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The notion of globalization has been identified as being one of the major dynamics of change in the 21st century. Though its reality is doubted amongst many circles, primarily due to people being apprehensive of its affects on human interactions, the response to globalization have consequently been mixed in the halls of academia. The apprehension seen is perceived to be a measure of the fear that economic and political livelihoods of millions of workers may be threatened. It could be perceived that the leading industrialized European nations in which exercise inordinate control and influence over the worlds standards may feel threatened by the implications of a world order. Some however, would benefit greatly and welcome globalization as a concept of change that would inevitably lead to greater human interaction and interdependence. Devotees to the idea anticipate a predicted emergence of a global civilization-"a discrete world order with shared values, processes and structures" (Cohen, Robin, 2001). Thus, globalization forecasts a world economy with greater international migration that will eventually cause the disappearance of "permanent settlement and the exclusive adoption of the citizenship of a destination country" (Cohen, Robin, 2001).
Historically, colonial establishments have produced a culture of alienation amongst people on the lower end of the social strata that has been derived from the deliberate use of education as a weapon of mass domination. The use of this pedagogy over time has led to the demise of political authority and has created a strong distrust of dominant education at large by the general minority student population. In addition, it inspired calls for incorporating new curriculum and pedagogy to combat and counter the systematic ideology of urban education. History has shown that when oppressed and subordinated groups become inspired to improve their condition they often seek to enhance their condition through the creation of better pedagogy. In the United States a prevailing body of thought in Black Studies has been asking for the intellectual recognition and cultural legitimacy of the historical and cultural heritage of Blacks (Hine, Darlene Clark. 1986; Meier, August and Rudwick, Elliott. 1986, Hall, Perry A., 1999). The emergence of intellectual tradition in both the United States and Africa have served to correct the misconceptions of a dominant tradition, and assisted in movement toward creating a body of knowledge that can more accurately depict and represent the historical experiences of indigenous people.
Paulo Freire gives a detailed description of a situation in which oppressed people often end up adopting values and strategies of their oppressor, becoming themselves oppressors or sub-oppressors for the purpose of being accepted by the dominate society. Though they may not be completely aware of their domination, "their perception of themselves as opposites of their oppressor does not yet signify engagement in a struggle to overcome the contradiction; the one pole aspires not to liberation, but to identification with its opposite pole." (Freire, Paulo, 2000). In America, there was a strong movement by the culturally astute members of the minority population to create a pedagogy that would reject the logic of the oppressor. Unfortunately, this movement has done little more than to affirm what Freire hypothesized in his work. The problem with this kind of identification is the fact that it is born out of alienation. It is a futile attempt to disown the hegemonic practices of the current education system. In reality what has developed is pedagogy heavily dependent on race.
Why do inequities exist? What are their origins? Why do they persist in the current paradigm? These are important questions to answer before making attempts to propose any solution. Are educational initiatives aimed at equity and multicultural awareness simply attempts at making amends for things that are in essentially broken in the first place? Are multicultural educational initiatives, ideological attempts to lead students toward a better more evolved understanding of the broad based hodgepodge which characterizes humanity? Does it give a deeper credence to the purpose of education or simply remedy the situation on an ad-hoc basis as opposed to getting to the root of problems? There is interest in addressing and changing the status quo contributing to the propagation of injustice in the world within the framework of education. However, simply proposing a theoretical solution without fully understanding the real issues to begin with, is both problematic and wishful thinking. Some positions presented about the origins of inequity and injustices within educational and societal mechanisms, need to be addressed first by educators before proposing any global framework for multiculturalism through globalization.
