"You're nothing but a wuss. Your mama ain't here to help you now so why don't you stand and fight me like a man.... That's right, saying nothing is going to make the situation better. You gonna go cry to Mrs. Wilson about it now?" This type of harassment in the classroom distracts the students from their main objective-to learn.
Disciplinary problems in the classroom interrupt the atmosphere of the classroom, a place where learning takes precedent above all else. A tense environment detracts from learning and everyone loses. Mrs. Wilson got upset, the other school children endured constant harassment, and the children responsible for this harassment got lost in the system. Although experts cite many responses, multicultural education remains an answer that benefits both the teacher and all of the students.
Disciplinary problems not only disrupt the serenity of the classroom, but if left untreated, manifest into societal problems. Violence grows as America's answer to any problem. This trend has been growing steadily in our nation's classrooms, and recent incidences like that of Columbine High School remind us that angry children become everyone's problem if no one reaches out to them. cal1966, please do not redistribute this work. We work very hard to create this website, and we trust our visitors to respect it for the good of other students. Please, do not circulate this work elsewhere on the internet. Anybody found doing so will be permanently banned.
Detention, suspension, and expulsion remain popular methods for dealing with discipline, but these methods serve only to remove rather than to solve the problem. Multicultural education stimulates the children to incorporate their own life experiences into what they learn and makes them active participants in their own learning process. Multicultural education serves to help bridge gaps between different classes, races, and genders. Not a seemingly easy task, drastic measures are imperative when the future of our country rests on the futures of our children.
Take an eighth grade classroom located in a rural district with only three middle schools servicing the entire county. Mark and Jake, two white boys, constantly disrupted Mrs. Wilson's Social Studies class. The situation distracted the teacher from her lesson plan, meaning that the other children's learning fell behind their peers. Also, Mark and Jake jeopardized their own academic careers and threaten to become societal menaces. If left untreated their problems might develop into larger societal ills that hurt members of the population at large through their abuse of welfare or filling up the jails. Previously detention failed to help Mark and Jake correct their behavior, but Mrs. Wilson felt that the rest of the class should not suffer because of two members of the class.
Disciplinary problems usually stem from some deeper anxiety that the children are facing. Mark's parents work in an assembly line of a car manufacturer and net $40,000/year combined. They work long hours and spend little time with Mark after school. He takes the school bus to and from school, and he lives in a poor area of town where the houses are run down. Neither of his parents finished formal high school, although they both received GED's. He has several younger siblings that look up to him as an example, but education is not stressed in his family. This hypothesis from studentcentral.co.uk
Part of his disciplinary problem could be that he resents the fact that the state requires him to go to school. Mark sees that his parents struggle to get by, but no connection between improving his situation and education in his mind exists. People who succeed in class and come from upper-middle class backgrounds receive the brunt of his harassment. He feels resentment towards these students because he feels that he tries hard but society and good fortune still shun him.
Jake's parents come from working class backgrounds, and he lives in an area that is close to Mark's house. His parents experienced marital problems lately. They fight constantly, and his one younger sister also experienced problems in school. His father graduated from technical school and works as a mechanic in a local garage, and his mother works at Kroger.
His disciplinary problems relate to the fact that his parents fight a lot and offer to get into screaming matches. With so much tension in his home he feels the need to lash out at someone, and conveniently finds other students to harass-students who he already resents because of their higher social status. His disciplinary problems started about the time that his parents started having problems. However, his parents failed to communicate their problems on to Mrs. Wilson, so she understands little about the reason for Jake's disciplinary problems.cofb fbr sefbfbw orfb fbk infb fofb fb.
Mrs. Wilson, a 35-year old white teacher, became exasperated because Mark and Jake refused to respond to what she viewed as adequate attempts to reach them. They reserve their harassment for children who identify with the upper-middle class or excel in schoolwork. Because she experienced no contact with either set of parents, she remained unaware of the home problems that contribute to Mark and Jake's frustration with the school system. Her training also left her unprepared to deal with types of children who shrink away from contact with other people.
The boys consistently under-perform in all their subjects. Although they received extra help in the past, they refused to take an active interest in learning, and instead tried to disrupt class time. Mrs. Wilson gave them extra help by working with them during class, and also assigned group partners to them, but the hostility the boys exhibited towards their partners made the working environment tense. They also disrespected Mrs. Wilson, and she felt like she lost all control because they refused to listen to anything she said. They removed themselves from the social scene of the school and appeared to not trust anyone but themselves.
