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Topic: Re: Bridgers' letter to MATH. TEACHER
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DanH150093@aol.com

Posts: 95
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Bridgers' letter to MATH. TEACHER
Posted: Sep 9, 1995 1:58 AM
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Folks-

The victimization felt by many Americans leads too many of our youth to
give up before trying. Then, in fact, they become victims of their own self
fulfilling prophecy. Students, alienated from the system by real or perceived
discrimination, ensure their own failure. People told that they have no
chance of success due to their race or ethnicity have no reason to try.
I'm afraid the piece "Inclusion of African American Students in
Mathematics Classrooms..." is representative of a different tack that might
accentuate this problem (if that's possible). First, the majority of the
piece recommended teaching strategies and curricular revisions that most
teachers would find useful in varying amounts in their teaching. Second,
linking this to one racial group might have increased its probability of
being published.
However, I'm afraid focusing on race characteristics (while
certainly intended to be positive in this case) provides those who wish
another reason (whether real of imagined) to commit educational suicide. If
students get the idea they can only learn in specified manners according to
their skin color, we're finished.
In my own college experience, I remember taking Partial Differential
Equations without a book (the professor assured us his lectures were enough).
I was absolutely panicked since I learn best by reading and studying a book.
My ability to internalize verbal explanations is not good. I can imagine if
I subscribed this weakness to my Scot/English/Czech heritage. Even if it had
been true would I have helped myself by believing it?
Is this a color blind society or a society where everyone begins with
equal opportunity? NO, it's not!! But in my career I've never seen a student
whose hard work wasn't rewarded in some profound way. Whatever our failings
are as a society, hard work and diligence pay off.
Let's not sabotage kids by placing ideas of dubious merit in their
path.

Dan Hart






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