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Volume 6, Number 2

Volume 6 (2010), Number 2

Table of Contents

Article

Preservice Teachers' Preconceptions about Multicultural Concepts: An Ethnographic Case Study

Author

Rosario I. Herrada
Dept. of Didactics and Educational Organization
University of Murcia
Campus del Espinardo s/n, 37100 Murcia (Spain)

Abstract

The economic and social progress achieved in European countries has led to the arrival of immigrants from other countries in search of new opportunities. As a consequence of this migration process there has been a sharp increase in foreign students in European schools, which have in turn become multicultural spaces. Spain is one of the countries where this augment has been more significant, which has involved an important change in the way of thinking of Spanish society. In particular, recent sociological studies show that part of the society defends the priority of nationals to access the school places available. This paper emphasizes the importance of preparing preservice teachers to cope with multicultural contexts and presents an ethnographic study on how a group of preservice teachers at a Spanish university handle multicultural concepts: culture, race, ethnicity, racism, and xenophobia. The results show that these preservice teachers problematize these concepts, and that some are aware of their own prejudices and stereotyped views and attempt to overcome them.

Keywords: Initial teacher training; multiculturality; preconceptions; ethnography.

Article

"DO-TALK-DO": An Alternative Approach to Inquiry

Author

Desiree Heyns
Highlands, TX

Abstract

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) believes all students, including English Language Learners (ELL) can and should have every opportunity to learn and succeed in science. It is important that educators with the responsibility of teaching science in classrooms with ELL students be well versed in science content and pedagogy, and also skilled in pedagogical approaches for integrating language acquisition and science learning. Data-gathering and problem identification are key components of scientific inquiry. This paper provides a comprehensive look how teachers can use instructional strategies that simultaneously promote science learning and English proficiency for ELL students. Science inquiry begins with strategies teachers can use for eliciting good inquiry questions. In an effort to provide ELL students with equitable learning opportunities, a simple investigation, "Dancing Raisins", is described. An effective three step approach to hands-on learning applied in classrooms throughout the Houston Independent School District is provided in detail.

Key words: Science inquiry, Hands-on learning, English language learners

Article

Reaching and Teaching All Learners: An Integration of the Tenets of Culturally Relevant Teaching and the ENGAGING Framework

Authors

Karrie A. Jones
Tapestry High School
Buffalo, NY

Jennifer L. Jones
Emmet Belknap Middle School
Lockport, NY

Paul J. Vermette
Niagara University
Niagara University, NY

Abstract

Since the publication of her 1994 text The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children, Gloria Ladson-Billings' thesis of culturally relevant teaching (CRT) has stood as a pertinent framework for reaching diverse learners. Now in its second edition, her guidelines continue to provide insight into the effect that culturally responsive best practices can have on the academic success of African American and minority students. Implementation of these culturally relevant teaching tenets however stands to be a formidable challenge for many K-12 teachers (Wortham & Contreras, 2002). This is where consideration of Ladson-Billings tenets in light of a practical framework for "engaging" all students in learning is necessary. Vermette (2009) sets forth eight keys for fostering academic engagement in learners. They are grounded in research of educational best practice and provide the means by which Ladson-Billings' tenets can be accomplished. By integrating the two frameworks, a research based structure for reaching and teaching all learners is presented, as well as a case study to facilitate its application into the classroom.

Keywords: Culturally Relevant Teaching, Diversity, Best Practices

Article

Silence as Participation: the Case of Japanese Students

Author

Masako Kato
Tokyo Japan

Abstract

This preliminary study attempts to understand how Japanese ESL students deal with 'silence' in the American classroom. Are they silent? If so, why are they silent? Do they try to break the silence? How do they try to do so? Based on data from a questionnaire answered by thirty Japanese students from one American university, this study reveals that silence can be interpreted as a legitimate form of classroom participation. This study complicates previous explanations of Japanese students' silence, which have interpreted silence either as culturally defined or as created in classroom interactions. While it talks about the influence of culture, this study will ask what it means to be silent and to participate, highlighting students' classroom experience.

Article

Urban Schools and Mathematics: Math Practices in Schools that serve Students of Color

Author

Lisa Kirtman
Associate Professor
Department of Elementary and Bilingual Education
California State University, Fullerton

Abstract

African American and Hispanic children are still consistently behind in the area of mathematics. Given the importance of mathematics in later success, research must focus on these populations. Recent studies suggest that practices have changed and improved in classrooms. This paper explores whether these changes have occurred in classrooms that serve students of color. The results suggest that although some changes have occurred in these urban classrooms, these classrooms look more like the classrooms of 20 years ago than research would lead one to believe. In addition, this paper looks at the how teachers' work impacts these changes.

Key Words: Urban School, Mathematics, At Risk students

Article

Selecting ELL Textbooks: A Content Analysis of Ethnicity Depicted in Illustrations and Writing

Author

Jeffrey LaBelle

Abstract

In an effort to respond to the need for culturally appropriate English Language Learning (ELL) resources for adolescent immigrants, the researchers gathered 64 textbooks actually in use in eight Milwaukee middle schools to analyze their content for the range of diversity of ethnicity depicted in illustrations and written text. The eight school settings selected provided a broad range of materials to analyze. In addition, these materials reflect both public and Catholic teachers' resource selection in predominantly Latino and Southeast Asian American classroom contexts. The settings were chosen with the advice of administrators and teachers as schools they perceived to be of greatest need for ELL curriculum and instruction development. Based upon their findings, the researchers draw some initial conclusions and recommendations for the selection of culturally appropriate textbooks that fit the cultural contexts of the learners. Finally, the study provides as appendices the bibliography of textbooks under analysis and sample coding instruments used to analyze the content of these textbooks.

