“Look at us. Running around, always rushed, always late. I guess that’s why they call it the human race.”

This week, I read from an educational volume published in 1886.  The title of the book was A History of Education by F. V. N. Painter, A. M.  The book opened with a comparison: relating man to a tree.  I was thoroughly enjoying the opening of this book (you know, because I’m a sucker for similes and metaphors).

I began to read about how education helps to ensure that we are properly fit for the duties of life and a worthy destiny.  The book described the end of education as ‘completing human development’. I assumed that this process of human development was common for the entire human race as an educated society.  In fact, in the book, it was mentioned that education itself has existed among all nations and that is, in some form, as old as the human race.  Throughout time, I feel that we are constantly learning and thus, this fact stuck out to me as true.

As I read on, it was then mentioned that Asia was the birthplace of the human race.  As I continued to read on about education in China and India in the late 1880s, it soon became apparent to me that the teaching styles in oriental countries were quite different than that of the Western culture that I’ve grown to know.  (Of course, this volume is more than 100 years old and thus, education has obviously changed quite a lot since the book was published.)

However, with information on the history of oriental education on my lap, my definition of race and racialization began to change.

I had always thought that one’s race was defined by their biological makeup, but I soon came to realize (and agree with what I had read in this article on race) that “race is a social invention”.  This is what I think is meant by the fact that teachers are being taught to think in ‘racial terms’.  By focusing on social history, social events, and social change, I believe that I can become a better teacher.


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