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 racism 
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I know we discussed this today in class but I wanted to address how to react to a student that uses a racial slur in the classroom. I don't think I did a very good job verbalizing my stance on the issue. I agree with Dr.Turner in that the best overall reaction would be to stand near them and quietly tell them to see me after class. I also agree with Halen that calling them out and "pushing diversity in their face" isn't a helpful method either. I think my main concern is communicating to the student as well as the rest of the class that I realize they are trying to get the best of me by "not knowing what it means" etc and that it is unacceptable. I'm still conflicted with trying to resolve not showing the student that they have pushed my buttons while at the same time making sure they understand that in no way shape or form will I tolerate discrimination of any kind in my classroom or around me. I'm not sure who suggested it but I did like the idea of taking a day talking about the issue and assigning the student a project or paper that researches the topic. I think the issue of racial tolerance and acceptance is important enough to rearrange whatever schedule is in place so that a day can be delegated to this issue.

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Caitlin Troutman


Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:39 pm
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I agree with you Caitlen, I think it's a good idea to (although not in the same class) put the lesson aside and have a mini-lesson based on racial topics. I, too, am conflicted about letting the student (and the rest of the class) know that it's not okay to do that in my classroom. I know that when I was a substitute, and my student said that the word f*gg*t was "just a pile of sticks," that half the class didn't understand the connotation of a pile of sticks....they didn't realize that stick were used to burn people accused of being witches and"gay" and to persecute them, and that the derogatory term that student just used, is actually STILL a derogatory term, even with the "sticks" description. The dictionary isn't going to go into a full-out explanation of WHY a pile of sticks was referred to as that word. I know at least half the class understood what the kid was trying to pass off, and the other side was clueless, and thought I was punishing him unfairly. I admit, I was wrong to send him to detention...but I was so angry, I was afraid that if I kept him in my sight, I might say something I regretted. That was the first time I had ever been put in that situation, and I was totally unprepared. I really like Dr. Turner's and Halen's advice to deal with it calmly, and later...not then and there. But I do think it should be brought back up later, to show the class that will not be tolerated, even if the dictionary meaning sounds harmless.

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Holly Riddle


Thu Mar 20, 2008 5:03 pm
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I really liked how Dr. Turner demonstrated how to deal with a student who uses a racial slur or any type of negative comment toward another student. And I also liked the suggestion of having your students do a project/discussion that explains to them why such terms are wrong. However, I will not be able to use that approach in my classroom to that same effect because it will be essentially preschoolers. I do however like the notion of dealing with it calmly and explaining to the children why that's wrong because honestly at that young of an age many of the children will not understand so I think that because they will be exposed to that later in life it is good to help them understand that phrases and words like that are hurtful to others. I think that the example that Dr. Turner gave us of the little boy asking the other little boy about his lips and hair and touching him is also a good time to point out that everyone is different but that doesn't make them any less special. At the age of 3 and 4, children are noticing those types of things so I feel as a teacher it is my job to address those in the most healthy way and most educational so that children learn to interact with all types of children whether it be race or gender or religion or abilities.

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Jenna F


Thu Mar 20, 2008 6:10 pm
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I enjoyed our discussion in class yesterday and Dr. Turner's example about to dealing with racism in our classroom. I did however think most of the discussion dealt with middle or high school. I want to teach lower elementary and therefore I think students sometimes hear words and don't know what they mean but just say them. Maybe I'm just being naive because I never knew what they meant until I was a lot older. I was wondering if you would handle it with K-2 children the same way you would high school by asking them to see you after class. I think I would approach this by asking the student how they would feel if... happened to them.

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Meagan


Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:25 am
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I think that dealing with students who might use racial slurs in class is going to be very difficult the first time and is going to be very hard. I think that hopefully a somewhat preventative measure would be to clarify that the use of degrading words, and bad language, such as the words fagot and nigger, are completely unacceptable. In a classroom where the students are older, they all should be aware of these words, as Halen said in class, kids aren't stupid. Depending on how young they are, they might be naive, and so handling the situation as Dr. Turner said would be appropriate for any age level. It is also important that as teachers we not only "handle" the student who said the word, but make sure that if a student was hurt by things that were said that they are able to concentrate and continue their day.

