“A History of Education”
What does race mean in this textbook?
In the textbook, the term race is very one-dimensional. Its dependent on a cultures similarities; however, it is seen as something that separates people, as it highlights the differences in physical and cultural attributes. In the first few paragraphs of the text, Painter discusses the Human race as a whole, which makes you think that the rest of the reading is going to be about equality amongst different racial groups. However, this is not the case. He talks about different cultures and races starting with the Orientals than slowing moving into the Western world, however, he begins to place these certain races above others stating that this is the natural order and it should not be questioned. As well, he states that other culture’s education is “too primitive” compared to the Western world’s, and thus not included in the text.
What does it mean that teachers are being taught to think in racial terms? What are the effects of teaching teachers to think in this way?
When teachers are taught to think in racial terms, they are simply limiting the ability of their students to reach their full potential. Some teachers may see race as an excuse to provide the bare minimum to their students, which ultimately results in little, slow or no development. Teachers probably felt like they were improving Canada’s future, as they were teaching certain students, or assimilating them, to think, act and behave in certain ways that they believe would fit in with or better the Canadian society. In other words, the teachers are conforming them to the dominant culture. This has major effects, as students will struggle to be different.
It is important that, as future teachers, we get our students to think critically about racial concepts, ideas and different cultures, and thus question the natural order proposed by Painter. If we do not do this, the younger generations will grow up with a narrow-minded perspective about race and culture. If we take the time to actually question this concept and act on it, there is the potential to stop the stereotyping and biases.