In my field experience I have noticed an equity issue with ability level. It has become very apparent to me as the weeks have gone by which students are above level, at level and below level. One day the teacher had me take two students who needed extra time working on their math worksheet. These two children were very far behind in comparison to the other kids. They were really struggling with addition and I realized how far behind they were compared to the kids who had already finished the work sheet. After school I talked to Mrs. Whaley (teacher) and told her how surprised I was that they were struggling so much. She agreed and said they were two of the kids who were two of her lowest level kids. The next week it became apparent to me that the way she grouped their desks was by ability level or academic level. There are two groups of desks in the classroom with kids who are above level. They are the kids that always finish first and are ahead when working on group activities. Then there are two groups of desks that are normal academic level and two groups of desks with children farther behind. I found it shocking as to why she would group them together by ability level. I would think putting a mixture at each group would work better for the kids that are farther behind because they were be pushed and helped by kids ahead of them. I believe the issue of equity in ability level can impact the motivation of students. These students in groups that struggled had to be taken out of class and helped. They might feel embarrassed or “slow”. This might not only hurt their confidence and self-esteem but also cause the students to feel less motivated. By putting the slower students in groups with higher level students may not only help them when they have questions but motivate them to work harder.
Gay believes “the academic achievement of ethnically diverse children will improve when they are taught through their own culture and experiential filters”. Basically teachers need to educate themselves on different cultures so they can better teach students of different ethnic backgrounds and include different cultures into the classroom. Delpit suggests that as teachers we allow ourselves to be open and really listen to other perspectives because people of other cultures are “experts” in their culture and know what they are talking about. By doing this, it will allow us to better speak across cultures to our students of different backgrounds.
Gay proposes that one way to design culturally relevant curriculum is by designing bulletin boards to promote symbolic curriculum that talk about different ethnic groups and positive characteristics. For example, doing a bulletin board on leadership and include different ethnic groups. Then Gay also talks about societal curriculum and kind of changing the mental stereotypes that students believe because of the mass media they are exposed to.