Quick practicum tip: avoid profiling students in your classroom

I can’t believe how fast time flies. I am now half way into my third practicum  – which began in September as a pilot project. Interestingly, my practicum schools have all be located near busy downtown Toronto. That means, you are bound to teach students from all sorts of social locations.

In an academic setting, we all have preconceived notions of what a “strong” student looks like. If educators are profiling students based on their “looks”, they are in for a surprise. Students will be flying under the radar: academic strengths that go undetected from students profiled as no likely to be academically strong and education gaps that go undetected from students deemed to look “like they get it”.

Papers are published about underrepresented populations all the time, and certain racial groups are always categorized as groups under-served in education. Not every classroom we teach in is like the papers we read. We shouldn’t categorize our current students by race and ability which would alter our attitudes towards them.

Go into practicum believing each student can be motivated and give students an opportunity to make an impression on you before you decide for them!

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