The idea of globalization has a requirement that people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds will need to come to terms with radically new interactions and complexities of the human experience an awareness that could only be advanced through the use of institutional practices which de-emphasize the idea of race and ethnic exclusivity. Race emphasizes dichotomy, conflict and negative historical encounters; often elevating those negative encounters into absolute constructs of human encounters (e.g., black-white as absolute and incompatible), thereby foreclosing possibilities of discovering and appreciating commonalities. Globalization has overtime revealed its fair share of problems. Generally, there is concern over economic implications of globalization because oftentimes these concerns are expressed through violent reactions. There is a dominating concern over status of wealthy nations, and multi-nationals, in respect to maintaining their advantaged position of superiority in respect to that of smaller and weaker nations. Speculations to the idea that the perception of globalization as a vehicle for Eurocentric cultural hegemony could be skewed as a catch phrase to emphasize 'unequal encounters'. But the discoveries entail positive elements that would facilitate understanding and appreciation cross-cultural barriers as well as provide an interactive nature of the human experience that should result in the acquisition of better knowledge of each other, and greater appreciation for each other. There is no doubt that many of the atrocities and manifestations of 'man's inhumanity to man' that currently influence human encounters, may likely be used to facilitate greater mutual appreciation and respect amongst humanity. The adoption of a race-based pedagogy would only impose unnecessary limits on the possibility of participating actively in, and benefiting from, the expansive parameters of human encounters.
In seeking to influence institutional change it is impeccably important to address the condition from which the need for change has arisen. The United States indoctrinated in 1776 was colonized by a group of individuals who expressed a belief that it was necessary to have civil liberties from a totalitarian form of government (such as they felt was being imposed upon them by the British Colonial powers.) After the Revolutionary War, there was an invigorating air about the country because the people inherently believed that they had the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as was ascribed by the forefathers of this country in the United States Constitution. Although this was a luxury that was to be shared by the land owners at the time, it energized people to institute revolutionary change in society for the sole purpose of creating a shift from the old British colonial paradigm to what has become, in ideology, the new American paradigm.
The second wave of that shift came during the time of the Great Depression. Whereas America was always perceived as the land of opportunity, it was even more so during this time, because this depression marked the shift of the economic prosperity of the entire nation. Although the depression had huge impacts on the total social welfare of the nation, certain areas of the country remained very much unaffected by the shift based on their impendent cultural consciousness. Whereas the reporting of this aspect of the great depression is widely overlooked, there was a section of the United States population that found their condition unchanged relative to that of the majority population. The United States has always been divided amongst the general population. The primary basis for this division was greed, envy, and overall jealousy. Whether this is innate or learned warrants no difference because the outcome of such action is usually the same. The outcome is division whether it is by economics, by segregation, labor, politics, and education. The division is a systematic disregard for humanity. This is a problem because "politicians on the extreme right trade in their beliefs so that the writers on intelligence and 'cognitive abilities' would have you believe that there is something in our genes that determine significant differences in intellectual, sporting and criminal behavior(Gillborn,David. 2008)." In the United States, the effects of race are pandemic. Race consciousness and racism are so deeply rooted in this society that "In the US, for example, any physical marker of African American ancestry is usually taken as sufficient to identify a person as 'Black'; that same person, however, could board a flight to Brazil and, on disembarking, would find that they were viewed very differently by most Brazilians because the conventional categories in that society are markedly different to the 'commonsense' assumptions in North America (Gillborn,David. 2008)." Never was this more so seen than in education. From the pivotal Brown versus Board of Education case that led to the desegregation of schools to the "No Child Left Behind" legislature there has been systematic and inherent racism in the school system.
Ever since the decision in the Brown versus the Board of Education case rendered by the Supreme Court, America has been working to improve the diversity problem in America's school systems. This decision set in place an idea that should have improved educational equality for all American citizens. The idea was that through equal educational opportunities, citizens should be able to obtain equal status in society. But as Geneva Gay states in a quote by James Patterson, "The complicated issues that Brown tried to resolve in 1954 still torment Americans half a century later" (Gay, Geneva 2004).
