Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 4/Student Soapbox

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Foundations Chapter 4 Student Soap Box

Walk into almost any school cafeteria and self-segregation is apparent. Students, by and large, sit with other students whom they perceive to be like themelves (racially, culturally, economically etc.). Why is this? What can we as educators do to promote more integration? Or, isn't it our place to do so?


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Why is it always Us vs Them?[edit | edit source]

Every school cafeteria I have been in lately has the students sitting with their own class. Een Middle School has the students sit within their own class groups. I am not sure if it is the educators position to promote more integration. I think that teachers can change seats in the classroom so that everyone sits with someone different every few months so all the students in the class get to know each other. They can encourage different groups to form for projects.Jnemo001 (talk) 02:48, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Ldomm002 (talk) 02:18, 19 July 2009 (UTC) This doesn't just happen at school, this happens everywhere! You can go into the "real world" and observe the same thing happening. People sit by their friends in the adult world as well. I definitely wouldn't spend too much time worrying about who is sitting by who in the cafeteria at lunchtime! It's the student's time to relax and basically free time to talk with friends. "Self-segregation" isn't the word I would choose to describe the dynamic that happens. "Segregation" seems too strong of a word to me. Social groups sounds a little better.

When it comes to socialization, the cafeteria can be the place where students come together and enjoy each other's company. In the school system that I work in I have observed the same students sitting together at the same table everyday. The students feel comfortable being together because of the friendships they have made. Should teachers try to integrate when it comes to the cafeteria setting? No, because if students want an outsider in the group then they will make the first move to include that student. I put myself in this situation and I like to sit with people I feel comfortable with; not strangers because that would be out of my comfort zone. But on the other hand, if I was to sit with strangers I could get to know them and they could get to know me.Msmhobbs04 (talk) 15:06, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Students are naturally going to gravitate towards those that both look like them and have the same background. While I do believe a teacher is supposed to help limit segregation and teach tolerance, I do not believe that the cafeteria is the best place to start. When the students are at lunch, it is a time to escape some of the stress that comes at school. When they can spend that time with people with similar traits it will help ease the other stresses of school life. Let the teachers work on inclusion during education, not during the "down times". That will come with time. Jtmitchem (talk) 17:44, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

I feel children feel comfortable being around other children that are similar to them. When I was observing at a local elementary school I noticed everyday that children were gravitating towards children who were like them. I feel it is a difficult situations to try to diversify your students or any children for that matter. Children are born into a familyv they become familiar with and once in school I feel they navigate towards individuals who are like them. I think teachers are not going to be able to lesson the time children spend with others they feel a bond to but teachers can encourage children to step outside of their comfort zone. Teachers can assign seats and set up group projects for the children. I feel I will do a good amount of interaction anf group work with my students. Diversifying the class is an effective way for a teachers students to feel comfortable around each other. Lwill031 (talk) 21:10, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

I believe that children tend to gravitate toward others who are like themselves for many reasons. This is very apparent in school because there is such a diverse population and it is noticeable when children stray away from those who are different in some way. I think comfort plays a large role in this. When children find others who are similar to themselves in many ways, they feel comfortable with someone who shares the same interests, family size/style, etc. I don't think that it is until children reach a certain level of maturity (which differs for everyone) that they can branch out of their comfort zone and meet others not so much like themselves. I think we as educators play a critical role in helping develop this maturity in our students and showing them that although there may be outward differences in appearance, gender, family, race, etc. we all share so many things. It is a true accomplishment for a teacher or parent to see the child act in a way that shows he/she understands this. When children branch out, meet new people not like themselves and enjoy it, we have achieved yet another part of the education of life skills. Khedl002 (talk) 15:10, 12 July 2009 (UTC)khedl002

The school cafeteria can be considered one of education's great social experiments. In the elementary school cafeteria where I spend most of my time, teachers use different methods to their madness when seating students at the lunch table. Children in the primary grades (K-2), including Pre-K & Headstart, are often seated randomly with trouble makers near the teacher. When they exit the service line, children most often alternate sitting on each side of the table. Children in the elementary grades (3-5) are usually seated in a specific manner. Third grade teachers seat boys on one side, girls on the other. Fourth grade teachers have assigned seats for every student to deter behavior problems between specific chidlren. The fifth graders are also seated with boys and girls on separate sides of the table. Strangely enough, though "seated" in a specific way, students manage to group themselves based on social status and race. This natural grouping (after the teacher selected grouping) is not a problem for teachers. Lunch is one of the few times a child can socialize freely and decompress with others. Acrow005 (talk) 19:03, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

