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Posted on September 4th, 2012, by

Today, educators have to work in extremely diverse environment. In this respect, it is possible to refer to Ruben S. Ayala High School, where teachers work from students having a different ethnic origin, cultural background and social status. In such a way, educators have to develop strategies and approaches which could allow them to work effectively with all students and help all students to realize their full potential. However, educators argue that it is still quite difficult to work in such diverse classrooms on the common ground. In other words, educators argue that it is not always possible to find an approach or strategy which could be equally effective in the learning process in relation to absolutely all students.

On conducting interviews of two educators of Ayala High School, I have found out that teachers work in culturally diverse groups. They argue that cultural difference is determined by the different origin of students that naturally raises cultural barriers in their communication with students and in the communication between students in the classroom. In addition, one of the interviewed teachers pointed out that often representatives of minorities live in low-income families and belong to low social class that creates additional barriers on their way to academic success. In such a way, educators determined the diversity of their classrooms as the major problem they are currently facing.

At the same time, it is worth mentioning the fact that one of the teachers admitted that she has difficulties with understanding some of her students because their views and system of values is totally different from her own. As a result, she has to develop a teaching strategy, which relies on basic humanistic values which may be viewed as universal and do not normally raise any opposition or rejection from the part of students representing different cultural groups or social classes.

Another teacher have pointed out that ideally he would like to find an individual approach to each student, but the amount of students in classrooms is too high to meet this goal. However, it is obvious that the teacher is absolutely right in his strife for the development of positive relations with each student, whom he needs to understand and find an individual approach to facilitate student’s learning and make his own work more effective. At the same time, it is obvious that the actual possibilities of teachers are determined or limited by economic factors which influence not only students but also the size of classroom and the equipment of the school.

At this point, one of the teachers pointed out that the school should be better equipped with computers and she argued that school needed more Internet classrooms to help students to learn using new technologies for educational purposes. Obviously, economic factors are again crucial in this regard and influence the work of educators consistently.

In this respect, it is important to analyze the position of the teachers on the theoretical ground.  In fact, the contemporary education is characterized by the wide spread of a variety of theories which produce a profound impact on the development of curriculum. In this respect, it is possible to mention the conflict theory which, in spite of its criticism, still persists and is supported by many educators. On the other hand, there are educators who argue that this theory is inconsistent and it cannot influence the development of curriculum. Often such a view on the conflict theory is determined by the biased view on the theory as well as on education at large. In such a situation, it is extremely important to clearly reveal the extent to which such a biased view is unjust and indicate to possible ways of the implementation of the conflict theory in curriculum.

First of all, it should be said that some educators argue that in the contemporary education there are no significant distinctions between students in their social status. What is more, some educators argue that the contemporary education is characterized as highly liberal and all students are equal, while the attitude of teachers to students is just and deprived of any biases. However, such an attitude to the contemporary education and students is biased in its essence because the actual situation and the analysis of the contemporary education perfectly reveals that the presumable equality of all student and accessibility of education to all people has little in common with the real life.

In stark contrast, the contemporary education is characterized by the gigantic disparity between students and their educational opportunities and, what is probably even more important, there is an enormous gap between teachers and many of their students. To put it more precisely, it is not a secret that representatives of upper classes have larger educational opportunities since they can attend private schools, enter the best Universities, get the education they want or they need, while the majority of students representing lower classes are deprived of such opportunities and these students are forced to attend public schools where they cannot receive education which could provide them with good perspectives for their further education and their job opportunities are extremely low.

In such a situation, many teachers are influenced by the existing biases concerning the existing equality and accessibility of education. In actuality, biased educators prefer to ignore the socio-cultural background of students and treat all students equally, in spite of their level of development and knowledge and skills they have acquired. In such a way, biased educators do not pay attention to the background of their student and pose high demands, which students living in the poverty stricken areas cannot meet because the quality of education in public schools is consistently lower than in private schools for instance. As a result, on the level of the higher education students from different socio-cultural background will apparently have different opportunities and different level of knowledge and development, but this fact is ignored by biased educators in the development of the curriculum. Consequently, educators develop curriculum without taking into consideration the existing disparity between students and, therefore, the curriculum initially puts students in unequal position when the privileged classes are in an advantageous position compared to lower classes.

