Saturday, September 21, 2019

Ebonics & Education Essay Example for Free

Ebonics Education Essay The Ebonics controversy in America has developed into a major conflict over the years. It has become a more serious concern within the public school system. The complex where the nation’s school systems lower their expectations of black youth to coincide with the patterns of Ebonics, the word used to refer to African American Vernacular English, has resulted in an epidemic where blacks graduate from High School reading three grade levels below their white counterparts. For the multiple number of theories that attempt to explain this phenomenon, very few have been able to counter the adverse culture that has developed in America as a product of Ebonics being considered a valid dialect. A wide range of theorists and politicians have used the American educational system as a platform on which to gain civil approval. There is a popular consensus that income designates the quality of one’s education in America. This state of socioeconomic prejudice has a detrimental effect on the face of our society. It can be argued that a single standard curriculum should be equally implemented and taught throughout the nation, and that this curriculum should be similar to the elite executive curriculum, which Jean Anyon identifies as the best education our country has to offer in her article Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work. She identifies how many believe that private and public sector schools should be merged together, along with their curriculums (2006). She breaks down education into two curriculums, upper class and lower class, or working and executive class. Equalizing the differences between these two forms of education has always been the job of standardized testing. Initially standardized testing in America was used to asses one’s calculative ability. It is now being replaced, starting at the middle school level, with a format that revolves around authentic assessment (Wiggins, 1990). Authentic assessment is the direct evaluation of student performance through tasks that exercise their intellect. The tests are also known to evaluate creativity, listening and comprehension skills, experimental research in science, speaking and discussion skills and historical inquiry. It has been designed to replace traditional standardized testing, which means it eventually will be used in all schools across the nation to identify the intellectual elite. This is considered to be a major advent in education that will counter act the nation’s stigma of low expectations ushered in by the validation of Ebonics. A major cause of the low expectations placed on black youth in schools can partly be credited to those doing the research, as Kimberly Griffin points out in her article Striving for Success: A Qualitative Exploration of Competing Theories of High-Achieving Black College Students Academic Motivation, when she says, research on the academic performance of Black students has focused on low-achievers, framing their academic motivation as maladaptive and driven by externally (e. g. , competition or compliance) rather than internally (e. g. love of learning) generated forces (Griffin, 2006). This heavy focus on those blacks who have low quality achievement, has led to a neglect in the understanding of what drives the higher achieving students to be successful. Findings show that self-determination theory, socio-cognitive theory, and attribution theory cannot individually explain the motivation of these Black high-achievers. Instead, a multidimensional framework that incorporates all three models and that highlights internal and external sources of motivation best accounts for these students experiences (Griffin, 2006). Griffin goes on to cite an interview with a young black student that was less affluent than others. The dialogue reveals that the pressure of stereotypes and low expectations has a weighing effect on the level of effort and achievement that black students have in the class room. This is a stigma that is present whether the student is of a lower or higher class, but the lower the class of the student the even heavier the stereotypes are that weigh on them. I think probably intrinsically I might have felt at one point that I needed to try harder, because I was Black, to not be a stereotype . . . not just chill, you know, talk with Ebonics or stuff like—the stereotype that people have of Black people. I purposely try to steer away from that. I think thats certainly definitely, in a certain respect, thats true (Griffin, 2006). This pressure that stems from the inherent stereotypes perpetuated through the use of Ebonics is even further enhanced by a misunderstanding of this complex between the students and their teachers. Griffin points this out as well when she says, the fact that many [teacher education] students do not share the same ethnic, social, racial and linguistic backgrounds as their students may lead to cultural incongruencies in the classroom which can mediate against educational effectiveness( Griffin, 2006). It is Griffin’s belief that these incompatibilities between the black students and their predominantly white teachers results in a complex to be maladaptive, in a way that is very evident. These incompatibilities are evident in value orientation, behavioral norms and expectations and styles, social interactions, self presentation, communication and cognitive processing (Griffin, 2006). Griffin’s article proves that even the system through which these students are studied for the purpose of better improving their achievement is a vicious cycle itself filled with misunderstandings and blatant neglect of the methods that may actually be successful, specifically teaching methods like andragogy and reflective learning. Androgogy and reflective learning are two educational forms that have become very prevalent at the collegiate level. They are considered to be the two best teaching methods in educating adults. This has been found to be specifically true for pre-med and science majors in college, due to andragogy’s focus on authentic assessment (Kolb 2001, p. 1975). Authentic assessment is the direct evaluation of student performance through tasks that exercise