When teachers successfully incorporate texts and pedagogical strategies that are culturally and linguistically responsive, they have been able to increase student efficacy, motivation, and academic achievement (Lee, 2001; Ladson-Billings, 1994).
Look For: Go Deeper: Learning Lakota For a high school on South Dakota's Rosebud Reservation, culturally responsive curriculum is proving a hefty antidote to the violence, poverty and growing cultural disconnect hindering student success.
Reflect On: Ready Resources: Foster's Reading List (PDF) Find great books with the searchable database from the Center for Cultural Fluency Find additional resources using Multicultural Resource Matrix from Cal State Monterey Bay Honoring Home Languages Teachers are often a young immigrant's first regular, ongoing contact with someone outside their home community and culture. ISBN-10: 0205443257, ISBN-13: 978-0205443253 Mythtakes - Working With Racially and Ethnically Diverse Students This professional development activity examines common beliefs that help and hinder work with racially and ethnically diverse students.
Often, when we stand before our classrooms, the faces looking back at us do not look like our own.
Many of us try to bridge this difference with an embrace of color-blindness or the Golden Rule, treating others the way we would want to be treated. Culture isn't just a list of holidays or shared recipes, religious traditions, or language; it is a lived experience unique to each individual.
Educators also need to learn more about sociolinguistics both in teacher preparation programs and in ongoing professional development.
Developing this kind of knowledge may help to avoid linguistic racism or language marginalization (Delpit & Kilgour Dowdy, 2003; Gee, 1996; Gutierrez, Asato, Pachco, Moll, Olsen, Horng, Ruiz, Garcia, & Mc Carty, 2002; Perry & Delpit, 1998; Smitherman, 1999) Socially responsive and responsible teaching and learning requires an anthropologically and ethnographically informed teaching stance; teachers and teacher educators must be introduced to and routinely use the tools of practitioner/teacher research in order to ask difficult questions about their practice.
"A bunch of teachers here, they think they know what's wrong with us. If people want to help us, they have to see what we've been through, not from what their own experiences tell them." – Billie, a Lakota teen speaking of the teachers at her high school Most of us in the education profession are white, middle-class, monolingual-English speakers.
Increasingly, the same profile does not hold true for our students.
Overcoming Stereotypes To engage students effectively in the learning process, teachers must know their students and their academic abilities individually, rather than relying on racial or ethnic stereotypes or prior experience with other students of similar backgrounds.
Many teachers, for example, admire the perceived academic prowess and motivation of Asian American students and fail to recognize how even a "positive" stereotype isn't positive if it presses students into molds not built for them individually.
Accordingly, we will first briefly enumerate our eight principles and then follow with a more detailed discussion about and expansion of each principle, particularly in terms of what each means for literacy and literacy education classrooms.