Volume 8, Number 2 (2012)
Table of Contents
Improving Cultural Competence by Teaching Multicultural Education
Author Dr. Christopher Donoghue
Montclair State University
Dr. David Brandwein
Abstract Rising ethnic and racial diversity in schools has continually led to calls for multicultural education and higher levels of cultural competence among teachers. In this study, a multicultural education program is tested for its effects on the self-perceived cultural intelligence of the teachers delivering it in the classrooms. The cultural intelligence scale (CQ) was used to measure the cultural competence of 32 teachers at three points in time over a twelve month period, during which they carried out a multicultural education program. The results indicate that cognitive, motivational and behavioral cultural intelligence was enhanced during the study period. Broader applications are needed to determine the likelihood of success in other settings.
KEYWORDS: Cultural Intelligence, Teachers, Culturally Responsive Teaching
Are Feature Films an Effective Teaching Tool for Sensitizing Students to Human Rights Issues?
Author Dr. Benicia D'Sa
Bergen Community College
Feature films are thought to be an effective tool for achieving certain educational goals. Both the National Council for Social Studies and the ERIC Clearing House for Social Studies Education have promoted books and articles on how to effectively integrate film into social studies lessons. As well as providing information about various historical events and periods, films are thought to be effective tools for sensitizing students to issues of cultural diversity, equity, and fairness. This article reviews the literature on the use of films for instruction purposes particularly as films relate to influencing social and political attitudes. Then, a study of the effects of the film Norma Rae on preservice teachers’ attitudes and actions regarding labor rights is shared. The research question addressed was: Can the viewing of a high-quality film involving labor rights issues influence preservice teachers’ attitudes and actions regarding current labor issues?
As teacher educators, we often believe that our classes are changing the way students think and act regarding important social issues. While films may increase students’ knowledge on a subject, we may be incorrectly assuming that their attitudes and actions are changing as well. While some researchers have found evidence of changes in attitude and actions after viewing a film we contend that there are probably many factors that need to be examined before assuming that this will generally occur in a classroom setting. This study contradicts the assertions of our esteemed colleagues who have encouraged the wide use of films in educational settings.
Child Abuse versus Ethnic Medicine: The 2002 Cao Gio Case, the Politics of School Intervention, and Implications for Culturally Responsive Practice
Dr. Rachel Endo
In 2002, ten Southeast Asian American children attending a public elementary school in Nebraska were removed from their homes and placed into state custody after their teachers saw bruises on their bodies. The school and state suspected that child abuse occurred when the markings resulted from an ethnic-medicinal practice known as cao gio or coining. In this article, I link the implications of this specific case to culturally responsive practice by focusing on how child-abuse allegations against refugees of color create significant ethical dilemmas for K-12 teachers who are tasked to follow rigid reporting guidelines under the laws while concurrently honoring the practices of diverse families. Specifically to be discussed is how the unequal dynamics of class, language, and race significantly disadvantaged the families under investigation. I end by addressing implications for how teachers might re-envision culturally responsive practice in ways that interrogates biased intervention practices and top-down notions of professional expertise.
Key words: Asian Americans, child abuse, culturally responsive practice, and refugee families
Reclaiming Language, Culture, and Hope in a Mexican Indigenous School Community
Dr. Alejandra Favela
Lewis & Clark College
This presentation focuses on research conducted in a Mexican indigenous community. This area has considerable biological and historical significance as the birthplace of the original maize teosintle, and as home to one of the last Nahua communities in the area with direct links to the ancient Aztecs. Although Nahuas comprise the largest indigenous population in Mexico, their language is severely endangered, and in many communities only a handful of speakers remain. The bilingual/bicultural program highlighted in this study exemplifies one indigenous communities’ attempt to reclaim hope through its ancestral language, culture, and way of life. The perspectives of indigenous teachers and families provide us with unique insight to the educational challenges and opportunities associated with this significant reclamation process.
Key Words: Indigenous, Education, Language, Identity, Reclamation, Environment
Can Pre-Service Teachers’ Perspectives on Diversity Change?
Tarleton State University
This study explored pre-service teachers’ perspectives on diversity. The study also discusses the possible benefits of a university course focused on diversity issues. Pre-service teachers who experienced the class are defined as diversity experienced. Future public school classrooms are going to become more diverse while the majority of classroom teachers continue to be White and middle class. The question was raised whether or not attitudes could change on a personal and a professional level. Using responses to surveys from pre-service teachers who were classified as either non-diversity experienced or diversity experienced, a small degree of change in attitudes towards diversity was detected, which was expected since the course is only one semester. A closer look at the data raised new questions. A significant difference was found between the professional and personal attitudes surveys regardless of diversity experience or lack of experience. On a professional level, pre-service teachers know they must be open-minded to all aspects of diversity. However, in their personal lives, their perspectives remain closer to the values of which they were raised. Additional questions to address: When a teacher finds herself in a stressful situation will she act upon the professional or personal perspective? If larger changes could be made to both professional and personal perspectives, what would that require?