This is going to happen in virtually any social setting. It's psychologically and socially natural to seek out someone who represents inherit likenesses to yourself and seek bonding or conversing. It is not really in our place to discourage this, but I think a teacher could definitely deconstruct student's apprehension by assigning group projects and sorting people into project groups accordingly, i.e. diversify the groups. Hsmit022 (talk) 19:11, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

It is definitely true that self-segregation happens. I believe that people will always have other students/people that they migrate to and feel comfortable with just by nature. Due to personalities, similar backgrounds, and just being able to relate to certain people. I am not sure that I believe that as teachers we should interfere with social groups. But I do think that it is crucial to teacher our students to value individual differences and to teach them how to work together effectively while encouraging each other. Cooperative learning is a excellent way to allow students to work together in structed groups toward a common goal. This helps to build friendships, enhance self-esteem, and to better communication skills. Aferg006 (talk) 03:50, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

People have and probably always will sit with people who they are comfortable with whether it is because of their race, culture, weight, interests, etc. There are many different reasons people are attracted to certain people/groups. I would not think it is our place to interfere with the students and the groups or people they hang out with. I would say as educators it is our duty to introduce students to a wide variety of ethnicities, cultures, world experiences, different age groups...etc. I believe having the students understand that whole world around them makes for a better individual. This could be done in the classroom through assigned groups especially if there are many students who may have com efrom different places or experienced many different things. Sston008 (talk) 20:03, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

It is true that when you walking into most school cafeterias, self-segregation is apparent. Students will sit with other students who are like themselves. For example, white students will sit with other white students, African-American will sit with other African American students. Jocks will sit with jocks, cheerleaders and with cheerleaders, etc. I think this is becaust students find safety and security in being around similar individuals. By surrounding themselves with similar invidivuals they are staying in their comfort zone. As educators, I do believe that a responsibility we have to is to promote more integration. I always think of the movie "Remember the Titans" as a great example of how Denzel Washington promoted racial integration in his football team. In the classroom, we can integrate students through teams, projects, group work, etc. I know must students hate assigned seating, but maybe for the first couple of weeks or months students can sit with others who are different culturally, racially or eocnomically. I think this is the first step educators can take to promote more integration. Afett001 (talk) 17:58, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

As long as I was in school, there were always social groups that stuck with each other. By that definition, I suppose it could be called segregation. However, do we not all associate with individuals who have similar likes and dislikes? We are compatible in that way according to our interests. My bigger concern about schools is that we are not creating an entire student body that comes together as a community. We do not spend enough time fostering communities of learners in our classrooms. It is a moral necessity to teach children to respect one another, regardless of their differences or backgrounds. We also have a more pressing issue to eliminate bullying. This begins in each classroom, with each teacher, creating an environment that breeds mutual understanding and respect. Also, expectations for our students should explain we will not accept any type of disrespect or humiliation to others. Birds of a feather will always flock together. They just do not have the right to hurt other students emotionally or physically. Abitt002 (talk) 18:18, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

School lunch rooms will always be slightly "segregated". It is human nature to want to be around other people like ourselves; it makes us feel safe and at ease. That is not to say that these students will only ever talk to those people. Through out their days they will come in contact with all other different students who are very different from them. I do not think it is the teachers' place to try to force social integration. When I was a sophomore in high school, some teachers planned a day where we were all supposed to sit at different lunch tables with different people. It went smoothly at first, but eventually everyone migrated back to their close friends at their usual table. It wasn't a bad idea- it just didn't work. I think that it is unnecessary for teachers to try to force social integration because it will only make the students uncomfortable. Sbutl016 (talk) 03:47, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

The laws of chemistry hold true in the lunch room like attracts like so oil will repel water. This should not be the case in the cafeteria, but the truth is that we are attracted to what we are familiar with. Until school we spend most of our time around family. Unlike the formal setting in a classroom the cafeteria, or play ground give a choice to be with those we are most comfortable with , those most like family. Mlipl001 (talk) 19:45, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't think that we should interfere with segregating lunch. The students already are when they are in the classroom. We need to let them have time to breath! I have always firmly believed in not pushing too hard because what you generally want to happen doesn't; just the opposite happens. I think this would really get under students skin and would make matters harder for us and them. There will be other life changing events that will lead to students interacting with other social groups. We need to let them learn and socialize on their own. I know that I would hate it if I was a student and told who I had to sit with at lunch. I always looked at lunch as a time to talk to my friends and relax. Hcomb003 (talk) 14:08, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Schools have gone through many changes over the past centuries but one thing that has not changed is self-segregation. Cliques are always located in some part of the cafeteria or parts of the school, and based on my experiences, few people would leave their own clique to interact with another. It could be that students and people in general are more comfortable with people who share the same interest as them. Another possibility is that they are hesitant to approach other students out fear of their reputation, or being rejected. Some could even argue that children are under the influence of subtle segregation by their teachers, administrators, parents and community. In any case, self-segregation is very apparent and if educators are going to teach in a diverse classroom, they must integrate their students first. One time I did observation in an elementary school; there was a day or week where students were encouraged to sit with their peers that they normally did not eat lunch with. It was a national program to promote diversity among students and discontinue self-segregation. I did not stay for lunch to see if students were actually sitting with others besides their friends, but I always thought it was as meaningful and practical as NCLB. In other words, it was a good idea with better intentions, but was less likely to follow through in most cafeterias.