The promise of the Brown versus the Board of Education case was to improve educational conditions and job opportunities for African Americans at the time. "It is uncertain whether the Supreme Court meant its decision to be limited to the physical relocation of human bodies to achieve desegregation, or to imply that the mere presence of African Americans and European Americans in the same schools was sufficient to accomplish equal educational opportunities" (Gay, Geneva 2004). What ensued after the decision was a rash of violent interactions as African American students were bused from their school districts to all white schools. The goal of the decision was to improve the conditions that African American students went to school in, but inevitably they were made worst.
Although the physical violence of school integration is over, a larger more pertinent issue has failed to be addressed. The "major oversight in the Brown decision was the failure to address curriculum and instruction" (Gay, Geneva 2004). Curriculum and Instruction is the very foundation through which ideas and principle are passed down from generation to generation. It is commonly known that the ideas and perceptions of the parents are usually passed down to their progeny. This idea is also true in education.
The American Education system was developed from the middle-class European American lifestyle. The idea behind this system, as with all systems of education, is to instruct their children in how to perform in their society. Vacca refers to this system of education as a 'monoculture,' "a culture that is rooted in European American beliefs, standards, and values" (Vacca, Richard & Vacca, JoAnne, 2007). The problem with this system is that it does not reflect the values, standards and beliefs of people who are not representing the European ethnic group. Students representing other ethnic groups usually find themselves disenfranchised because they do not represent the culture that they are being instructed in. Often the expectation, as taught to teachers upon entering the school system, to instruct these students in how to perform in this European American system of education. This often causes these students to lose their cultural identity.
It is thought that "the changing demographics of the U.S. population which had always been multicultural but was becoming even more so, seemed to make a compelling case for a more inclusive curriculum" (Rothenberg, Paula 2007). What was developed was a system of pacification. Students of diverse ethnic backgrounds often find remnants of their culture instituted into various events; e.g. cultural days, using rap in the classroom, ethnic foods in the cafeteria, etc. The fundamental problem with this approach is that it does not address what the students are being taught and how it is being taught to them. If everything being taught is based on "the narrowly white, male, Eurocentric, privileged perspective," then how can a person who happens not to represent that description find connection to the material that is being taught to them (Rothenberg, Paula 2007).
A student's ability to connect and relate to instruction material is based on the cultural context to which that material is addressing. Can that particular student activate prior knowledge based on his or her cultural background? It is important for an instructor to understand that all information disseminated in classroom instruction should be delivered in a way sensitive to the cultural needs of the students and "keep in mind the cultures that relate to socioeconomic status" (Vacca & Vacca, 2007). It is important to understand the effects of socioeconomic status, because of the huge increase of students entering the school system from a low socioeconomic background. "Many school districts nationwide are experiencing rapid growth in the number of students of color, culturally and linguistically diverse students, and students from low-income families" (Howard, Gary 2007).
The largest population of diverse students is represented by low income families. Students who represent this population can be from any ethnic background. Though they represent different cultural contexts, these students tend to have striking similarities. These students often live in inadequate housing. They often do not have adequate utilities. And can sometimes suffer from malnutrition. Working with students under these parameters is often a challenged. They do not understand the middle-class European American lifestyle, and they are often distracted from learning because of their unfulfilled basic needs. As schools work to fulfill some of these basic needs, they are now faced with an even more pressing challenge. The challenge instituted by the implementation of President Bush's No Child Left Behind policy.
The No Child Left Behind "legislation requires states to test all pupils in grades three to eight and to identify schools as 'in need of improvement' if students in certain subgroups (racial minority, economic level, English fluency, and special education) do not either reach minimum standards or show improvement over time" (Boser, Ulrich 2003). Because of this new legislation, schools are now being targeted to improve their education standards. "While states have long targeted low-performing urban schools for improvement, suburban schools with high overall test scores and pockets of racial and economic diversity are only now coming under the reform microscope" (Boser, Ulrich 2003). This legislation is another attempt by the federal government to correct the learning ambiguities found in the education system.
