I started the class thinking on my own multicultural educative experiences as a bilingual student and my own struggle to be a “successful” student. Having a good understanding on what multiculturalism meant in my life coming into the class, the exposure to the different ways multiculturalism appear in and out of the classroom has broadened my understanding of what it means to be multicultural. Specifically dealing with student teacher-interactions, I think I gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of the role of the teacher in multicultural education through both the readings we had in class, visiting my Praxis field placement, and volunteering at Puentes de Salud. Teachers not only need to understand the student position as a person going through their process of identity development and be respectful of differences, actively engaging themselves in anti-oppressive practices; they must also teach a curriculum. It really put me in a new place in understanding the marginalization of oppressed groups by giving me multiple insights to the structural systems that lead to the reinforcing of oppression. At some points I became critical of the people that fell into the practices that reinforce oppressive practices and even those that didn’t support anti-oppressive practices. I thought to myself that if marginalized groups didn’t work to support anti-oppressive practices no one would but slowly began to question this because white hegemony doesn’t only effect marginalized groups but also the majority group that is not welcoming. To be honest, coming into the class with my life experiences I had learned most of what I had to in Multicultural Education but I realized that this self-congratulatory position came down once I began thinking about the multifaceted nature of education, educating multiculturalism, and multiculturally educating. This really helped me see that there was much more to multiculturalism than just being multicultural or having a multicultural classroom. But there still are lingering questions I have because even though you need not be multicultural to learn in a multicultural setting, I feel that multicultural understanding won’t have as great an effect without the reality of multiculturalism. I guess I’m thinking primarily along race lines. Will a homogenous classroom be able to learn or come to terms with multiculturalism and be anti-oppressive without having the multicultural factor? For some reason I feel like they never will and that might be what Hall was talking about when she said that both racism and multiculturalism will exist simultaneously and we kinda should be ok with that. But I’m not ok with it I guess.
Moving away from what my thoughts are of my own learning throughout the course I think my engagement in the class and group work has been very good. I do notice that I am one of the quieter voices in the classroom and this is something I struggle with in all aspects/classrooms and life in general. But I think the content of the comments I did make throughout the class were points that were lingering in my mind that no one had brought up before or just thoughts I really felt moved to share. In the small groups I noticed I did speak more which I guess would point to me being more comfortable in the setting or just the fact that less people are speaking making it easier for me to share my opinions and analysis of the readings. Although I feel I could have improved my speaking I don’t think it really effected the way I interacted with the work. By speaking less I was able to hear the diversity of opinions in the classroom which really better expanded my learning by giving me multiple readings of the same text and giving me different ways people look at the same situation. I enjoyed the dynamic in the classroom and would say I was present in discussions 95% of the time. In terms of other’s learning it was selfish of me to only speak when I felt like because maybe I could have added to how people understood multiculturalism in the same way they contributed to mine. But at the same time I felt like when I didn’t speak it was because I didn’t have anything new to add. There were times when I decided not to speak which really made me sad because I felt I could have contributed to the conversation but didn’t. In my written work and readings I didn’t do as great as I could have. I know this because much of what I wrote wasn’t revised or rewritten in any form which showed in grammar errors and other simple mistakes. In the beginning much of what I wrote was really reflective and long focusing on storytelling but as I moved forward I matched other’s writing and condensed much of what I wrote making it more analytical. I commented a few times in the beginning but then didn’t really use that option. I do have to say that writing on Serendip really helped me engage with the material and the class in a way that benefited my quiet inarticulate and scattered mind even though I never have seen writing as a strong suit. I guess the non-grading nature of the writing really helped me think about things in a true way, being real you know? That's actually what I felt about the whole class in general, a perception of it as being real. I wasn't trying for a grade or nothing, I was learning the material.
Anyway moving forward what I learned in the classroom will really help me in understanding marginalization and being an active educator if I chose to become a teacher. I’m not sure what I want to do in life yet but I know wherever I go what I’ve learned here will help me see various points of view and challenge the hegemony of the majority, whatever the majority might be. I guess a good way to think about this is that I can’t unlearn what I’ve learned and moving forward I will exercise anti-oppressive practices in multiple frameworks not just in the educational realm or for my own perspective. That’s the one thing I’ll take away from this class for sure, the feeling of seeing what hasn’t been there before