Key Words: diversity, perspective, personal attitudes, professional attitudes, prejudice, bias.
The Effect of Multicultural Awareness on Perceptions of Organizational Diversity
Author Dr. Beatrice Gibbons-Kunka
Robert Morris University
Abstract How influential is University coursework on student attitudes and beliefs? The researcher analyzed the change in student attitudes and beliefs about diversity in organizations as a result of taking Global Perspectives, a required course in the Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership program at Robert Morris University. University undergraduate students completed a pre-assessment and post-assessment of their attitudes and beliefs about organizational diversity during the first and last weeks of the course. It is assumed that the change in attitudes and beliefs over an eight-week period were attributed to the students’ involvement in the Global Perspectives course. The author examined what specific attitudes and beliefs were effected as a result of the course and what course topics were associated with this change. The results of this study are meaningful for faculty and administrators in other university Organizational Leadership programs, as well as organizational leaders who are committed to promoting diversity in their corporations.
Keywords: Multicultural Education, Organizational Diversity, Higher Education.
Evolving Policies and Practices of Indigenous Education in Bolivia
Author Dr. Carie Green
Idaho State University
University of Wyoming
Abstract The election of the first indigenous president has brought about a resurgence of indigenous pride in Bolivia. Since the time of his election, Evo Morales has pursued policies to achieve equality for indigenous people including the reformation of education. Interpreted through a North American multicultural perspective, this qualitative study identified four themes surrounding Bolivia’s indigenous educational policies and practices. These included: 1) education is inclusive of all, 2) equal rights for men and women, 3) contextualized education, and 4) indigenous language instruction. On one hand, the recently adopted constitutional law requiring all state employees, including teachers, to learn a regional indigenous language has prompted a renewed sense of cultural identity among indigenous people. On the other hand, Bolivian educational reform and indigenous language requirements appear to be a cause of contention between the government and the people and between intended policy and actual practices in schools.
Keywords: Bolivia, indigenous education, language revitalization, Aymara
Inequitable Disciplinary Consequences: A Comparison of White and Hispanic Student Assignments
Author Megan C. Jones
Bryan Independent School District
John R. Slate
Sam Houston State University
Spring Branch Independent School District
Abstract Disciplinary data were examined for all Grade 6 White students and Grade 6 Hispanic students, in the state of Texas, who received an exclusionary disciplinary consequence in the 2008-2009 school year. Exclusionary disciplinary consequences examined in this study were: in-school suspension (n = 50,540), out-of-school suspension (n = 20,208), and disciplinary alternative education program placement (n = 5,228). In regard to in-school suspensions, Grade 6 Hispanic students received 5.7% more exclusionary placements than did Grade 6 White students. Grade 6 Hispanic students received 5.7% more out-of-school suspensions than did Grade 6 White students, and disciplinary alternative education program placements for Grade 6 Hispanic students was 2.3% compared to Grade 6 White students at 1.1%. Using Cohen’s (1988) critera, all effect sizes were small. Implications are discussed.
Keywords: Hispanic, disciplinary inequity, in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, disciplinary alternative education program placement, exclusionary discipline
Towards a New Way of Learning: The Quest for Equitable Education
Author Kristina J. Kaufman
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction, Illinois State University
Abstract This essay review provides a summary, content analysis and critique of the book Developing critical cultural competence: A guide for 21st-century educators by Jewell Cooper, Ye He, and Barbara Levin. The development of cultural competence encompasses more than just labels of diversity or race. It broadens the expectation for educators today to be well versed with concepts of cultural diversity beyond color to meaningfully connect with an increasingly diverse student population. Cultural competence is positioned not as teachers understanding “the other” but in engaging in a quest of competence about all people, enticing the educator to evaluate their own cultural characteristics and beliefs. Professional development is explored as one way to entice educators to explore elements related to cultural diversity and its impact in one’s teaching. Further implications for teacher education, principals and the students themselves are considered.
Keywords: Cultural competence, Diversity, Professional development, Culturally relevant pedagogy, Essay review
Teachers’ Perspectives on Asian American Students
Author Kevin Oh
University of San Francisco
Abstract With the increase in Asian students in America, educators should evaluate the perceptions that teachers place on Asian-American students and determine if theses perceptions influence their behaviors in the classroom. Such inquiries are important, because Asian students are often perceived as being model minority students, particularly in science and mathematics. This overgeneralization hides the fact that there is within group variation among Asian students just as there is with any other group. Given this reality, the purpose of this exploratory qualitative study was to obtain information about four teachers’ perceptions about Asian-American students and how this information can provide insights into teaching these students. Research questions include: Do teachers have certain preconceived notions about Asian students? If so, what are they? And are the perceptions similar across the sample? Overall findings suggest that teachers in America need to understand the diversity in Asian students for the betterment of education system that is growing in numbers with more Asian students.
