The untaught skills of privilege

September 4, 2017

I just finished reading “What if there were no whites in South Africa?” by Ferial Haffajee. It is a fascinating book about identity, whiteness vs blackness and privilege. The book covers a lot of important themes and is a must read for all South Africans, but there is one paragraph that I want to highlight here.

In this paragraph she deals with the hidden skills of privilege, that kids in middle class homes get taught without even realising it. These are skills like which cutlery to use in a formal set up, how to make small talk, how to drive a car and how a computer works.

People often ask me if including technology in the classroom will not make the divide between, those who have and those who have not, bigger. I can not solve the world’s problems, I can not even solve the inequality in the county, but what I can do is make sure that every learner who leave my school are computer literate. Irrespective of their home circumstance or their parents position in life.

Up until last year it was common to have 2 learners in the same class, doing the same assignments, the one having 24 hour, unlimited internet access on a personal device, while the other have never in their life accessed the internet.

Now at least I can say that soon every leaner in our school will have internet access while on the school grounds. That every learner will know how to search for information, format a document and sent a email by the time they leave school.

This might not help them to know which fork to use for the fish-course, but at least they will know how to google it.

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