The American Creed states the “principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.” (American Creed) This means our military fights for our rights to keep our values that make us good American citizens. Not only does the military fight for our rights, in education, we teach these values. To uphold such values, one should service their country, become educated, work hard, and treat others respectfully. The great Martin Luther King JR. once said “When the architects of our Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to full heir…” He references our great American Creed to discuss that we have since fallen short of its great promises. To uphold such promises I will help my students with the injustices to their equality through a social reconstructionism approach in my teachings.
The value I hold closest to my heart to be a true American patriot is equality. I work in a school in the inner city where the population is 80% African-American and 10% Mexican-American. My high school students already have stories of themselves being profiled while in stores and walking down the street. I believe my students know what hard work is because they see it first hand by their parents who are showing them how to give a better life their children, I do not believe that all my children are bad, the way they are profiled to be. I believe I can help this as a teacher by showing my students that I care and treat them equally as all natural born American and white students in my classes. I will also help them work hard and gain the education they need to become successful US citizens. I believe a way I can show this in my teaching is by having an integrated curriculum in social studies by teaching the curriculum from all points of view. For example, teaching how African-American slaves fought in the Revolutionary War thinking this new country would set them free; as the focus on the curriculum is usually an Anglo point of view.
The next value I hold close is justice. For my students as well, I think they would like to be treated equally in the justice system. My example from the previous paragraph is heart breaking to hear because my students are 14-18 years old and they are already being tracked to prison. I believe I can help them by standing up for my students, helping them with the problems, being there for my students, and reporting any incidents they approach me about. I believe in my math curriculum, I could make math problems related to the injustice of my students. You are supposed to write math problems that relate to your students’ lives and unfortunately this does. If I were to get a job outside of the city, I believe these math problems will help bring rise to the fact that these injustices are happening, and we need to pay attention to them.
Dewey tells us about different “points of shared common interest” first, which I understand as there are always different groups you hang around because you have things in common with each of them. Then, he shares about “reliance on the recognition” of the items mentioned above, and how we can use them for “social control” because we are aware of them. I understand this thinking of democracy because we all tend to have similar likings, as seen in schools in cliques or clubs or teams. I believe a way I can teach this curriculum to my students is best done through a hidden curriculum by reminding them about the people they surround themselves with have an influence on who they are, because Dewey’s words are proven in many examples of our democratic system. The students must know that some people will already know about points of interest and how they can control it and will use that knowledge to control their “friends” to do what they want. I believe it is best for all our students to know about this way of democratic thinking, so they can participate in this democracy rather than the authoritarian friendships others want them to have. This to me would also tie into making sure everyone gets the justice and respect that each child deserves going through life before they get to the real injustices of the country.
My way I want to build my classroom revolves around a Social Reconstructionism approach as discussed by Oakes & Lipton. Here, purpose of education is to solve these problems in social injustice and equality. I show this point in the justice paragraph when I refer discussing these problems in my math curriculum. Here I am showing my students that there are problems and we can solve them. Just like anything else. The students will show their knowledge of this through going out into the world after class and working to fix these social injustices.
I believe that schools should use these values because we are almost half of what makes up students lives. I have heard time and time again that most days, teachers spend more time with their students than their parents. Which makes teachers great role models for students. We need to present these values in the way we exist in front of our students and some minor things like signs on the wall about the type of people we are creating. I believe the most important is to be kind to all people, to accept all people. I think the teacher could help the students do better by this by correcting students when they behaviors are unfair or unkind in any form, be it to a person or group of people. The students I believe should be receptive and respectful to their teacher by following the rules and practicing daily being kind to all others, in and outside the classroom. Being kind, I believe is the beginning of bringing justice and equality to the classroom and the world through a social reconstructionism way.
Page, W. T. (1995). The American’s Creed. Retrieved September 25, 2018, from http://www.ushistory.org/documents/creed.htm
King, M. L., Jr. (2018, September). I Have A Dream. Speech presented at March on Washington at the Lincoln Monument, Washington DC. Retrieved September 27, 2018, from https://www.archives.gov/files/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf
Dewey, J. (2009). Democracy and Education. Reno, NV: Frederick Ellis.
Oakes, J., Lipton, M., & Stillman, J. (2003). Tools for critique to explore Teaching to change the world, second edition. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
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