This summer, TCU College of Education professors Steve Pryzmus and Michael Faggella-Luby had students write This I Believe Essays at the beginning and end of their course studying Exceptional Children and Youth at Risk. The next postings will feature the students’ final essays.
After four weeks of class, my thoughts have stayed relatively similar; however, now there is a reason behind my beliefs and a few additional beliefs to add to it. This semester we have learned a lot about monolinguals, bilinguals, multi-linguals and those with disabilities and how to incorporate everyone in a classroom. I still believe in being one. However, instead of being just one student body, I believe in being individuals within one student body. For example, as a science teacher, I can allow my students to speak in their L1, and allow students to answer translingually as long as they understand the content. Another example could be doing activities through group work and allowing students to work together in order to gain social skills and get to know one another both at an academic level and also a social level. Doing this, will promote a welcoming classroom where we will not only learn the content, but we will also be learning about different languages and cultures without realizing it. In addition to this one multicultural classroom, I also see the importance of including those with disabilities in my classroom. Having this idea of being one in my classroom is open for all. This idea of being one class, one student body and one community allows for students from all cultures, disabilities and backgrounds to come together as one. Using the student’s differences, as well as the faculty’s differences, we can learn about everybody. This will provide students and staff members a new kind of insight and allow faculty members a chance to truly know their students, and students to truly know their faculty members. Having this kind of school environment will allow the students that are typically not included in the extracurricular or group activities, to bring their strengths to the table and not be judged for being different. Having those kind of relationships between faculty and students will allow for a more welcoming school and classroom for ALL students. I believe in one… one – student body, one human race, and one nation. I believe being one allows for people of all different cultures, races, learning styles and disabilities to show what they are capable of, and bring those skills together to make one special place open to everyone.