The idea that racism is something that all people in society inevitably learn by simply living in a racist society is a profound testament of why it is so embedded in the education system (King, Hollins, & Hayman, 1997; McIntosh, 1989; Tatum, 1992). It challenges on the most precious of sense the democratic ideals espoused about the equitability of access to opportunity as well as posing as a formidable challenger to idea of promoting systemic change within that environment. The problem lies within the culture itself. The American tradition is predicated on one's ability to exude the criminal mentality. This is evidence by the promotion of the family member of bootleggers, mafia, and drug lords to public office. Alongside the development of RICO laws that punish people not already affiliated with these families from doing the same thing. The social promotion of the American 'bad boy' is an inherent problem because it leads to the high incarceration rates of people who find themselves on the lower end of the social strata. Education plays into this because the educational curriculum never fully addresses the social, political, and cultural concerns of the ethnic minority. Growing up and attending an inner-city school in Charlotte, North Carolina, much can be said about this. Never was it taught in school about the accomplishments of the Native Americans ( e.g. Geronimo, Sitting Bull, etc.). Nor were the accomplishments of other races given the same attention to detail regarding the advancements of Caucasian Americans (e.g. Jewish, Italian, Irish, Polish, Hungarian, German, Roman, Greek, etc.). Furthermore it has been shown that if a "teacher believes a student's intellectual potential is low, research shows that the teacher will "teach down" to the estimated level" (Chunn, Eva Wells 1988). This is a two-fold problem. First the student develops a lack of interest in the material because of a pivotal lack of connection, then the student is looked down upon because of this lack of interest and then subjugated to inferior teaching because the teacher feel that the student lacks the ability to learn on the same level as the other students of the class. Asa Hilliard postulates that students subjected to this form of education generally suffer from a misrepresentation and misestimation of (1) intellectual potential (the consequence of which - mislabeling, misplacement, and mistreatment of children - are enormous); (2) learned abilities or achievement in academic subjects such as reading' and (3) language abilities (Hilliard, Asa Grant, 1983, 1991).
While attacking racism from a system-wide approach is the current trend in the New York and Los Angeles public school systems, it is not of concern here. The primary area of focus for the undertaking of systematic approach to change will be in the field of Technology Education. Racism is pandemic in society, but Racism itself was not created over night. Racism has a long and drawn out development of which its origins are unknown. What is known is that the idea of fixing the problem will not happen overnight as well. A systematic approach must be taken to rid the education system of racism and all of the other 'isms' that exist within its hallowed halls. For the duration of this paper the primary focus will be placed on Technology Education for practicality.
Technology currently is, and will continue to be, the lead driving factor in the future of the global economy. Economies of the world are finding greater improvement because technology and commercialization have help to increase the growth potential of country and by improving the financial sustainability of these countries. Primary examples of this can be seen in the economic developments of countries like China and Japan. Japan, a country which had two major cities completely obliterated in the Second World War, became an economic powerhouse in an approximant 40 year turn around. The economic viability of their products is such that countries like the United States have implemented policies whereas incentives will be given to individuals who will by products of made in the United States. China has a very similar story. China recently was involved in a governmental collapse. After the governmental restructuring and the opening of international borders, China has now entered the world stage as the country to watch, the 'sleeping dragon' as has been reported on the mass media networks.
With technology being a key indicator in the support and development of an economy, it is necessary and equally important to control how the information as it relates to technology is disseminated. Education is tantamount to the social and economic prosperity of a nation because educational background is a key determining factor in the securing and maintaining of jobs, and most certainly in determining the level of economic welfare experienced by the members of the society. This is evident in the case of the United States because one source of new technology initiatives is the search for increased economic efficiency and a sincere desire to reduce the cost that the society has to pay for the availability of goods. The purpose of the technology initiatives is to improve the use of available natural resources and to increase or alter the supply of the available resources which should improve the overall economic wellbeing of the population.
