John Taggart Clark's Abstract Inquiry and the Patrolling of Black/White Borders through Linguistic Stylization


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Commentary on “Abstract Inquiry and the Patrolling of Black/White Borders through Linguistic Stylization” by John Taggart Clark: Teachers and the ethnicity of their students
The essay “Abstract Inquiry and the Patrolling of Black/White Borders through Linguistic Stylization” by John Taggart Clark states that the teacher who teaches from the point of view of the majority culture and does not include the student’s minority culture point of view creates cultural and political borders between themselves and their students that discourage students to learn the language of the cultural majority that they need in order to achieve goals in the society.
I think it is important to be aware of every single student's ethnicity in the classroom. Our ethnicity , our cultural and language background strongly influence the way we learn. We need to give every child the possibility to learn the way it can learn best and most. I don't think that there is a racist issue when we integrate the student's ethnicity and language into the classroom learning as long as we are aware of all the ethnicities of all the students in the classroom. I rather think that there is a racist issue if we do not integrate the children's ethnicity and language into classroom life since we would then ignore an important aspect of the student's being individually different from each other, and without considering their ethnicity we would automatically teach the students from our own ethnicity's point of view which might not be appropriate for any of the students in the classroom.

To consider every single student’s ethnicity could lead to the problem that teachers provide different kinds of information for different students. I am of the opinion that every student needs to be taught the same information, everything else would simply be unfair. Of course, different students understand different kinds of information better or harder, but that does not mean that it is right not to give each student the same opportunity of getting information. I think all students should be taught a same variety of methods, but considering each student's ethnicity they should be given the possibility to find out what methods suit best for them individually.

Learning experiences outside the classroom such as field trips, movies, etc. are also very important, not only to support the classroom learning and to provide a lively and life-referring learning experience but also to give the students a chance to communicate in an out-of-classroom-situation that is more connected to their lives than the theoretical world of the classroom.

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By communicating on a field trip, for example, they have a good opportunity to learn from each other and exchange the information and methods that each of them has learned under the influence of personal ethnic and language background.
However, taking care of every single child's ethnicity in a classroom is not possible under the current situation in our public schools. The classes are too big, there is not enough time and money, one teacher is responsible for too many students at the same time. I went to an experimental school, run by the government, from 5th to 10th grade, and we came pretty close to integrating each child's background into the classroom learning. But I must say that this school in fact was like a utopian world since it is not possible to spend the same huge amount of money for more teachers and smaller classes, better equipment, field trips etc. on every public school in the country. But still I think there is a way to improve the current circumstances. At this school I went to, we stayed together in the same classes and with the same teachers for 5 years, and in researches it was found out that this improved the individual learning possibilities in the classroom enormously since students and teachers really got to know each other and it was much easier for the teachers to concentrate on their students as individuals. Now, there are schools in my country that have only the average budget but try to let the teachers work with the same groups of students as long as possible, and so far they seem to be successful in integrating the student’s ethnicity and mother language into learning in an improving way.




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