Deficit Thinking and Diversity Today

I believe that whoever is interested in analyzing the “dominant culture group” should read what Weiner (2006) has to say in “Challenging Deficit Thinking”. There is no bad connotation in being part of the dominant culture, but there is negativity connected to the bureaucracy that the dominant schooling culture imposes on teaching which, in turn, affects learning in a negative way for those not part of the dominant culture. Weiner says that even though this started only in urban schools, where the multicultural dynamic started, it already is a problem in non-urban places because of the rapid influx of cultures coming in with the ease of travel and communication.

In Munchen, Germany, they are currently tackling their own problem with the deficit paradigm resulting form the influx of Arabs and the Muslim culture due to not only immigration and displacement as a result of war, but to interest in culture, medical care, education and the workforce benefits they offer. They believe that mandatory tolerance is the best way to tackle the problem head-on rather than starting small and evaluating how it goes.

In my experience, American teachers who teach outside of the US actively perpetuate their dominance by stamping their approval or disapproval on the language spoken around them. Some of them punish students who even communicate in their own language in their presence at all, even out of class time minutes – this has actually been my experience as a student taught by an American and non-American teachers. Many disregard accents because they agree that in some situations it cannot be helped as accented speech could be the whole usage of the language within the country. Within the US, however, anything that needs to be “stamped” falls under authority which chooses to allow it or disallow it, so it is definitely their conscious or sub-conscious perpetuation of internal dominant culture. I believe we need to reach level 4 because it feels like it is a maintenance level that would allow us to fine-tune what we did in the previous levels as well as prepare for new things to tackle by keeping us alert and closest to the best results possible.

Weiner, L. (2006). Challenging Deficit Thinking. Teaching to Student Strengths, 64(1), 42-45. Retrieved July 7, 2017, from

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