For my final assignment in my current coursework, I have been asked to reflect on the experiences and work I have done and how it has changed me. During this course, I have learned much about my personal values and biases and how my comments can be unintentionally hurtful to those that I have not taken the time to get to know better. In our world of multiple cultures and values, it is never a good idea to assume that the people you are talking to share your beliefs. In interacting with peers through discussions pertaining to assignment, I learned much about different cultures and even some about my own culture and how people see things I value differently. Sometimes it is difficult for me to remember that there is a massive environment outside of the small town I inhabit and that issues and concerns are important there also. I was extremely surprised to find out that even though I consider myself a tactful person, I still have made comments in the past that could offend people.
In working to learn more about other cultures, I enjoyed reading the book, The Spirit Catches You When You Fall, that discussed the Hmong culture and a young girl that suffered from a debilitating disease. The struggle that her family faced in working with medical professionals during her illness, but trying to hold on to their cultural values was tragic and left me feeling that the doctors involved needed to reflect on their bedside manner with patients. My community is seeing an increase in the number of families from different cultures and it is important as an early childhood profession that I continue to learn as much as I can about each family and their background and culture in an effort to provide a positive learning environment for their child.
I feel that I connected and gained the most from the work that I did on working with children dealing with the trauma of poverty. I work with at-risk children every day and the information I have gained from my course project will be beneficial for understanding and working with families and their children that live a much different life that I am accustomed to living. I would like to further research families living in poverty and how it affects the children. There is so much research available and so many variable that can affect the way children respond to negative adversity and I want to learn as much as I can in order to give these children a solid foundation for learning and socialization. In gaining more insight into my topic, I hope to be able to raise awareness of the need for quality early childhood education for all children and advocate for more funding in my community so that children that live in poverty can gain necessary skills in order to enter Kindergarten ready to learn with their peers. I have been a long-term resident of my community so I can see the effects of generational poverty on families I have known all my life. I want to try to help my students become successful learners in order to be able to break the cycle of poverty.
Fadiman, A. (2012). The spirit catches you and you fall down: A Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.