Beyond my "Shorter Kersten" tweets, I don't bother commenting on Katherine Kersten's column any more. Now that she's out from under the Strib wing, her work has become even more predictable — and repetitive, which is even worse.
She wrote two columns in recent weeks about the University of Minnesota's School of Education brainwashing students regarding diversity. Liberals, of course, have already gone over to the side of fighting white oppression and thinking about how different cultures view the world. Kersten doesn't think all teachers should have to be exposed to that claptrap, especially if such training might be required professionally.
Well, I'm decidedly liberal and equally not a professional teacher. I thought I'd share how I work with my preschoolers with only my liberal bias to lean on.
Yesterday, for example, I took five kids and we played Street TV, a game I invented in which the kids look out the window and find things to comment on.
For example, yesterday, we discussed snow removal techniques; buildings and their features that would present different challenges to Spiderman; and the various specialized cargos and uses of buses and trucks passing on Washington Avenue.
These four year olds participated in the diversity discussion at different levels, but for example, they were able to distinguish between food trucks, moving trucks and cable company trucks. We saw at least five distinct sizes of trucks with booms or cargo arms and talked about the different lifting jobs they performed. And they were able to tell me the difference between regular and extended city buses, out-of-town buses, school buses and "Bible study buses."
Another exercise in diversity came up while we were waiting for a tardy lunch to be delivered to the room. (All the kids were washed up and seated.) A teacher asked the kids what they thought was going to be on the menu. One kid said, "chicken noodle soup," which was a fairly educated guess.
I started a little chant that went: "Chicken noodle soup! Chicken noodle soup! I like chicken in my chicken noodle soup!" After the kids joined me, and we ran through it a few times, I changed chicken to noodle, and we ran through it twice more.
Then they started adding their own ingredients. The first, believe it or not, was broccoli, then carrots, peanuts, pizza and ice cream to increasing hilarity. When I suggested broth, they made a face. I could be wrong, but it might've been because it was the only item that did not fit the meter of the chant.
Lunch was turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, with apple sauce and... broccoli!
I hesitate to bring any politics into my discussion of what happens in the classroom with these kids. I don't want to suggest that conservatives and Republicans are not also at work in our shelters. They are and they are doing good work.
Anyone who thinks this work is about political ideology or brainwashing or limiting freedom seriously needs to spend a year with a bunch of these kids.