Incorporating Multicultural Pedagogues of the Academic Other
Pedagogues are an overlooked part of the education system. However, it is of great importance that classrooms incorporate multicultural pedagogues of the academic other. A pedagogy is a method of teaching an academic subject. Meanwhile, a pedagogy that integrates multicultural practices is one that suits the needs of all backgrounds. I recently attended a workshop at Dutchess Community College that heightened the importance of incorporating multicultural pedagogues in the college classroom. In this essay, I shall discuss the workshop itself, what I learned from it, and why teachers should learn this lesson.
In this workshop, we used a “game” to simulate why specific pedagogues are not effective. The seminar took place in Bowne Hall. English Instructor Jordan Bell hosted the event. After briefly discussing what a pedagogy was, members of the workshop formed several groups. These groups all had to create mobiles for a baby’s crib. However, each group had a different amount of supplies allotted to them. After fifteen minutes of working to create the mobiles, each group was asked by Mr. Bell to hang their creation from a ceiling light. When looking around at the different mobiles, it became apparent that although each group put their best effort into creating their mobile, some of them did not succeed. After viewing the mobiles, the entirety of the workshop discussed how building these mobiles could represent a eurocentric pedagogy (a pedagogy that only considers majority students).Similar to the typical classroom, we all had the same directions and the same set of standards, yet there were varying amounts of resources. Thus, some people could not do as well as others making the pedagogy ineffective. From this exercise I learned several ways to better college education.
The mobile activity taught me awareness and gave a better understanding of equity. First of all, because the groups did not grab their supplies at the same time, it was not noticeable that the groups had different amounts of supplies. Furthermore, because my group only focused on making our mobile, none of us bothered to see if any of the other groups were struggling. Lastly, the groups that did not have enough resources to create a good mobile did not ask for help. It was even less apparent that they had such limited resources. Therefore when I found out that none of the groups had the same supplies, I realized that people need to become much more aware of their surroundings in the classroom. Furthermore, the activity proved that equality does not equal equity by showing that although all the groups had the same rules, not every group could come up with the same outcome. Therefore, we need equity (the quality of giving everyone what they need) for everyone to have an equal chance at success. In my personal opinion, these lessons would be beneficial to educators so that they can prepare lessons with multicultural backgrounds in mind.
If all teachers knew the importance of awareness and equity, we could have a better education system. The true purpose of instructor Bell’s workshop was to show how current pedagogues do not include the academic other. Through the mobile game, it becomes apparent why the classic eurocentric pedagogy does not work. We see that if we use the teaching style of complete ‘equality’ and do not look into student backgrounds, some students will never succeed. In this format, those with disadvantaged backgrounds never have a chance to do well in classes because they lack the resources we expect every student to have. Therefore, teachers should implement the lessons I learned from this workshop. With better awareness teachers can see which students need extra support. Also, teachers with equity can give students varying amount of resources so that every student is successful. Furthermore, with both awareness and equity the classroom would finally be accessible and relevant to all.
Multicultural pedagogues are essential to the classroom. By using the mobile activity as an example, we can see that the eurocentric pedagogy does not teach in a manner that suits every student. Therefore, teachers need to implement awareness and equity in order to reach a multicultural classroom. In the future, I believe events like the one Mr. Bell created should be mandatory for educators. Therefore, one day the college classroom could have real equality.