Writing by Punita Rice
Dr. Punita Rice is an education researcher whose area of expertise is South Asian Americans’ perceptions and experiences in K-12 environments, and a writer who examines culture, education, and motherhood. Her writing has been published in outlets such as The Baltimore Sun (print and online), The Establishment, Education Week Teacher, The Aerogram, Bullshit.ist, and other outlets across the nation and internet. Punita also maintains the ISAASE blog, and her own blog here at PunitaRice.com. Her writing focusing on the South Asian American student experience is framed in an examination of issues such as teacher cultural proficiency, connectedness to school, socioemotional support, executive functioning skills (and related supports), and the model minority myth, and touches education policy, cultural proficiency, and current social and political issues relevant to South Asian Americans.
Punita’s writing experience also includes having served as a visiting scholar at the High-Phi Epic Questions Institute at University of Virginia’s Department of Philosophy (funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant), serving as a research assistant at Loyola University Maryland’s Department of Literacy, and formerly chairing the Literacy Committee at Takoma Park Middle School. She has also taught writing and critical thinking in middle school Advanced Social Studies and Advanced English courses, and offered a creative writing program. Many years ago, she was also an award-winning journalist for her own high school’s newspaper. Today, Punita writes her blog on culture, education, and motherhood, maintains the ISAASE blog, and for outlets across the nation and internet. She is currently writing a book about South Asian American experiences in American schools.
The Establishment - The Problem with Apu is a Problem with America
Ahead of the release of Hari Kondabolu’s new documentary, “The Problem with Apu,” I wrote an essay for The Establishment on my own problems with the Simpsons’ character, how it created issues for so many South Asian Americans, and how it embodies two harmful stereotypes. Read More.
Education Week Teacher - Pronouncing Students' Names Correctly Should Be a Big Deal
An essay published in Education Week Teacher on the importance of pronouncing students’ names correctly. Essay includes a discussion of why many (including me) have pronounced their own names wrong, information about the ISAASE Name Pronunciation Guide, and actionable tips for teachers to improve their own pronunciation of student names. Read More.
The Baltimore Sun - Altered Travel Ban Reveals American to be a Cowardly, Bad Neighbor (Print)
An op-ed published in The Baltimore Sun (print edition) on the travel ban. On firefighters, good neighbors, and fading American values. Read More.
Baltimore Sun - Altered Travel Ban Reveals America to be a Cowardly, Bad Neighbor (Online Edition)
An op-ed published in The Baltimore Sun (online edition) on the travel ban. On firefighters, good neighbors, and fading American values. Read the article here.
The Aerogram - Why Research On South Asian American Students Matters
An article featured in The Aerogram on Why Research On South Asian American Students Matters. Read more.
The Aerogram - Teachers Don’t Know Much About South Asian American Students
Teachers don’t know much about South Asian American students. This brief article featured in The Aerogram highlights selected components of Dr. Rice’s research, which finds that teachers lack cultural proficiency as related to their South Asian American students. Note: Cultural proficiency as having cultural knowledge, personal and interpersonal awareness and sensitivities, and skills that enable teachers to effectively teach in multicultural environments. Read more.
ISAASE Blog - Pronouncing Names Correctly Is a Big Deal
The blog post about the importance of pronouncing names correctly. Includes the Name Pronunciation Guide, which provides an overview of the importance of pronouncing names correctly, with a breakdown of best practices and tips. Read more.
ISAASE Blog - The Myth of the Model Minority
A discussion of the Model Minority Myth, plus a discussion of why exactly it is so harmful. Includes an exploration into why in spite of being harmful, misleading, inaccurate, and outdated, it just doesn’t seem to go away. Read more.
Is Education Policy Broken?
I wrote about a “disconnect between our stated ideals and our practices” in education policy, over on Medium. Read more.
Bullshit.ist - How the Technological Singularity will Impact the World (according to seventh graders) + Lesson Plan
Bullshit.ist published “How the Technological Singularity will Impact the World (according to seventh graders),” which includes an overview of a lesson plan I used to implement with my seventh graders. The article is a look at the insights of my students, and the incredible and creative ways in which they imagine components of society might be impacted by future changes in technology. The discussion includes examples of how society’s political systems, cultures, geography and human settlement patterns, and economic systems might be impacted. Read more.
One-Sheets & PDFs
Fact Sheet for Teachers
A collection of basic facts and important things to know about South Asian American students, geared towards teachers and other education leaders, but can be shared with anyone. Includes an overview of who South Asian American students are, and data on their experiences in school and teacher cultural proficiency. Available as a PDF. Read More.
Tips for Teaching South Asian American Students
A one-sheet of quick tips for how teachers can support South Asian American students. Key recommendations: Recognize diversity, develop cultural competence, support all students, pronounce names correctly, acknowledge by celebrating, and establish an appropriate classroom climate. Available as a PDF. Read more.
Name Pronunciation Guide
The Name Pronunciation Guide is an overview of the importance of pronouncing names correctly, with a breakdown of best practices and tips. Great for teachers an educators. Includes a PDF. Read more.
ISAASE “Be Inspired” Interviews
The ISAASE “Be Inspired” Project (#ISAASEinspired) is aimed at featuring profiles of diverse South Asian American role models, and their stories of success, in order to inspire the next generation of young South Asian Americans. You can read the interviews at ISAASE.org/inspired, or learn more about some of the interviews here.
Links to Recent Interviews
Recent Interview Guests
Poet Pavana Reddy
Interview with poet and author of Rangoli, Pavana Reddy (“Mazadohta”)
Interview with musician and recording artist Lady Pista
Interview with a journalist
Interview with artist and creator of Gundi Studios
Interview with Crossover Basketball & Scholars Academy Director
Other Writing Projects
Punita’s blog (click here) includes posts about her area of research, as well as posts about career, motherhood, academia, teaching, culture, and more. The blog covers a broad range of lifestyle related topics, and includes interviews and profiles, as well as occasional posts and articles by guest writers and bloggers.
The Book (in development)
Dr. Rice is in the process of writing a book based on findings from her research through Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education. More information about this project, including a projected timeline for release, is available here. For for updates from Punita, please click here.