their intellect. These evaluations tend to exercise their: creativity, listening and comprehension skills, experimental research in science, speaking and discussion skills and historical inquiry. It largely corresponds with standardized testing (Kolb 2001, p. 1975). Authentic assessment asks that students acquire knowledge and be able to practice logic as apposed to just being able to regurgitate pre-fed facts. The main characteristics of these evaluations, is that they apply standardized test curriculum to real life circumstances. Authentic assessment is the product of a reform in education. This shift is to make standardized testing less drill oriented and applicable to what is expected will be necessary in the students’ adult life. These tests hold students to higher standards as well as create a growing body of accurate awareness pertaining to student learning. This way the teacher learns from the student as well. The key argument these test pose is that for the traditional testing method, the right answers are not rationales. This basically acknowledges that the level of logic required for traditional standardized tests is lacking. This is due to a relationship that involves test takers who simply cram for their tests, and instructors who feel the tests have no relevance to their teaching ability. This is a common occurrence that has resulted in resentment for traditional standardized testing on the behalf of both parties involved. Authentic assessment is a genuine push towards the implementation of more authentic tasks. Instructors find it easier to apply these tasks to their curriculum and students find it easier to assess what is expected of them. It is considered a form of improving overall performance, in a testing system traditionally structured solely to monitor it. This fault in western education is the main catalyst for shifts in standardized testing that focus more on authentic assessment and experiential learning. Medical students and students pursuing the sciences, like psychology or sociology, are expected to have certain skills appropriate for the practice of their profession. This requires a form of learning that can assesses curriculum and then apply it to real life situations. As well as the medical and science field, andragogy and reflective learning is being used to enhance the productivity of multimillion dollar corporations. Experiential learning thus involves a, direct encounter with the phenomena being studied rather than merely thinking about the encounter, or only considering the possibility of doing something about it. (Borzak 1981: 9 quoted in Brookfield 1983). This sort of learning is sponsored by an institution and might be used on training programmes for professions such as social work and teaching or in field study programmes such as those for social administration or geography courses. Kolb, David A. , ‘david a. kolb on experiential learning’ Kolb breaks down understanding of experiential learning into an understanding of the American educational systems use of the field trip and project based learning (Kolb 2001, p. 1975). While project based learning is considered to be one of the best methods of learning for all individuals because it promotes authentic assessment, and thus provides young black students especially to expand their understanding of the Western culture from which they have been systematically alienated, it is also very expensive to organize. Anyon discovers that the majority of contemporary textbook instruction is designed for the working class. PBL programs are usually not supported in public schools because of the amount of funding they require. This discrepancy is usually applicable to public schools and whether one is located near high income housing or low income housing. Jonathan Kozol describes the discrepancies between these two types of schooling in his interview with Marge Scherer. In the interview titled, On Savage Inequalities: A Conversation with Jonathan Kozol, he talks about his experience in St. Louis and how the schools in low income areas, which are predominantly black, barely have money for water, while the schools near by in the wealthier districts could buy advanced school supplies as well as carryout project based learning, such as field trips. Kozol credits this problem to the use of property tax to fund schools in low income areas. He states: we ought to finance the education of every child in America equitably, with adjustments made only for the greater or lesser needs of certain children. And that funding should all come from the collective wealth of our society, mainly from a steeply graduated progressive income tax. (Kozol) This particular tax could make project based learning more affordable, which would be the most influential step to improving classroom education. The most common contemporary example of PBL is dissecting insects and animals. It has become an American tradition and almost a right of passage in high school. Project Based Management has a very beneficial influence on the education of our country. One might wonder why it’s not the only curriculum used. The use of chaperones, instructional tools, and methods of transportation are often required and considered expensive. The benefit is that people tend to remember more from their field trips than textbook lessons and many of these labs require authentic assessment, which is good considering the new shift in standardized testing. The downfall is in the fact that authentic assessment is dependent on the student’s past experiences. This allows for some projects to result in the isolation of certain students. The inner city children are deprived because their school systems can’t afford implementing PBL curriculums. Chairperson of the Department of Education at Rutgers University, in her essay From Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work Jean Anyon analyzes the nature of underprivileged education. Anyon argues that depending on their social class, different levels of educations are available to young people. This mostly applies to schools in different districts and social communities and it can particularly be seen in the difference between private and public schooling. To make the concept clear, she further