Professor Ball State: Changing the way history is taught leads to more teachers of color – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather forecast
MUNCIE, Indiana (WISH) — Dorshele Stewart is a rare gem in the education industry.
She is one of the few black female teachers to teach future educators. In three classes, she says there are only about seven black students seeking careers in education out of her nearly 60 students.
She says it’s actually more than she’s seen in the past.
“I don’t care what color you are [or] what race [you are], students look and ask, ‘are you me? Can I identify with you? said Stewart, an associate professor at Ball State University.
Stewart specializes in teaching social studies to future educators. She says having more open and culturally sensitive teachers in their curriculum will eventually lead to more people of color feeling inspired to become teachers.
“History class, social studies class can be very traumatic. Let me not say maybe they are. If the teacher talks about it and it’s in the textbook, it’s very, you know, sad, traumatic. And you feel at this moment [as a student] like everyone is watching you,” Stewart said.
Dr. Anand Marri, dean of Teachers College at Ball State, explains that part of this cultural response technique is being able to implement the values and experiences of diverse students in a classroom.
“If you’re going to do a math problem on a ski ticket [that] costs $200 and the ski boots are that… Me personally, I grew up in New York. As low income children, when do you go skiing? [It’s like], what is skiing? said Mary.
Marri says teaching prospective teachers how to fit into the “shared community” is part of the reason Ball State doubled the number of students of color seeking early childhood education degrees from 2017 to 2021. In fact, Ball State says students of color have increased significantly in many of their educational programs over the past three years.
Here are the statistics from the university:
- The percentage of students of color in our elementary BA/BS curriculum has increased from 8% in fall 2017 to 14% in fall 2021.
- The percentage of students of color in our MAEd. in education administration and supervision rose from 9% to 15% over the same period.
- The percentage of students of color in our Ed.D. in education administration and supervision increased from 13% to 18%.
- The percentage of students of color in our MA/MAEd. in secondary education increased from 17% to 33%.
- The percentage of students of color in our Ed.D./Ph.D. in special education rose from 0% to 22%.
Stewart says that as a black woman, part of her teaching technique is to allow herself to be vulnerable with future teachers and sometimes become the subject of the lesson.
“Let’s be brave. If we have to teach social studies, let’s do it,” she said.