1. Children from the lower SES groups can be disadvantaged in their educational experiences. Compare them with children of middle or upper class students in terms of their learning experiences.
Social economic status (SES) of a student is measured by the parents’ level of education and income (Cole, & Barber, 2003) The different level of parents’ income and level of education dictates how well a student adapts to learning materials and learning instructions, and in what magnitude. Cole and Barber (2003) go ahead to explain that the learning experience of low income SES students seems to be focused on overcoming the social problems and attaining the middle class or upper class levels. On the other hand, middle class and upper class learning experience seems to be focused on achieving personal interests. The students’ achievement magnitude and direction are dictated by a few keywords: “availability” of learning materials, learning time limitation, mentors, and friendly environment. Students from the lower SES groups are often disadvantaged in the availability of the above learning structures.
Ansalone (2009) identifies that a research done by National Longitudinal Study of college graduation rates established, “22% more of the higher SES students completed college than did students of lower SES groups.” One of the key indicators of school life success is school performance and school completion. The two elements identify the challenges that hinder students from completing and competing equally with the rest of the students groups. Ansalone (2009) identifies that there is a close correlation between students’ performance and the level of their SES group. Children of higher SES groups are exposed to environments that shape their verbal and math skills unlike the students from the lower SES groups. On the same note, higher SES students have access to a variety of diverse learning materials that are not easily accessible to students from the lower SES groups. The disparity is highly influenced by the parents’ different levels of income and occupation. For example, high SES group parents expose their children to professional standards of learning, career choice, and guidance while the students of the low SES groups have to learn from school only.
2. Some teachers are biased towards boys or girls when they teach – how would you as a future teacher prevent that from happening in your classroom? Explain clearly with examples, how you would treat them equally. If you see this behavior in parents from different cultural backgrounds, would you tell them that this can be detrimental in the learning and development of their children? If so, how?
The learning platform should not be a subject to any form of discrimination such as discrimination on the ground of race, gender, or economic class. To eradicate any form of bias, especially in regard to gender, the best approach lies in developing and providing the instruction materials for teachers. As a future teacher, I can prevent gender discrimination by using altering content of teaching material that may be biased. Another way of making sure that there is no bias is to encourage all children on a similar level in order to prove that they have similar capabilities. The key issue is avoiding sex stereotyping as illustrated by Malik (1998). In order to treat children equally, I would give the children similar roles that are not gender biased, avoid using sexist language, challenge sexist practices, and provide resources that promote anti-sexist attitudes.
Cooper and Weaver (2003) warn that difference in treatment in pre-school years has been reported to have negative effects on the children’s performance. Therefore, if parents of a different background were to illustrate sex stereotyping in learning, I would show them that their behavior is detrimental for learning and development of their children. In a personal conversation, I would engage the parent in a discussion on how those different levels of attention to the children can have different results. For example, viewing one sex as the weak one and giving extra attention to it would cause “stealing” the time and other resources required for the development of a strong personality. The end result would be that the perceived strong gender would fail terribly due to poor allocation of resources. The next step is engaging parents on what should be done if they have two children of different sex. On the same note, I would explain to the parents that confidence is a necessary element in helping children to grow and develop. If the child is not confident about his/her abilities, he/she is likely to fail.