The harassment of other students needs to stop because everyone suffers in this situation. All the students fail to get to as much information as other classes with no disciplinary problems. These students will then experience a disadvantage next year when they compete against students from other classes. Also, Mark and Jake acted out and created this disturbance in class for some reason. If Mrs. Wilson fails reach them then their class disturbances might turn into societal disturbances. The importance of the situation remains for all involved to receive some help. This hypothesis from studentcentral.co.uk
Mark and Jake's harassment needs to stop for the benefit of all involved. Multicultural education ensures that every child receives a proper education and an equal chance of success later in life. Like a runaway effect, the problems snowball setting students back and preventing them from attaining success in schools and jobs. In a multicultural setting ideally all the students express their individual voices in the class and its pedagogy.
Multicultural education address typical disciplinary problems because the themes that of the process builds around active thinking by the students themselves about the world around them. Multicultural education helps remedy this situation, because everyone's culture needs to gain acknowledgement by the teacher. However, since limited diversity exists in the classroom, Mrs. Wilson tries to incorporate other cultures as well to make all her students more accepting and understanding of everyone's lifestyle. Although the classrooms contain relatively new textbooks, they should be discussed critically in class so that the students feel like active participants in their own education. Mark and Jake may be acting out because they feel a lack of control over their own education and their situation in life. Mrs. Wilson realized she had failed to stimulate stimulating them enough, and so they act out to try to grab attention. Rather punish these students, Mrs. Wilson tries to understand their motives and then to try to help them in whatever way the teacher deems possible. This hypothesis from studentcentral.co.uk
Nieto writes, "all teachers can become role models for all students as long as they are understanding, caring, and informed. One way in which teachers can build substantial relationships with students is by offering help to those who do not seek their aid" (331). Mark and Jake try to get attention by lashing out. Mrs. Wilson must dig deeper than usual to get at the root of the problem if she wants to help them. Mrs. Wilson reaches her students through multicultural education. Her determination to reach students who have been labeled as "problem children" determines the rest of their scholastic careers.
For her first step, Mrs. Wilson reevaluates whether her accusations about the children's behavior warrants concern. Her actions could stem from her preconceived notions of lower, working class families since the children causing the disturbance are poorly dressed and do not have the best hygiene. If Mrs. Wilson holds any bias then she needs to address her own personal bias so that the children do not suffer from her one-sidedness.coce cer sececew orce cek ince foce ce!
Once Mrs. Wilson ascertains that these children pose a serious disturbance in her classroom, then her objective reworks itself into new inventive ways. The benefits of conventional negative reinforcement seem to not pose any threat to Mark and Jake, so perhaps she can try positive reinforcement. Also, if she practices what Nieto outlined as a multicultural classroom (p. 305) then she creates an environment where the children feel comfortable approaching her. Perhaps by gaining their confidence she then determines the root of their discipline problems.
Before implementing multicultural education, Mrs. Wilson first identifies the reason for Mark and Jake's outbreaks in class. Until now she treated them as regular problem children, but since none of the conventional disciplinary methods worked, she needs to sort out the root of the problem. Their problems at home cause their harassment of their peers. However, since the parents fail to return phone calls, Mrs. Wilson writes them and requests that they come in for a parent/teacher conference. If this measure fails to get the parents to school, then she plans to go visit them in their home. Because the parents are usually busy, there do not often communicate with the school. If the school approaches the parents in a non-threating manner, then perhaps the parents shed some light on their sons' behavior problems.
With more parental involvement, the boys feel more pressured to shape up. The home environment remains difficult to overcome, especially without the parents' help. However, Mrs. Wilson needs to make the effort to at least try to contact them so that she has more input to correctly identify the reason Mark and Jake are acting out. Nieto writes "teachers can encourage parents to give their children jobs at home, and then support them when they do" (328). Maybe if Mark and Jake feel more important at home then they lose the urge to act out at school.