Moreover, it is necessary to remember that educators are representatives of the middle class and their biased attitude to students and the development of curriculum ignoring the difference in socio-cultural background of students lead to the imposing of the views of representatives of upper and middle classes on students originating from different socio-cultural background, including students from lower classes. Obviously, such a situation is determined by biased attitude of such educators to their students and contradicts to basic principles of the conflict theory which underlines that the social inequality does exist and, therefore, it needs to be taken into consideration in order to avoid the imposing of views of upper classes to students from lower classes and provide the latter with equal opportunities compared to the former.

In such a situation, it is apparently necessary to modify curriculum and change the biased attitude of educators. Speaking about practical recommendations, it should be said that primarily it is necessary to better understand the socio-cultural background of each student and attempt to adapt curriculum to needs and the level of development of each student. Moreover, professional educators should take an active part in the life of the community of their students and develop an active social position of students helping them get integrated into the new community, at the University, for instance, and making students able to get rid of the biases concerning representative of other social classes. Consequently, educators should assist students to realize their potential instead of limiting their opportunities through posing extremely high demands that some students cannot meet at the moment.

However, in conclusion, it is important to emphasize that often educators face a huge gap between their vision of education and the actual situation. While working in diverse classrooms they attempt to implement approaches and strategies that meet needs and interests of all students but it is impossible to implement them effectively in large classrooms. In addition, insufficient equipment of the school prevents educators from using new technologies in the learning process en mass. As a result, the effectiveness of education turns out to be dependent on the funding of the school, its financial resources, while minority students often turn to be in a disadvantageous position because along with problems common to all students and the school, they also face the problem of cultural barriers.

 

 

 

Matrix

 

School Description
Ruben S. Ayala High School, 2007-08
Type of School

High School

Grade Levels1

9-12

Year Round Calendar

No

Charter School

No

Total Enrollment

2,438

Population Status

Urban Fringe of a Large City

1 The lowest and highest grade in which student enrollment was reported. Special programs, such as special education or independent study, may include grade levels beyond the typical grades served by the school.

 

 

Source: California Department of Education, Educational Demographics Office (CBEDS, sifgl07 9/3/08, sifade07 8/19/08, pubschls 10/1/08)

 

 

Enrollment by Grade
Ruben S. Ayala High School, 2007-08

 

Enrollment

Grade 9

571

Grade 10

619

Grade 11

586

Grade 12

588

Ungraded

74

Total

2,438

 

Source: California Department of Education, Educational Demographics Office (CBEDS, sifb0708 10/6/08)

 

 

 

Average Class Size
Ruben S. Ayala High School, 2007-08

 

School

District

Number of Classes1

Average Class Size

Average Class Size

Schoolwide

451

29.2

27.6

Independent Study

3

13.3

31.0

English

82

29.4

27.4

Math

69

31.5

29.0

Social Science

74

32.5

30.3

Science

48

31.6

30.2

1 Filtered counts exclude classes with zero enrollment or enrollment over 50 and other minor items.

 

Source: California Department of Education, Educational Demographics Office (CBEDS, assign07 7/15/08, asgncode 9/2/08, paif07 7/15/08)

 

School Technology
Ruben S. Ayala High School, 2007-08

 

Number

Computers

754

Students per Computer

3.2

Classrooms with Internet

95

 

Source: California Department of Education, Educational Demographics Office (CBEDS, pubschls 10/1/08, sifgl07 9/3/08)

 

Subgroup API

Number of Students Included in 2008 API

Numerically Significant in Both Years

2008 Growth

2007 Base

2007-08 Growth Target

2007-08 Growth

Met Subgroup Growth Target

 African American (not of Hispanic origin)

91

No

 American Indian or Alaska Native

5

No

 Asian

351

Yes

873

869

A

4

Yes

 Filipino

182

Yes

804

834

A

-30

Yes

 Hispanic or Latino

433

Yes

750

745

5

5

Yes

 Pacific Islander

8

No

 White (not of Hispanic origin)

695

Yes

792

794

5

-2

No

 Socioeconomically Disadvantaged

137

Yes

714

695

5

19

Yes

 English Learners

78

No

 Students with Disabilities

162

Yes

531

546

13

-15

No

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