|Ms. Sarah Hunter||
I was quite moved by this TedTalk presentation, particularly the implications it has in the realm of education. Here, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie warns of "how impressionable and vulnerable we are in the face of a story, particularly as children." When there's only one single story, one side of a story, or one element of a culture told in a story, the story is incomplete. From this singularity, stereotypes are born and, even worse, those stereotypes are perpetuated in the retelling of these single stories. The experiences of the reader and of the characters in the stories are flattened, the subjects whose stories have been reduced down to one single story are robbed of their dignity. In this way, there is "no possibility of a connection as human equals."
There are so many parallels between the dangers of a single story she warns us of and the effects this has on our students and our education system. For starters, the point she made of connecting as human equals. Our students represent a diverse population of cultures, identities and beliefs. Day after day, elements of this diversity are reduced to a single story due to lack of validation in the education system. For example, the latino student sitting in an English class reading literature that does not include them. What message are we sending to them about their culture, and to the other students in the class that aren't familiar with their culture? With entire stories being ignored or left out of the conversation, how can we expect our students to connect with each other and recognize the value of every relationship? As Chimamanda tells us, the single story emphasizes our differences rather than our similarities; an unfortunate truth that takes away so much opportunity for learning both inside and outside of school.
When I pause to evaluate how I have been influenced by the telling of single stories, I start to get a clear picture of the source of many biases I've inherited through this system. Thankfully, in today's community of connectivity, we all have the opportunity to research not just one but dozens of stories, broadening our cultural voices and deepening our understanding of cultures all over the world. As a teacher, I can help my students discover their ability to access stories that will open new doors.
If I wasn't determined to make my classroom a community where all students can feel safe to be themselves and grow and connect with their peers via open communication before, I most certainly am now. Not only is it our responsibility to reject the single story, it is part of our legacy to teach those around us to do the same.
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. "The Danger of a Single Story." YouTube. TED Talks, 7 Oct. 2009. Web. 5 Oct. 2015. <https://youtu.be/D9Ihs241zeg?list=PLbRLdW37G3oMquOaC-HeUIt6CWk-FzaGp>.