With companies like Microsoft, Diamer, Sony, Nike, Conagra, etc. all gaining multinational status, it is necessary in the 21st century classroom to teach students how to perform on a world market. The time of isolation is a distant memory in the current economic markets. It is understood if not over-stood that it is almost impossible to go anywhere in the world and not find a Coca Cola product, it is important to note that the success of these multinational organization has now made America a primary benefactor. American educators now have to provide instruction that will prepare students to compete in this new global economy. While the general education systems is presenting itself as a donkey in regards to the changes necessary to meet this need, the Technology Education discipline has made monumental provision for greater educational opportunity. Technology Education needs only to rid itself of certain ideological practices to improve the overall performances of all nationalities in its programs.
Technology Education in theory seems to be less of a preemptive tool for the spread of racism; it too still finds its ugly face rearing its head in the discipline. Racism in Technology Education finds it roots in the doctrine. It is because the doctrine leaves out much technological advancement that was made by people of color. Although it can be presumed that the nature justification for this is that the advancement of the field was primarily done in Europe and America, it ignores the very foundation that the whole of technological advancement was not done in isolation. Examples of this can be seen in the surgical practices of the Egyptians and the Kenyans. Or Peter Schmidt's and Donald Avery's, of Brown University in Rhode Island, findings that Africans along the lakes of Tanzania and Uganda were smelting steel 1500 years ago (Van Sertima, Ivan. 1992). It also ignores the fact that not only were they smelting steel, they were achieving the process in a single stage because their blast furnaces were producing temperatures 200 degrees higher than any machine that was smelting steel in Europe until the late nineteenth century(Van Sertima, Ivan. 1992). The curriculum blatantly ignores the fact that in order to achieve this significant process, there had to be schools of learning in Africa that was the building block for such development. Moving forward, the discipline does not place people in their rightful position in the field of technological advancement, which explains why they are not taught. Examples of this can be seen through people like Benjamin Bannekar, Lewis Temple, Norbert Rillieux, Jan Matzeliger, Granville Woods, Sarah Breedlove, Garrett Morgan, Percy Julian, Lewis Lattimer, Elijah McKoy, Mae Jamison, etc. These people not only paved the way for the advancement of others, but also contributed volumes to the current technological condition. It is taught that Lewis Oppenheimer worked to develop the atomic bomb, but what is glossed over is the fact that he was working with a team of more than 200 scientists whose names are only now being acknowledge.
While traditionally the way that Technology Education is taught, lauds in comparison to the damage done by fields like Science, English, and History. Racism is still deeply rooted in the curriculum because it does not teach about the advancements to the field by other people. Yes, Technology Education is the only field that can tout that it was started by a woman, but where is the promotion of the advancements of women to the field being taught in the curriculum? Why is, this fact seemingly glossed over in the curriculum? This is an example of why women may be detracted from the field due to sexism. It is necessary for students to see themselves in a curriculum to find value in such curriculum. This is why a systematic approach to the alleviating the condition must be considered.
The primary foundation to this approach is based on the critical race theory of which no practical application has arisen in the public sector. Because the effects of racism, sexism, classism, etc, are systemic, they must be addressed from the top down. It is necessary to reorganize what is taught in Technology, Engineering, and Technology Education classes on the collegiate level. The reason this needs to happen is because what is taught on the collegiate level is eventually passed down to the public sector of society. This is also important because the future film makers and designers will be equipped to know how racism is further perpetuated through the media and could possible do something to circumvent it. It is also important, as according to Marilyn Cochran-Smith, for educators to take the
"position that it is part of our responsibility as teachers and teacher educators to struggle along with others in order to unlearn racism, and to interrogate the racist assumptions that may be deeply embedded in our own courses and curricula, and address our own complicity in maintaining existing systems of privilege and oppression, while grappling with our own failures to produce the kinds of changes we advocate" (2000).
She postulates that it is imperative that teachers in this society unlearn the ideological principles used to maintain the status quo in society. By doing this, it will allow for increased opportunities to arise for the underprivileged of society.
