Edev_502 response wk1_12

I’m very pleased to meet you. Thank you for your interesting and well-thought out post.

I was shocked to read that in South Africa, “there is still a perception that the black society may not have the intuition to learn compared with caucasian learners”. Does this intuition affect negatively the achievement of learners who may internalise the perception, or is the perception externally enforced through societal techniques of media representation or something else? Either way, it’s disturbing that this negativity persists in the 21st century.

You say that there is a “lack of positive reinforcement of the black student” which partially answers the above. This is behaviourist language. Are any other learning theories utilised to inhibit black students engagement with education? Motivation theory suggests that the Japanese approach to levelling (as they see it) is hardly ideal (Deci et al. 1991). Here in Japan, no one is actively discouraged overtly from education, but league-like tables are posted on middle- and high-school walls for each school subject. Pupils get to know their ‘level’* very quickly, and teachers address certain ‘levels’ of pupil in directed ways that relate specifically to the teacher’s expectation of that pupil. In other words, if you’re thought of as being thick, you’re treated as being thick, you start to feel thick and you’re placed in that ‘level’ all of your life. It’s a horrendous and, in my opinion, ethically questionable practice. I wonder if this is similar in effect to what happens in South Africa.

*I put ‘level’ in quotation marks because I disagree that their lecture style approach can adequately and effectively separate pupils into levels, especially when often being ‘successful’ in Japanese public school means memorising information while chronically sleep deprived.

Deci, E. L., Vallerand, R. J., Pelletier, L. G., & Ryan, R. M. (1991). Motivation and education: The self-determination perspective. Educational Psychologist, 26(3 & 4), 325-346.

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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