Change movements are filled with people who made decisions to interrupt the Cycle of Socialization and the System of Oppression.
What is the Cycle of Socialization?
“The Cycle of Socialization” is the process by which we “get systematic training in how to be each of our social identities throughout our lives.” (Harro 2004, revised 2008).
We are socialized by our families, our institutions, and our culture. Oftentimes, we are unaware that we have even been socialized – especially if we have power and agency and the system is benefitting us.
The Cycle of Socialization leads to the marginalization of some groups and the acceptance of this system by the more dominant groups. As a white, upper-middle-class Jewish woman with a Master’s Degree from New York, USA, I have benefitted greatly from this system throughout my life in terms of the opportunities that have been afforded to me.
See the diagram below for a closer look at the Cycle of Socialization:
The Cycle of Socialization. Source: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Harros-1997-Cycle-of-Socialization_fig2_330336577/download
Thoughts on the Cycle of Socialization:
I love this quote from Tanay Naik, Secondary School Deputy Principal at UNIS Hanoi, from his article posted in the most recent issue of TIE online. He said:
“The reality is that for the most part, our current systems and structures do little to create an environment where active and open questioning can happen. Those who have the courage to do so are oftentimes met with repercussions or their questions fall into the abyss, unaddressed by a power structure that isn’t designed for marginalized educators.”
Systems of oppression change when people are open ably to share ideas and talk about what they are noticing. However, many of us shy away from these difficult discussions – out of fear, apathy, and/or complacency. In order to grow and evolve as a society, we need to be more willing to take risks and speak up no matter how uncomfortable we may feel.
For COETAIL this week, we were asked to share our thoughts on the Cycle of Socialization using Flipgrid. Flipgrid is an amazing tool for collaboration, as it allows multiple voices and perspectives to be heard.
Here is the link to the community discussion board on the “Cycle of Socialization reading. You can also find the QR code below:
QR Code: Flipgrid Community Discussion Board on the Cycle of Socialization reading and its implications for classroom teaching.
Here are my thoughts on the “Cycle of Socialization” reading:
We did a text rendering protocol and chose 1 word, phrase, and sentence from the “Cycle of Socialization” article that stood out to us. The word I chose was “awareness”, the phrase I chose was “silence is consent”, and the sentence I chose is the one at the top of this page “Change movements are filled with…”
After we shared our responses in the text rendering protocol, we listened to other’s responses and reflected on what our peers had said.
Reflecting on the Process:
I found the process to be quite natural, as I have used Flipgrid extensively in my classroom over the past few years. It’s a great tool for getting EAL students to speak (and to track their progress in speaking over the course of a semester).
I like how Flipgrid ensures equal air time for everybody. One voice can’t dominate a conversation, because everyone has a chance to be seen and to share. In that regard, Flipgrid can help amplify marginalized voices, and allow for those who are often in the shadows to step out and share their perspectives.
I will continue to use Flipgrid with my students in the future. Our understanding of concepts is strengthened when we have the opportunity to talk, uninterrupted, about what we are learning. And, of course, our knowledge grows when we are able to listen to other’s thoughts on a topic as well.
As an EAL teacher, I work with students who are often marginalized from the mainstream. Their voices are not heard as much as the voices of other students (especially in their content area classes). My task is to help them develop the self-advocacy tools and skills to speak up for themselves and ask for what they need. I want them to feel confident, and comfortable sharing their ideas.
I also want them to know that their home languages and cultures are valued. In international schools, English proficiency is highly valued. So are Western cultural norms. Many schools have diversity and inclusion statements. If these statements are to be lived (and not just lip service), then our institutions need to be much more explicit about honoring where students come from.
I am heartened by the increased awareness among educators around DEIJ issues in the wake of the #MeToo Movement and the George Floyd #blacklivesmatter Protests. I am hopeful that, in the next few years, we will see meaningful and long-awaited changes in our schools’ practices.
I’ll end with a quote by the radical activist and author, Paolo Friere, whose seminal book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed“, made quite an impression on me when I read it as a college student. Those of us who are educators would be wise to keep his words in mind as we go about our daily business.
Quote by Paolo Friere. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/292945150736962020/
Question for the reader: How do you advocate and agitate for systemic change in your community?