Article

Competing Language Ideologies in a Latino Family Literacy Project

Authors

Dr. Clarena Larrotta Texas State, San Marcos

Dr. Jesse S. Gainer Texas State, San Marcos

Abstract

This qualitative research study explores answers to the question: What are the language ideologies affecting the involvement of Latina/o parents, specifically the parents participating in an after-school family literacy project? The focus is on Latina/o language ideologies, the values that they assign to languages, language varieties, and language users. Data sources were: conversations, parents' reflective journals and surveys, interviews, and field notes. A family literacy project was implemented at two schools with 39 Latino Spanish speaking parents. Parent participants expressed their challenges and language ideologies trying to equip their children with the language of the home (Spanish) and the language of the school (English) so that these languages were not competing one against the other or subtracting from the other. Findings are presented through three themes: The structure of schooling privileges English over Spanish; Parents feeling disconnected; and English is the door to success.

 

Key words: Language ideologies, Latina/o parental involvement, School-home connection, Family literacy

Article

Remembering the First Time I Felt Different: Reflections from Graduate Students

Authors

E. Othelia Lee
Associate Professor
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Department of Social Work

Charu Stokes, MSW Ph.D.
Boston College Graduate School of Social Work

Abstract

This study examines the efficacy of an innovative in-class writing exercise developed for Diversity and Cross Cultural Issues course with 139 graduate students. By applying the Grounded Theory approach of qualitative design, this paper explores how understanding a student's first experience of feeling different is crucial for relating to multicultural themes such as gender stereotypes, racial minorities, and social class. The most common incidents students described included their perception that their appearance was undesirable and that they felt discriminated against based on their difference in their gender and race. Findings also suggest that when students are given the opportunity to explore their own perspectives, multicultural competency and empathy towards others is enhanced through their own self-awareness and experiential learning. Implications of applying this exercise in a higher education course are discussed.

Keywords: Multicultural education, Cultural competency, Diversity, Difference

Article

Teachers' Perceptions of their Cultural Competencies: An Investigation into the Relationships among Teacher Characteristics and Cultural Competence

Authors

Lindsay Leighton
Graduate Student, Mount Saint Vincent University

Dr. Mary Jane Harkins
Assistant Professor, Mount Saint Vincent University

Abstract

This study explored the relationships between teacher characteristics and cultural competencies of teachers. Participants were 120 teachers enrolled in graduate courses in a university in Eastern Canada. They completed a survey, designed for this study entitled Teachers' Perceptions of their Cultural Competence, and a demographic survey. Teachers were divided into groups based on the following teacher characteristics: gender; highest degree obtained; teaching experience; school level; discipline area; courses with a cultural competency focus completed; and professional development workshops with a cultural competency focus completed. Teacher characteristics were compared to the following three different types of cultural competencies: awareness, knowledge, and skills. Findings indicated significant differences among the different types of cultural competencies when compared with teacher characteristics and main effects of gender, school level and workshops. Also, it was determined that school level and workshops accounted for most of the variance in overall total cultural competency scores and in the skills competency scores. Recommendations and suggested areas for future research are provided.

Key words: cultural competence, teachers' perceptions, teacher workshops

Article

NCATE Standard Four: Rural Teachers Leading the Way

Authors

Jane Carol Manner, Ed.D
East Carolina University

Diane Rodriguez, Ph.D
East Carolina University

Kristin Davis, B. M
East Carolina University

Abstract

The need to prepare teacher candidates for successful practice with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) students has been well documented, as the demographics of student populations in K-12 classrooms have changed substantially over recent years. Teacher Education programs are necessarily modifying their curricula to respond to this growing need. This paper describes a project designed to take that effort a step further than mere curriculum revision. NCATE Standard Four contributes and indicates the overall competencies that affect learning experiences of CLD Learners. Project Leading Exceptional Annual Progress (LEAP) represents a robust intervention implemented by one teacher education unit to impact both the clinical setting and the teacher education curriculum for candidates, associated with a comprehensive and ongoing assessment process. This paper will highlight the projects current findings from research devoted to examining the influence of teaching CLD learners in rural settings.

Article

The House of Wisdom: Empowering Images of the Library Experience in Multicultural Children's Literature

Author

Suzanne S. Monroe, Ph.D.
Professor of Reading & Early Childhood
Division of Education
West Texas A & M University

Abstract

Exploration of children's literature featuring contemporary and historical images of libraries as settings for empowering diversity and influencing reading attitudes and behaviors. Featured selections focus on personal, family, community and international library experiences and events. Representation includes protagonists of racial, ethnic and language diversity. Images are included of both women and men as librarians, and both girls and boys are featured as library patrons. These publications, representing a variety of genre, provide empowering images and positive messages about the love of reading, specifically within the context of the library community.

Key Words: empowerment, diversity, libraries, librarians, patrons, multicultural literature


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