By teaching a curriculum driven at enhancing the overall schema of technological advancement by all culture, increased interest in the field of Technology Education will proportionally rise. Students will have a greater understanding of the legacy that their culture contributed to society there by creating a sense of purpose and moral character in the student. This enrichment will eventually lead to a sense of value in the student who will then be more interested in the subject matter being disseminated in the classroom environment. The students will also be more proactive about exhibiting greater moral character in the class.
The second phase that educators must take, that is more difficult than the first phase, is to work to rid themselves of potential social 'isms' that they themselves my carry into the classroom. This application is difficult because the educator must first address current and embedding beliefs and values that he or she brings into the classroom. Examples of this can range from a Caucasian teacher looking down upon people with darker toned skin and assessing them as inferior that of people of his own skin pigmentation, to a male science teacher dismissing a female students lack of understanding of a topic as typical to the gender. From an administrative standpoint, administrators can address some of these issues that may be embedded in their faculty by having anti-isms seminars/symposiums. The administration can highlight events where 'ism' have been brought into a situation and provide the faculty with resources and strategies that can help in combating these actions in the classroom/school environment. The Administration can promote cultural awareness programs in the school that will increase not only the faculties' understanding of their students but will also impact the students' understanding of themselves.
Other activities that the administration of schools can carry out are to develop and promote programs that highlight cultural aspects of the different people who are represented in the general population of the school. By doing this it will educate the parents of the students of the cultural difference represented in the school that should allow the parents of these students to make informed decision about how to interact with the school. This will also improve the relations that the students themselves have with other students as they see their parents embracing new ideas.
As technology brings benefits and prosperity to its users, it also carries with it the potential to leave others behind and create new class disparities. Although technology is highly publicized as a viable solution to help alleviate some severe hardships, it also has the potential to create real economic disparities between and within the developed and under-develop worlds. Those not willing or able to retrain and adapt to new business opportunities may fall further behind. Not to mention, given the current economic crisis the world is facing, poor populations in developing countries generally find little economic incentive to drive the acquisition of new technology artifacts or skills.
This creates an economic opportunity for first world countries like the United States to increase spending in areas like Technology Education for the purposes of generating teachers to can go to these under-developed nation as primary educators to the worlds innovations. It could be asked, why would the United States want to spend tax dollars to educate teachers who will go to educate other nations? The answer is purely economic. The economy of the United States is primary sustained by its ability to trade its products on the world stage. By creating diplomatic ties with these under-developed nations and sending educators from the United States to help these nations improve their understanding of the new and emerging technologies, it could produce a greater interest in the acquisition of new technologies from companies whose headquarters resides in the United States. This equates to greater financial returns for these companies which will require more investment in the manufacture of the products requested. This creates more jobs for people to gain employment, possible in the United States with the right legislation, which will increase the economic viability of members of the home population.
This benefits the under-developed nations as well, because these nations will acquire information as to how to use technology to better serve the needs of the general population. They will have people how have a working knowledge of these systems living in the country to help the administrators of that country transition the country to new systems. It will allow for the countries current production systems to be enhances so that products can be produced with greater accuracy and efficiency. This will lower the cost of production and reduce waste which can be used to create greater economic viability in the country.
In conclusion, for Technology Education to re-emerge on the world stage as a strong entity it is important that the 'isms,' be address by systematic change. The system should encourage that an agreement be form amongst the administrative staff, faculty, and community. Active participation by University education systems, to better equip new teachers with current and relevant information that will allow the new teacher to be able to connect the material to the student population that the new teacher will be instructing, should be a high priority. As these new instructors move into administrative positions, these new administrators should continue to promote environments where the expression of cultural differences is safe and inviting. The administrative staff should facilitate the proliferation of materials that will enhance the knowledge of the public about diversity issues. Technology Educators of the 21st century need to produce prodigy that will be able to enter the global markets prepared to enhanced the global economies. They should be able to go anywhere on the planet and be able to perform with a high quality of success. To achieve this, it is important that the technology education programs of today be revamped to meet the challenges and promote the social wellbeing of all races and creeds to allow for greater acceptance globally.