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To begin with, it is necessary to emphasize that the education system of any country is based on the national experience, culture, and the current realities of the world and domestic situation. If the country is multi-national, like the USA, the situation is worsened with the differences of experience and diverse treatment to children. Jonathan Kozol, in his book “Savage Inequalities,” argues that the US educational system is based on treating and educating white children, while the Hispanic and African American students are taught using the principles of teaching white students. In spite of the fact that people are equal and racial segregation is not allowed in education, the worldview of these children differs, and, sometimes, essentially.
Thinking in Education
John Dewey’s “Thinking in education” is aimed to overcome this “equal inequality” and provide the principles that would be used in educating African American children. He argues that “Speaking generally, the fundamental fallacy in methods of instruction lies in supposing that experience on the part of pupils may be assumed. Experience is here taken as previously defined: trying to do something and having the thing perceptibly do something to one in return. The fallacy consists in supposing that we can begin with the ready-made subject matter of arithmetic, or geography, or whatever, irrespective of some direct personal experience of a situation”.(Dewey, 2003, p.68) This statement was grounded on the fact that the education system is very prejudiced, and African American children are not taught to admire their national heroes except the most obvious, like Martin Luther King. The fact is that there were numerous other outstanding activists of the black movements: picketers, lawyers, poets, etc. Thus, John Dewey argues that the children should be taught in order they could admire their national heroes, and we’re proud of them (Perry, 1998).
Another idea that is offered in “Thinking in Education” stands for the implementation of the principle of setting up friendship among children. The fact is that it is impossible to educate children equally if the children themselves do not aim to be equal. Originally, education should be based on the principle of equality; as it was emphasized earlier, nevertheless this equality should be not only in treating children equally but also on providing equally reliable information on the activity of white and African American scientists, novelists, poets, etc. If friendship, o at least unprejudiced relations, are set up among children, the perception of the information, which touches upon the cultural differences, will be equal and unprejudiced. Otherwise, the education system will not be equal for students of different cultural origins.
The main principle of “Savage Inequalities” and “Thinking in Education” is to give the ideas for the further setting up of equal relations among the children, and, consequently, the equal treatment of teachers to the children. The process of teaching should take into account all the cultural differences of the children in the class, especially if the class is multi-cultural.
Finally, equal education is possible when the treatment of children and the relations among children are equal and unprejudiced.
- Dewey, John Thinking in education Cambridge University Press, 2003
- Kozol, J Savage Inequalities. Cambridge University Press, 2003
- Long, Lisa A., ed. White Scholars/African American Texts. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005.
- Perry, Theresa, and Lisa Delpit, eds. The Real Ebonics Debate Power, Language, and the Education of African-American Children. Boston: Beacon Press, 1998.
- Ross, Marilyn J. Success Factors of Young African American Women at a Historically Black College. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003.
- Townsend, Brenda L. “”Testing While Black”: Standards-Based School Reform and African American Learners.” Remedial and Special Education 23.4 (2002): 222