Summary of Tom Tidler's playground by Matt Spurlin

by Yiselperez on November 14, 2016 - 9:29am


Tom Tidler's Playground: A Public Curriculum of White Privilege
By Matt Spurlin
Article Summary Template
Abstract What is the Purpose of the study?
It analyses white privilege as " public curriculum",
 The purpose of the study is to analyze how public learning experiences influence "teacher educators and future teachers" to create a teaching atmosphere that bases itself on equity.
To be aware of white privilege, for whites to acknowledge their unearned privilege.
The study also investigates that what children learn outside of school influence what they learn in school.
Introduction What is the main hypothesis?
The researcher believes that the public curriculum has a great impact on children.
He thinks that because children are constantly learning " learning skills, values, sociocultural political lessons about class, gender, and social power", especially through play, it is important to analyze the public curriculum.
He thinks that experiences are filled with racist "microaggressions" that may or may not be intentional but have the same repercussions either way.
Children are not colorblind therefore, they make associations with each "race".
Methods Who are the Participants (subjects)?
What are the variables (what were they interested in)?
The research uses critical race methodology ( is a method of discomfort for a "white researcher")which has five main points:
1. Critical race methodology puts the concept of race and racism in an important place, it always keeps it in mind.
2. It is different from traditional research paradigms
3. It gives a transformative solution to different ways of subordination, such as race
4.  It put an emphasis on everyday life's experiences that involve race, gender, and social class.
5. It uses an integrative knowledge grounds.
Children if a suburban area in Denver, Colorado.
Adults ( the children's parents, a White male, a Asian female, two Hispanic women)
Adults ( Security guards who were all white, three Hispanic janitors)
Results What are the main findings?
At the suburban mall's playground in Denver, Colorado he noticed a white security guard, and three Hispanic janitors cleaning a playground.
Later, he observed children's behavior while they were playing a game called Tom Tidler's ground at the to of a playing structure.
A white girl and her brother were a the top a playing structure.
The white girl at the top, was telling the other children what do to, they were all non-whites.
They were all trying to climb up but she did not let them. To stop a Hispanic girl from climbing up, the white girl kicked her in the face.
Parents did not intervene, except for this Asian mom.
He noticed that for the game they were playing there could be only one winner and in order to win the other kids must lose.
Discussion What is/are the authors’ conclusions?
He concludes that public curriculum like this shape people mind's for they are always learning.
He realized that society works just like Tom Tidler's ground game.
White people are automatically Tom Tidler in this society. The have white privilege. The "losers" are the minorities, which is problematic.
He concludes, that white people do not notice that they have privilege and do not do anything about it because it is perceived as normal
 The researcher thinks that as an educator and a social role model, people should study, in a public way, their privilege that is often hidden.
He concludes that this way, the curriculum of humanity will be educative to people in schools and outside schools.
He concludes that what we learn through experience has the ability to "oppress and empower" 
Educators have the ability help their students through the process of transforming society, for it is not possible to do it alone.
References Write the APA reference
 Spurlin, M. (2015). TOM TIDLER’S PLAYGROUND. Curriculum & Teaching Dialogue, 17(1/2), 63-76. 
Summary of
Tom Tidler's Playground: A Public Curriculum of White Privilege
By Matt Spurlin
Matt Spurlin's (2015) study examined the fact that public curriculum shapes actual and future educators so that they can to create a teaching atmosphere that bases itself on equity. It also studies the way that white privilege can be acknowledged through every day life experiences. The researcher, Matt Spurlin believes that the public curriculum has a great impact on children and that is why it is important to analyze it. As a method of research, he uses critical race methodology which he thinks might cause discomfort for him because he is white. He studied children (and some adults) at a predominantly white suburban mall in Denver, Colorado. He focused on the children's playground First, he observed that the authority figure who stopped the playtime for a little while (security guard),  was white. Then, observed that the janitors were all Hispanic. Later, when the playtime continued, he observed that children from multiple ethnicities were present. He noticed that white girl and her brother were playing "king of the hill" or "Tom Tidler's ground" on the top a structure. Spurlin realized that only one can be the winner and in order to win, the rest must loose. As more children joined, he observed that they were all non-white and that the white girl was giving instructions and not allowing the others to climb up. The game became violent when the white girl kicked a Hispanic girl in the face when the latter was trying to climb up. The parents did not intervene, except for this Asian mother that "dissolved" the game. After this observation, Spulin came to the conclusion that society can be compared to the playground and racism can be compared to the game "Tom Tidler's ground" were all whites were automatically Tom Tidler (white privilege), and that to win, others must lose (other "races" do not have those privileges, therefore, they are "loosing". At the end of observation, Matt Spurling realizes that, he, as an educator and role model must continue studying, in a public way, their privilege that is often hidden and also, helping his students transform society.
Response to article
Personally, I find Matt Spulin's "Tom Tidler's Playground" very relevant and it describes very well the way that society functions today. The fact that he focuses on public pedagogy, I find important because racism is learned and in order to educate children about it, one must examine it through the everyday life. I think that the example of the "Tom Tidler's ground" game related to the society of today. The thing that the article lacked is a more profound conclusion of the observation he made. I personally think that he could have made more objective and specific assumptions that the ones that he made (as teachers, people should transform society through education). Also, it would have been great if he included the definition of racism as well. Overall, it was a very informative article that is relatable with what is happening nowadays and the example of that children's game was accurate.
Spurlin, M. (2015). TOM TIDLER’S PLAYGROUND. Curriculum & Teaching Dialogue, 17(1/2), 63-76. 

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