I think the main problem with self-segregation is that children are very impressionable; once they see something, it is embedded in their head. If they discover that they love sports but hate to read, they could spend the rest of their school years with students involved with sports and distance themselves from the students involved in literature and drama. They may appear to be nice people, but that first impression in elementary school is still impacting them up to college. Students could stop self-segregation by not putting labels and facades on their peers. How can this be accomplished? In the digital age- social networking. I admit that it is unorthodox and perhaps even a bit shallow, but I have realized how people tend interact with other people they may not talk to in the hallway, but are very social with on the Internet. In a time where children and young adults are constantly communicating through the Internet, it is a possible solution to self-segregation in schools. Teachers could hold online discussions among their students, where students are encouraged to talk with students they may not talk to. After several online meetings, students could physically talk to other students. Regardless of what they do, teachers should not force their students to interact with others. Not only does it make self-segregation more evident, but children never understand the meaning of diversity. Adart001 (talk) 17:33, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Students are normally assigned areas where they are to sit in the cafeteria during elementary years. As a result, there is not much self-segregation during elementary school. However, that is not to say that elementary school children are not searching for their place in the world. I think it is more about having friends to play with no matter what the race, cultural background, or economic background they come from. During middle school and high school, students are looking for a place to fit in and be accepted. Whether it comes from parents, peers, or society, students are directly and indirectly taught to be proud of their heritage and to embrace their heritage. During middle school and high school, students are usually given free reign of where they would like to sit in the cafeteria. Children are very impressionable all throughout their education. As of result of "trying to fit in" clicks begin to form, self-segregation happens, and students will gravitate to areas where they feel more comfortable. I am not sure if there is anyway to integrate everyone until we stop putting an emphasis on race and culture and start putting an emphasis on skill, talent, and attitude of a human being as a whole person. Another problem with trying to integrate at the school level is going up against what children are taught in the home. The student will be more likely to follow the teachings from home.Scarlett1 (talk) 22:29, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Is it really our place, as teachers, to stop the self-segregation of kids? I suppose it is good to have kids learn about and from each other, especially their differences. However, self-segregation is just something that happens, not only among children but also among adults. People of like-mind and similar to each other want to be near each other and are drawn to each other as friends. There is nothing wrong with this as long as children (and adults) are not prejudice towards people different than they are. If this isn't taking place I see no reason for children to not make their own friends. Hcogg001 (talk) 00:30, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Segregation among humans is normal. Most of us gravitate towards people whom we have common interest with, the same happens in schools primarily because of physical appearances. In fact in school is where we develop this concept of segregation. I don’t think that everyone should be in the same crowed, that probably would not be normal. I think that schools should not worry so much about segregation but more about discrimination within the student body. Certain students gravitate towards others because it is easier to be with people that you relate, that understand you, who do not judge, and with whom topics, likes and dislikes are more common. The only thing I think that it is important for teachers to do is to form group activities in which, students who have differences should be forced to work together. This way they would at least interact in the classroom and get to know their peers. I believe that physical appearances are a big cause of segregations in schools. I used a uniform the entire time I was in school and I firmly believe that if uniforms were mandatory in schools the level of segregation would be minimal. Yes there will always be different groups of students that will always gravitate to each other more than others, but by making everyone look the same or better yet by eliminating the “casual style” of our students I believe that they will be forced to at least get to know their classmates before making a judgments of whether or not they get along with a particular classmate. It is important for schools to take action and at least try to teach students how to become a community and not just individuals going to class with each other on a daily basis.Bpenn005 (talk) 00:34, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

I do not think that the lunch table is the appropriate time for us to make students socialize with each other. Inevitably someone will end up getting upset and the difficulties will end up in the classroom after lunch. I do think that they need to show respect towards each other and not be rude, but the lunch time is a time to enjoy your lunch and converse with people that you choose to converse with. In my experiences in observation, the kids do all interact with each other at lunch but some like to sit next to their friends and in every school that I have observed I found eating with the class was a great treat and the students loved it!!! Jnewh001 (talk) 15:30, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