Another method Mrs. Wilson employs to draw in outside resources for her classroom involves meeting with Mark and Jake's other teachers. Outside input also influences learning because if she experienced disciplinary problems in her class the boys probably act out in all of their classes. By calling a meeting with everyone involved, the teachers might be able to trace commonalties between all of the disciplinary outbreaks. If they see what sets the boys off then they prevent cause of the harassment, or at least create an opportunity to talk to the boys about their behavior. If the teachers pinpoint the cause of the boy's disciplinary problems within the classroom, then they know how to solve the problem more effectively.
A reason for their frustration within the classroom stems from the fact that Mark and Jake feel left out of the education process. If Mrs. Wilson's teaching style revolves around lectures they become bored and act out because of their boredom. The difficulty lies in making students pay attention in the classroom if their families devalue education at home. The teaching style induces no stimulation for them to want to learn. By using multicultural education, Mrs. Wilson aims to instill a love of learning in the students. Perhaps if Mrs. Wilson incorporates other methods of learning like hands on learning, group projects, or presentations by students for the rest of the class then she receives more positive behavior from all her students. If she can relate the student's life and how education increases knowledge, then she makes not only Mark and Jake realize the importance of education in their lives but the importance of education to all of her students' lives.
Mrs. Wilson tries to incorporate other multicultural ideas in her lesson plan in order to accommodate the behavior of Mark and Jake. When they cover the holocaust she shows them Schindler's List to illustrate its impact on the Jewish people. Movies help show history in vivid detail, and the brutality of the film helps bring this terrible period in history to light. This helps her students realize that other people endure suffering, and by showing them a real example of suffering they might feel more compassion for others. She also shows that other groups have suffered more than her students. The suffering that their class endures pales in comparison to the plights of other ethnicities. When Mark and Jake see the brutality of war and the horrible consequences of fighting, they realize other methods for solving their internal conflicts exist.
Mrs. Wilson also engages the students in a unique manner that tries to draw their attention onto examples that shape our modern day world. Examples that relate to the student's lives impact students more forcefully instead of assigning them reading and expecting them to pick up all the material. By relating the assignments in class to their every day lives she shows them examples of how education better their own situation. The learning becomes much more personal and effects them more.
Mrs. Wilson also changes the structure of her class. If she includes more history about the working class and their importance in situations like the Industrial Revolution, then she makes all the students from working class backgrounds feel more important and a sense of pride in their heritage. Nieto writes that teachers can "use the experiences and understandings her students bring to class rather than an exotic or irrelevant curriculum" (338). She needs to uphold and validate their culture because Mark and Jake feel like their culture contains no importance and that could be a reason for their lashing out.
The punishments that the boys get assigned could take a more inventive twist in order to quelch their behavior. If assigned community service Mark and Jake see that many others in their community undergo more hardship then their families. Nieto also writes "opportunities for after-school work or community service can be provided in much more substantial ways than they currently are" (328). The boys gain a perspective on their own problems by comparing them to others less fortunate. Such epiphanies might improve their behavior in the classroom.
Multicultural education starts in the classroom but affects a wide array of social problems. Discipline, if left untreated, expands into larger social ills, where the perpetrators leech off of everyone. The plague on society takes the form of welfare and jails where taxpayers bear the responsibility for those who refuse to help themselves. This societal failure can be avoided by trying to reach these children earlier in their academic careers so that they experience success later in life. Multicultural education remains the best way to retain those borderline students who otherwise get lost in the system.
Mrs. Wilson employs many methods to try to reach Mark and Jake before they lose complete interest in school. First she tries to determine the root of the problem so that she knows the exact problem she is dealing with. Talking to the parents and other teachers gives a more comprehensive view to the situation. Once the boys' frustration surfaces, Mrs. Wilson incorporates different teaching aspects into her lesson plan. Engaging the students makes them more interested in their education and lessens their tendency to act out. Relating the real world to their own lives makes them more involved members of society.
Mark and Jake symbolize children whose problems generally run deeper than most teachers suspect. Multicultural education helps make these boys and all of the students in the classroom more productive members of society. If the boys stay off welfare then our tax dollars go towards improving other facets of life. The boys also become taxpayers who contribute to the solution rather than the problem. Without some intervention, children like Mark and Jake plague American society and benefit no one, including themselves. Hatred makes a disastrous problem that needs to be solved immediately, and multicultural education is one answer to that problem.
Nieto, Sonia. Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Contex of Multicultural Education. 3rd ed. New York: 2000.