Friday, 20 May 2011

Race and Intelligence: Science's Last Taboo

If you haven't already seen this documentary it's worth checking out! It viewed on SBS 2 recently and parts are available on youtube.
In this documentary,  Race and Intelligence: Science's Last Taboo, Rageh Omaar sets out to find out the truth, meeting scientists who believe the research supports the view that races can be differentiated as well as those who vehemently oppose this view. By daring to ask the difficult questions, Omaar is able to explode the myths about race and IQ and reveal what he thinks are important lessons for society.

My Reflection:
Noel Pearson has a profound warning "Beware the soft bigotry of low expectations”. For me it begins when I plan my Literacy lessons...what do I really expect Indigenous students to be able to understand in each activity and is it at a high enough level for them? I constantly have to check to see if my activities 'dumbed down' or do they help every student engage their understandings, challenge them and give them opportunity to respond at a high level of understanding?
At this point we need to consider the cross-cultural difference in communicating these understandings, not cofuse them with intellect! While the Indigenous students may struggle to write to the same level of the Mainstream students, they are able to bring a high level of analysis and communication..we just need to allow for them to express it in their own way!

We watched this video in our Indigenous Education section as a reminder of how subtle it can be to draw a conclusion about other culture's abilities or understandings. We need to check ourselves - how do we subtly change the activities because of our expectations of the students? While it was a controversial release, it achieves an amazing result by getting us to ask ourselves the hard questions.

So the challenge is to keep the expectations for our students high and yet still allow for culturally appropriate forms in our assessment; otherwise we fundamentally prepare them for an unfair view of their intelligence!

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