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  Case: I Wish I Were Black!
As a teacher of 5th grade students, I try to make sure that my students have a good sense of all the people and cultures that make up this country. Last couple weeks, I paid special attention to the African American people who have made significant contributions to the US. We read a book written by Walter Dean Myers. We have studied scientists, writers, and political figures. Students were very engaged and interested in the content. Yesterday something happened that puzzled me. Three of my White students told me that they wished they were Black. This was not my intention when I planned all my lessons on contributions of African Americans. How should I address this issue?
Solution: (Rates are posted for this solution!)
It is wonderful that students are interested in the cultures of others. However, the purpose of teaching and learning about cultural diversity is not to present one cultural group as being more valuable or some how better than another. It is to teach children to understand and value the divers peoples who they will encounter through out their lives. Cultural diversity instruction is a means to enable students to make connections to develop understandings of others so that our country will be more understanding of its peoples thereby reducing discrimination and promoting unified equality. As a means to teach children this valuable lesson the teacher should discuss the students feeling with them. Make inquires as to why the students wished they were Black or a different cultural group. Open discussion could lead to interesting new insights on the students and teachers part. The teacher should also provide lessons focusing on other cultural groups including famous scientists, writers and political figures. This would enable students to make personal connections to leaders in their own cultural group which will help build self awareness. The teacher should then hold a follow up discussion asking students if they have changed their views to understand that all peoples from divers cultures are equally important to the fabric of our society.