As you complete this week’s readings, make note of the various ways that the idea of race is used in the text. What does race mean in this textbook? What does it meant that teachers are being taught to think in racial terms? What are the effects of teaching teachers to think in this way?

In “A History of Education” by Painter, the term race is used several times. This text first uses the term “race” to generally refer to human kind (p. 5), and again in the same meaning on p. 8. Already there are hierarchies in race – the Orientals are listed as the birthplace of the human race and the most progressed area, while other “uncivilized peoples” (which are not even named) are not included in the book of education because “their education is thus too primitive in its character to bring it within the scope of our present undertaking.” This statement disregards these other cultures as even having educational systems of their own as it is not equal with the European, or civilized area’s, education.

The second usage is in the Chinese section (P.9), and refers to a specific group of people (ex. the Mongolian people). They are characterized as smart, educated and inventive, but also as possessing negative traits like being unwilling to change and tyrannical.

In “Origin of the Idea of Race” by Audrey Smedley, race is used in two ways. “Race” is first used as a definition similar to “type” or “kind,” clearly as a way to classify humans. She uses race to group individuals like breeds of people (ex. English – or more broadly European – Irish, Indian, and Africans). The English and Europeans are always seen as superior in this reading. The other usage of “race” is to talk about all peoples in the human race.

Undoubtedly the term “race” is used to classify certain groups of people that share similar physical traits. Teachers were being taught to teach in racial terms based on each group’s ability to preform. In these articles the Chinese and different Indian people are given broad characteristics that create stereotypes, such as how the Chinese are very respective towards parents and authoritative adults, and Indian people do not like physical activities. It upholds the belief that Chinese students will be the most likely to succeed and be diligent in their studies, while East Indian students will merely repeat the lessons. The effect of teaching teachers to think in racial terms is essentially that they will categorize their students by what they assume will be the smartest and most motivated students. Eventually, the teacher will not realize he or she asks the students questions with varying levels of difficulty based on assumptions, instead of what the student has demonstrated as their ability. Until the teacher realizes that thinking in racial terms or stereotypes is dangerous and causes a ripple effect in this way of thinking, he or she will neglect to foster the potential in all of the students equally.

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