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The Definition of Prejudice and Its Nature

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Prejudice is pre-judgment or irrational generalisation about an entire category of people. It is a combination of personal, social and societal factors. It is the human tendency to divide the social world into two categories of “us” and “them” the in-group and the out-group. These divisions may be made on the bases of race, religion, sex, age, and ethnicity. Usually, the members of out-group are seen as inferior and different from ‘us’ the in group. Although there are similarities between the groups, those in the in-group may justify their privilege by assuming they deserve to ‘have’ because of their superiority this can lead to blaming those in the out-group for their less privileged position. The out-group is likely to be blamed in case things go wrong. Prejudice is also a set of cultural values; children learn about valued traits and characteristics from families, friends, teachers and the world around them. In this case, Paulo could have been feeling prejudiced. His withdrawn demeanor could have been as a result of his cultural values, what he believes he is among American children, his cultural background and what he learns about his position in society from the world around him.

Which three relationships could be drawn on to ensure that Paulo feels connected to the learners in his class? Since “caring teacher-student relationships are better associated with better school performance especially for children who face serious challenges” (Woolfolk 2014:234), Paulo will benefit from such a relationship. He will need a teacher who will support him throughout to boost his confidence by achieving the best in his work. He will need to be encouraged to build effective peer relations as they are critical in connecting to other students facilitating socialising and adjust well to the classroom situation. Paulo will need effective home-school relationships to build a caring connected network for him. His teacher will need to seek maximum parent involvement. Engaging with his parents to make sure they stay involved.

Which culturally relevant teaching guidelines would you suggest that Ms Wyant uses in her classroom. Ms Wyant can experiment with different grouping arrangements to encourage social harmony and cooperation or example study buddies and pairs. She can also provide a range of ways to learn the material to accommodate a range of learning styles for example set up activities and projects. She has to try to get to know the customs, traditions, and values of her students by for example attending some community fairs and festivals. Teach her learners to her learners to detect racist and sexist messages, for example, analyse curriculum materials for biases. She must learn the meaning of different behaviours for her students, for example, ask students how they feel when you correct or praise them. What gives them this message? Emphasise meaning in teaching, for example, make sure students understand what they are reading Woolfolk (2013: 262) says that “whenever you consider the use of punishment, you should make it part of a two pronged attack”. It should not only be designed to supress the undesirable action but also to tell the learner what is the right thing to do. Therefore to use punishment effectively the situation must be structured so that you can use negative reinforcement rather than punishment. This can be done by using positive methods of child guidance for example insisting on actions rather than promises. One should be vigilant and not allow learners convince you to change the terms of the agreement.

Punishment must be kept mild and brief. It must be paired with doing the right thing, for example, time out for young children should be no more than 3-5 minutes and loss of points should be not more than 1 sticker if they can get 5 in a day. Application of punishment must be consistent. Boundaries must be set and kept. For example, punishment must be unavoidable and immediate as is reasonably possible. The learners’ actions must be addressed rather than learners’ qualities. One must build trust and be supportive, for example, learners must be reprimanded in a calm but firm voice. The type of punishment used must match with the infraction for example minor misdemeanours can be ignored. They can be discouraged through eye contact and other forms of body language. It is also important to empower learners with age-appropriate choices.

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