributed differently to “groups.” (Chapter 6 Pollock 16) Intelligence at times disproportionate. People in better schools, well-funded schools, have more opportunities to advance and grow. Those with families that have higher income levels can dedicate most of their time to school instead of getting a part-time job or taking care of a family member. There are many circumstances that make children and students feel less intelligent, less equal to someone who seems to have it all and does not have to put forth as much effort.
That is why this golden nugget imparts a valuable effort in communication. Although it may seem as though whites in America are smarter than blacks in America and to some extent, Asians appear the smartest, this is not the case. There are many factors contributing to lack of intelligence in an individual. This does not come from genes or brain capacity, but rather from unfortunate circumstances and lack of positive reinforcement and communication. The only instance when someone truly is less intelligent in general would be when that person has a mental handicap, but even that person is still equal to everyone else in his or her own, unique way. “Practical intelligence, the ability to adapt to everyday life by drawing on existing knowledge and skills. Practical intelligence enables an individual to understand what needs to be done in a specific setting and then do it.” (Shi 461)
The third golden nugget is simple, “We have no simple way to measure “intelligence” (Chapter 6 Pollack 5). Intelligence comes in a variety of forms. There is spatial intelligence, social intelligence, among others that an individual may possess. Some possess great capacity for most or all of the multiple intelligences; others may only have a few. Communicating and finding out how a student learns and adapts makes way for identifying their personal skill sets and how they acquire information. When constructing communication infrastructures that promote a sense of equality, it is best to learn through thoughtful communication, what a student is most strong in, in terms of learning.
B. Some interesting questions to discuss are:
1. How can instructors relate to young people?
2. What are the current interests and trends of young people?
3. Will the knowledge of interests and trends affect how young people communicate with instructors?
4. Does understanding multiple intelligences help in creating an effective communication infrastructure?
Instructor relate to younger people through understanding intelligence. The fourth golden nugget, “Core Tension: While it’s inaccurate to state that a person has only so much “intelligence,” saying a person has only one form of intelligence is also inaccurate.” (Gardner 7), gives a further in-depth examination of intelligences. It also helps point to how knowledge of intelligences can help promote better avenues of communication. When people feel unequal, they sometimes feel pre-judged or made to feel as though they do not belong as part of the average or above average crowd. To limit and restrict a person to one intelligence is like communicating to that student that is all he or she is capable of, which is not true. Students can learn new ways of gathering and analyzing information. It does not end with their one strength. They can turn their weaknesses into strengths, which greatly empowers those feeling the effects of inequality.
Specifically, if Instructor B. meets 5th grade Student A and discovers A has ADHD. A also has problems with the readings and does not seem to understand well the math curriculum. Instructor B. attempts to evaluate Student A by giving him an online questionnaire to assess how he learns. B discovers A learns through visual aids and hands on experience.
To add to the initial statement for a need to understand from various perspectives, the fifth golden nugget, “PRINCIPLE: It’s more helpful to students if we recognize that we each have many different skills we hone at different times.” (Chapter 6 Pollock 8) helps provide reinforcement in the idea that everyone has something to offer and that something can be multiple things. A good example is a painter. Although a painter may not be good at math for instance (This is not true, it is just an example), the painter may have spatial intelligence as well as the ability to learn visually. This may all come from seeing the student paint and recognizing what skills and intelligences, it takes to perform that task.
The sixth golden nugget is “Communication Aha! Hmmmmm.when reading Mica Pollock’s From Shallow to Deep article (2010), I realized I’ve often thrown around big statements about which groups “care” more about school, without really having enough evidence.” (Chapter 6 Pollock 3), and this one was chosen for this section because people often make mistakes when communicating and in identifying these mistakes it makes it easier to follow through with effective communication. The old “foot in mouth disease” rings true at times due to people’s ignorance of the situation and of the moment. Everyone is guilty of this, regardless of his or her background. When communicating with students, it is important to notice that and avoid making anyone feel less than or reinforce any stereotypes or traditionally flawed belief systems through saying the wrong thing. (Murrell)
Going back to the example, if Instructor A tells Student B. he cannot learn things as fast as the others can by accident, Student A will feel less encouraged to continue communication. To remedy this, B can speak with the parents, apologize, and suggest extra credit for A or an alternate website for additional information on the topics so that he may maintain his grades and further learn.
C. Mistakes reveal communication inefficacy. “Communication Aha! When we talk about student outcomes, we often assign blame and responsibility for processes that are way more complicated than we make them sound.” (Chapter 5 Pollack 5) Communication involves compassion and understanding. Saying something like “Why can you not learn this? It is so easy, I taught it to you five times already?” may seem like an okay thing to do, but in reality it does not help students learn. Students may have difficulty because of…