As educators, we have attempted to combine all races, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds in our classrooms. As for who each child chooses to sit with or play with is not our place. They should be where they are most comfortable, and as studies would suggest it's obvious people tend to gravitate toward people just like themselves. It's not our place to over analyze of over speculate, if it's not causing problems than leave it. We can choose to educate our students on differences among people, but beyond that it's up to them to accept or deny who they want to be with. Rpaige (talk) 17:50, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Self segregation is very common. In high school especially, students wish to fit in and feel that they belong. The most obvious way for them to accomplish that task is to surround themselves with people who are visibly similar to themselves. This is not necessarily a negative thing, however as educators, it is our job to show kids the other things they have in common with each other that are more than just skin deep. A teacher can help students understand more about themselves and thus other through learning and so become interlinked to the diverse student body around them.Scrai010 (talk) 23:49, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

I think this is merely a habit of human beings. We’re all the heroes of our own sagas and this effects us all as people. Essentially, we identify with those we perceive to be like us, or want to be like. It is unrealistic to assume that students would go against this basic instinct and mingle amongst every group evenly. It’s just not what we do. Sure, there are those few chance relationships and friendships that blossom amongst people who are totally and completely different, but these usually require a level of maturity and open-mindedness, and not to mention luck, to truly be successful. All of these things are rare even in adults and to expect such behavior of students just seems unrealistic. Of course we as educators should do our best to improve our students as people, hopefully making them more tolerant, understanding, and more interesting by inspiring them to interact with those outside their particular social circle. The best approach to this to me seems to be merely educating them and highlighting the awesomeness of various social and ethnic groups. For example get the nerds to teach the jocks about videogames while the jocks teach the nerds about un-hooking bras and pumping iron to look pretty. Such incentives could, feasibly, inspire students to seek out knowledge from different tribes within the school and hopefully as adults, within the world. BitterAsianMan (talk) 04:31, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

I believe it has been scientifically proven, or at least theorized, that we as humans tend to migrate and feel more comfortable with things that are homogeneous to ourselves. Therefore, I feel that many students will acclimate to other students that are like themselves in regards to race, culture, personality and interests because they feel more comfortable with a common ground or basis to go off of. Also, I feel many students would prefer to be like others who are similar to themselves because they may get along with these students better because they have preconceived notions about those students. As teachers, I feel it is important to promote diversity so the students can get along and feel comfortable with other students unlike them, and also can be exposed to what their job and future academic environments may be like. As a teacher I feel that implementing different weeks dedicated to different cultures, ethnicity, or races is a great way to open awareness to each individual's background allowing the other students to become more familiar with their backgrounds as well. I do not believe that teachers should just sit by and not let anything take place, I believe that promoting diversity and desegregating students in informal situations as well as formal is very important for a student's learning environment. Rburt005 (talk) 05:00, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

I do not feel that kids should be forced to be together on their own free time. In the classroom, however, it is a good idea to have group assignments where kids that don't normally hang out together work on projects together. This not only facilitates introductions, it creates a cooperative learning experience. Sciaston (talk) 18:12, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

It is human nature to feel comfortable around people that are similar to you in different aspects. Nevertheless, children during their developmental years will acclimate to fellow students similar to them. Now, it is a good idea as instructors to develop a way in class that everyone can work together, forming an inclusive environment. It is not only necessary to do, but beneficial for the ever-changing social world.Ehern004 (talk) 21:09, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Self-integration does happen. Even children recognize similarities and differences among themselves. I think that during lunch and free-time, students should be able to choose what group they wish to be around. However, the teacher can help promote integration by arranging the students desks in a way that they will be sitting with different students or organize group assignments by putting together students that are culturally, socially, racially and academically different. Alucy001 (talk) 15:06, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Birds of the same feather flock together. It is human nature to for someone to fellowship with someone else who is most like his or herself. For each and every person to blindly and exclusively following this principle, however, is not in the best interest of society. While it is okay to spend a lot of your time with people like you, it is good for one to push onself to spend time with people who are not like them. And yet students naturally tend to form various clicks and groups, which are readily manifest in the setting of a public school. One thing teachers and educators can do is look for ways to encourage students to improve in their social diversity inside and outside the context of being at school. Mbrowder (talk) 00:54, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

I think that even though the segregation rules are not enforced like they were in the past it is still apparent that it is happening. Whether it be on purpose or on accident it still alive and well. I think that for some students it might be a comforting thing to be with people that remind you of being at home. I'm not really sure why it is happening. I'm also not sure if anyone knows why it is happening. I know that when i was in middle school and high school I sat with a group of people at the same table everyday. It wasn't because we had to it was because it was where we ended up the first day of school. I think its just something that happens in the lives of our students. Rcoll029 (talk) 03:33, 10 August 2009 (UTC)