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Kim Volker


Sat Mar 22, 2008 3:43 pm
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Because I plan on teaching high school students I plan on adopting a zero tollerance for the use of any racial slurs in my classroom. I personally feel that by the age of fourteen, a child knows the difference between right or wrong well enough to understand the hurt that racial slurs can cause. Telling a high school aged child that using racial slurs is unacceptable is hardly shoving diversity down anyone's throat. No one can be forced to accept diversity, but they sure can be made to tollerate it while they are in my classroom.

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Ryan Dunlevy


Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:38 pm
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I totally agree with Ryan. I also plan on teaching high school, and I don't think that simply whispering into a high school student's ear will have much of an effect. Once a student reaches high school age, they have certainly been exposed to students of a different race and should know the hurt and possible long-term effects of racially motivated insults. I cannot control how a student acts outside of my classrom, but they will be held accountable for how they act inside of my classroom. They will be expected to tolerate diversity within my classroom.

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Merry Lauren Futch


Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:53 pm
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I am an elementary ed major and I think dealing with racial slurs in this age group will be a little tricky. Some students will know exactly what the racial comments mean and others will be very naive and have no idea that it is bad. I believe it would be difficult to pull a student aside in a younger elementary class, but I think it would be a good idea for a third through fifth grade class. I think mini lessons on race and how everyone is special and different would be very beneficial for this age group. Dealing with situations like this is something I need to think about more before I enter the classroom so I am a little more prepared.

I did really like what Dr. Turner said about how you should also tell the student that the racial slur was directed towards that everything will be taken care of. Students need to feel comfortable and taken care of in the classroom. They also need to know that their teacher is on their side and will do all they can for their students. This is something I really hope I can accomplish in my classrooms.

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Lauren Blackwelder


Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:50 pm
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In a high school setting I know I will encounter students using ethnic slurs and other inappropriate terms and ethnic labels. I feel that the best way for me to handle the situation when it arises is to address it to the class and stress that it won't be tolerated. Ethnic slurs or any issues surrounding the use of derogatory terms will only harm and divide a classroom and its students from working together during activities and group work. Kids can be really cruel as I'm sure we all witnessed during our school experience but maintaining a classroom where racial slurs are not tolerated will be a better classroom for it. I'm going to stress to my students at the beginning of the semester my feelings on this topic and my inability to tolerate any form of it. I am hoping that my teaching style and past experiences have prepared to deal with this issue professionally and justly.


Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:22 pm
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I unfortunately missed class last Thursday, but here are my two cents:

Classroom management is based around respect. Racial slurs, vulgarity, or anything of that nature is not showing respect to fellow students or teachers. As a result it should not be tolerated.

Luckily though I am in a position to address this issue. As a History educator I can let students know why racial slurs are bad and they can get a piece of the oppresive history that many races have had to suffer through.


Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:53 am
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I also did enjoy that day’s discussion because it is a topic that we must deal with every day. One reason that I wanted to become a teacher was to take out the hatred and bullying within the classroom. Everyone, for the most part, has experienced a bully or a derogatory remark directed towards them and it hurts. I do like the idea of just whispering something to that student but there are other ways to extinguish such behavior. There will be certain words that if I hear within my classroom, I will address it with the student’s parents. I will have a meeting with the student and the parent(s) and have the student repeat what he/she said in class to their parent(s). I know if I said some of these words to my parents, I would get my mouth washed out with soap and I would hope that these parents would take some kind of action in return. But there will be some parent(s) that won’t care and we have to try to break that cycle. Because of these parents that don’t care, we will always have this continuous cycle of rugrats. If we can reach one kid a year, our society will be a more friendlier place.


Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:10 pm
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I believe in using a straight forward approach to issues such as name calling based on race. Although Dr. turner's idea was agood one, I think that the kids need to be told directly as a group that these actions are unacceptable. I think that I would stop class an address this issue in order to ensure there is not any more of this language being used in my class.

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Benjamin Hutchings


Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:55 pm
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