Key Words: teacher education, cultural awareness, multiculturalism, Asian American students
Crossing Boundaries: A Brown and White Interrogation of Race and Social Class
Author Mubeen Ladhani
Abstract As graduate students in the Master of Education program at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, we were introduced to a repertoire of learning streams, one of which examined the social and cultural dimensions of teaching, learning, and knowledge. The following collaboration is a recollection of our life experiences; a very honest autobiographical account of our respective and markedly different racial contexts, as well as a discussion of our similar middle-class social backgrounds, and how the combination of these factors has influenced our academic achievements and our personal identities. Our hope is that readers recognize the growth in our self-awareness and ultimately understand how integral this process has been in our ability to be well rounded and effective educators.
Keywords: education, race, social class, white privilege, multiculturalism
Stringing Rosaries: A Qualitative Study of Sixteen Northern Plains American Indian Boarding School Survivors
Author Dr. Denise K. Lajimodiere
North Dakota State University
Abstract This study explores the experiences of 16 Northern Plains American Indian Boarding School survivors. Using qualitative interview methodology allowed me to capture the essence of how the participants viewed heir boarding school experiences. Four themes emerged: Participants attending boarding school experienced loss in the form of loss of identity, language, culture, ceremonies traditions; loss of self-esteem; loneliness due to loss of parents and extended family; feeling of abandonment by parents; feeling lost and out of place when they returned home. They experienced severe abuse in the form of corporal punishment; forced child labor, the Outing program, hunger/malnourished, sexual and mental abuse. The participants experienced unresolved grief: maintaining silence; mental health issues, relationship issues and alcohol abuse. Participants expressed that they had a poor education at boarding schools they attended. Finally, participants expressed ways for healing in the form a government apology, personal therapy and a return to Native spirituality and forgiveness.
Key Words: Indigenous, boarding schools, Historical Trauma, Unresolved Grieving
Contextualized Pedagogy: New educational approach in the postmodern era
Azusa Pacific University
Abstract Learning does not happen in a vacuum. It should be contextualized based on each learner’s cultural, social, as well as personal context. Contextualized education attempts to broaden learning beyond the cognitive understanding and to make intentional and intelligent use of specific contexts as sites of learning and as teaching and learning experiences in and of themselves (Brelsford, 2008). The purpose of this article is to present a model of contextualized education that is consisted of four principles of interventions: (1) teachers as cultural mediators; (2) culturally responsive pedagogy; (3) community of practice; and (4) praxis for transformation.
An inquiry into the political correctness in Swahili and Mashami traditions
Author Benedictor Lema
Dar es Salaam University
College of Education, Tanzania
Abstract Political correctness has been a subject of discussion among activists, academicians, politicians, feminists and policy makers. This commitment suggests nothing but a deliberate move against naturally evolving socio-political and economic dynamics that are constantly in force. In this paper it is shown that political correctness, viewed from the perspective of the seemingly socio-cultural and economic readjustments, needs to be understood from the underlying socio-cultural and political forces which are strongly embedded in the social structures and which emanate from the need for societies to identify its members out of the others. In other words, no label in the society is without roots in the society; and any foreign label imposed from outside should find its entry point into the society; and this entry point is determined by the space or vacuum existing in or created by the society. Otherwise, any foreign imposition of a label that does not intelligently negotiate its entry into the practices of the relative society misses acceptance and thus becomes obsolete immaturely. This is true of the terms that are introduced to replace those which seem to ire political correctness activists in different societies; and to which Tanzania is not an exception.
Drawing examples from Swahili and Mashami cultures, this paper shows that the two cultures demonstrate clear differences in the way societies in Tanzania have naturally neutralized unfriendly terms particularly in events where the labeling is a result of the work of God and naturally imposed calamities. It is hereby established that whereas Swahili culture seems to be rude in the eyes of the activists in relation to naturally motivated disabilities, Mashami culture is to blame only on occasions involving individually imposed manners and practices. Specifically, Swahili terms seem to discriminate against mostly naturally disabled persons while Mashami culture shows some patronage to the naturally limited only to be rude enough to individually imposed mischief. Linguistically, the Mashami and Swahili cultures also demonstrate features that clearly cement and neutralize political incorrectness.
Key words: Kiswahili, political correctness, culture, socio-cultural dynamics, social structure