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Post #2

Sasha De La Cruz's picture

            A couple of days ago we had an intense conversation in one of my classrooms debating whether or not Ebonics should be included in school curriculum. A couple of students argued that it would be okay to allow Ebonics in high school, but it should not continue to happen in college. They argued that the “real world” consists of Standard English and that education should be based on this type of English. This conversation made me think about Dewey’s statement, “the main purpose or objective is to prepare the young for the future responsibilities and for success in life, by means of acquisition of the organized bodies of information and prepared forms of skill, which comprehend the material of the instruction”. This quote makes me think about the fact that everyone has different definition and vision of success

            When recapping the conversation, someone brought up a really good point about the fact that a lot of people aim for a career where speaking different languages, and “mastering” Ebonics work to their advantage. A big issue in todays’ society is that we are accustomed to a system that has been in place for years, as Dewey calls it the traditional education. I wanted to apply this term more to the schools curriculum rather than the behavioral aspect. I start this piece with the example of the “Ebonics conversation” because personally, I view it as a standard/traditional way of thinking because it is what people are accustomed to. 

            Year after year the curriculum in schools stays pretty much the same. In “Dance”, a piece I read for my other class, they interviewed a student about his class, what he was learning and his reaction to the material. This student speaks about an instance (in the fifth grade) where it was black history month and his teacher begins to teach about Martin Luther King. He says, “February rolled around … and so [Ms. Hines] is telling me about Martin Luther King, and I’ve learned about Martin Luther King all my life; what else could I learn about Martin Luther King?” He continues, “Come on, I want to learn about somebody else than Martin Luther King for once!” The teachers response was, “well the school curriculum provides me with this, and this is what you’ve got to learn.” I introduce this example because I think it is a great example of how students at early stages of their academic career realize that there is a lot of material that has not been taught to them in school. This example of the student feeling as if he has been learning the same material throughout the years is a prime example of how there has not been a lot of transition between traditional educations to progressive education in terms of curriculum. I believe this might be one of the reasons why students feel disconnected with the material and become uninterested.

             Going back to the topic of Ebonics, I believe we are entering a stage in the history of education (for lack of a better phrase) where we understand that the “old techniques” do not cater to every student. The reason why I am so open to the idea of teaching Ebonics in college is because I think it sounds very interesting and new. I believe that students might become very interesting with this because they will be able to relate and connect more to it. If the curriculum began to relate more to the students, then their performance with improve. There has been a study with Ethnic Studies that proved that when students began taking ethnic studies classes, where they learned about themselves in more positive aspects, stories told by their people, these students began improving in all other areas such as math, science etc. Having a curriculum that resembles the student is important, and I say this because this is how I felt coming into Bryn Mawr.

             Before I started taking Ed classes, none of my readings interested me and I began to just not do them. Before I continue, I do want to make it clear that I am not saying that all the readings should relate to the students because there has to be effort put in and they do have to be challenged academically. But I am a strong believer that coming into college, struggling with culture shock and not being interested and as invested in my classes, was a lot to deal with. Students should have the opportunity to receieve an education that is "new", with a curriculum that has been revised and updated.