applies this to a description of a kind of mental segregation happening within the classroom; in which, students sitting next to one another are rewarded differently solely based on their socioeconomic standing in the community. She does this by pointing out that, students in different social-class backgrounds are rewarded for classroom behaviors that correspond to personality traits allegedly rewarded in the different occupational strata – the working classes for docility and obedience, the managerial classes for initiative and personal assertiveness. (Anyon) This is the key ideal of Anyon’s theory. An example of the theory at work can be seen in research that finds project based learning prepares students for more abstract assessment, and prepares them to handle real world situations, as opposed to those in the textbook. PBL is most prevalent in private and high income community public schools. This creates a system where the students taught in the private schools are taught to think independently in a rational but unconfined way, while the lower income children are only taught to follow instructions. These differing perspectives on education have had a controversial and conflicting history in America. Gary Colombo based much of his research on this conflict. Gary Colombo argues that the majority of the Founding Fathers were wealthy conservatives who were honestly opposed to democracy. This signifies them as an elitist class constructing laws that will better maintain their control of the government. Their initial goal was to keep power in the hands of the wealthy, and prevent the majority from realizing their strength. One major modern day justifications for this elitist view is that, these framers were the same men who risked their lives for the good of others by signing the declaration of independence, and they are getting what is owed to them. It is Garry Colombo’s view that these patriots did not intend to revolutionize democracy, but that their sole intention was to gain independence from Britain in order to get the country out of their pockets. Aware that the Constitution would be opposed by the working class, who made up the majority of the people, the construction of the deceleration and its signing were held in private. The media was used conceal the constitution’s actual goal, while at the same time to persuade people in its favor. Along with a literate media Colombo points out that the American government found it necessary, particularly during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency, to promote and finance a literate working class. It is Colombo’s view that the sole purpose of their education was to develop individuals who would maintain the nation. These educated individuals were viewed as secondary to their task. This is the first sign in American history of education being used to exploit people for the benefit of the government. By identifying the failure of Thomas Jefferson to educate the Native American people, Colombo shows that American education was initially designed with absolutely no regard for the people. He best displays this conflict when he cites a letter written by a Native American to the President. our ideas of this kind of education happen not to be the same with yours†¦several of our young people were formerly brought up at the college of the northern provinces they were instructed in all your sciences; but when they came back to us, they were bad runners; ignorant of every means of living in the woods; unable to bear either cold or hunger; knew neither how to build a cabin, take a deer, or kill an enemy†¦they were totally good for nothing. (Colombo) Here Colombo identifies that, quality in education is deemed only as good as its ability to assimilate one into the culture in which they live. This assimilation is not one that produces equal opportunity for its participants. As previously proven by Anyon, socioeconomic conditions impede this dream dramatically from coming into fruition. In sum, Anyon argues that today’s working class curriculums center more on teaching black students to follow instructions rather than teaching them how to authentically assess problems. She undeniably proves that the children of higher income families are not taught in this fashion, and they are steered more towards developing skills in problem solving and decision making. Ebonics only further expands this gap between classes, considering the level of stereotypes that come along with its practice and the powerfully influential stigma that blacks are subject to as a result. If students are subject to the exact same nationwide testing, it would only be just that they receive the same educational curriculums. By using Ebonics in the school system, the nation is alienating blacks from the main stream through both class and race. Lower income students are being herded into remedial work, while the upper class students are being prepared for executive positions. This is an immoral practice, but there are risks that can occur if Anyon’s elitist curriculum is equally distributed throughout the country. Everyone can not manage the corporation some have to toil for the sake of the company. The working class may potentially have a better understanding of executive duties, if Anyon’s curriculum is implemented. With a greater appreciation for the business structure, working class employees may be educated enough to demand more benefits from their companies. The end result of implementing Anyon’s theory is that there will be a more diverse group of qualified candidates from which corporations select. This makes the face of corporate America as cultured as the nation it’s in, and it eliminates much of the disadvantaging prejudice that comes with elitism. This is proof that it is wise to utilize Anyon’s elite curriculum throughout all school systems. Every income scale should be accessible among all races and nationalities, but to assume that the children of high income families will work remedial jobs so the poor can be executives is irrational. Anyon’s curriculum must be set into action with the hope that it levels the playing field, and Ebonics needs to be abolished as a credible English vernacular.

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