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Volume 4

Volume 4

Table of Contents

Article

A FRAMEWORK FOR CURRICULUM POLICY FOR SOCIAL COHESION IN AFRICA

Author

Chinedu I. O. Okeke, Ph.D. lecturer University of Swaziland, Kwaluseni Campus, Swaziland

Abstract

A curriculum, which shows no recognition to the cultural values of a people, appears to be laid on a path incompatible with the sociology of learning that is aimed at sustaining the socio-cultural development of any society. In this paper, the writer undertakes an analysis of the cultural dynamics of the African educational developments and innovations with a primary focus on the cultural neglects, which occasioned the introduction of the western-type education across the continent. The paper argues that this cultural neglect is continuing in contemporary continental educational relations. It also argues that the introduction of the western-type education eroded African cultural values and set the stage for some sort of cultural confusion and crises, which have bedevilled the development of an Africanized education pattern within the continent in both invisible and complex ways. Within such theory of confusion and crises the writer argues, African education has failed to create an African identity devoid of acrimony, bitterness and feeling of divisiveness amongst Africans. Consequently, an attempt is made to suggest the type of curriculum that may enhance social transformation and cohesion within Africa. Overall the paper aims to sensitize higher education curriculum planners and hopes to revolutionize their thinking on the issue of cultural imperativeness for sustainable value-based education policies in Africa.

Article

EDUCATORS' CULTURAL AWARENESS AND PERCEPTIONS OF ARAB-AMERICAN STUDENTS: BREAKING THE CYCLE OF IGNORANCE

Authors

Hamsa A. Aburumuh, M.A. University of Texas at San Antonio, Howard L. Smith, Ph.D. University of Texas at San Antonio, Lindsay G. Ratcliffe, M.A. University of Texas at San Antonio

Abstract

This study used mixed methods to examine educators' cultural awareness and perceptions of Arab-American students. An analysis revealed that most educators lacked basic knowledge about the Arab and Islamic cultures. This lack of cultural knowledge may thwart the attempts of educators to develop caring relationships with Arab-American students and their families. The authors conclude that Arab-American students will be at a greater risk of symbolic violence unless educators focus their efforts in four broad dimensions: (1) understanding the Arab and Islamic cultures; (2) eliminating negative stereotypes and erroneous beliefs about these cultures; (3) providing culturally responsive teaching; and (4) maintaining caring relationships with Arab-American students and their families.

Key Words: Arab-American students, Care Theory, cultural awareness, teacher preparation, culturally responsive teaching, stereotyping

Article

Understanding How Childhood Religious Experiences Impact the Transition to College Life for First-Year Students at an Independent, Liberal Arts and Sciences University

Author

Caitlin Spaulding,Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas

Abstract

Understanding how childhood religious experiences impact the lives of first year students has the potential to assist universities in their efforts to understand why first year students react or respond in certain ways. Using qualitative methodology, 84 first-year students at a liberal arts and sciences university in central Texas were asked to voluntarily complete the anonymous Childhood Religious Impact Survey. The research found that first-year university students have participated in a variety of childhood religious experiences which, they confirm, were overwhelmingly memorable and impacted their first-year university experience--with over half of the research sample having used religion to positively impact their transition to university life and their first-year experiences. Overall, first-year university students' retain their childhood religious core beliefs, but, generally don't retain these beliefs with the same intensity of practice. Furthermore, first-year students want their university to accept and respect their personal religious practice; however, they do not want their university to promote any particular religious identity.

Article

Five Strategies to Address Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in the Inclusive Classroom

Author

Jamie L. Worrell, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida

Abstract

Today's general education classrooms are becoming more and more diverse with both students with disabilities and students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In order for teachers to effectively teach a classroom of diverse students, meeting each student's needs individually and successfully, effective research based strategies must be implemented. This article identifies five key strategies, that when implemented in the classroom and at the school level, can positively affect each student both academically and behaviorally in the inclusive diverse classroom. These key strategies are as follows: acknowledge student differences, connect with students' families, establish school-wide "cultural" collaboration, implement culturally responsive teaching, and establish mentors for students. For each of these school strategies, examples from the literature are provided that supports that the strategy is indeed effective. The strategies are followed by some advice on how the school together can best implement these key strategies.

Article

Developing Informed Citizens: How to Bridge Multiculturalism and Content Area Instruction through a Student-Centered Social Justice Framework

Author

Lauren R. Lacombe, Little Flower School, Reno, NV

Abstract

As classroom teachers who are subject to the pressures of growing student population diversity, we must be prepared to formulate lesson plans culturally relevant to our students in an attempt to provide sensitivity to global perspectives and the celebration of differences while embracing cultural similarities. In this article, we will examine 1) how teachers may sustain multicultural education and democratic values 2) how through the practice and incorporation of critical literacy lessons and authentic assessments we may sustain multicultural education, and 3) how using a social justice student-centered framework is not only beneficial for students but also important in guiding educational change. Through the reexamination of current practices, the necessity for a social justice framework will become clear, where critical literacy and authentic assessments give way to higher order thinking skills that are essential for student learning, retention, and informed societal participants at all grade levels.

Keywords: Additive Curriculum, Authentic Assessment, Critical Literacy, Multiculturalism, Social Justice Student-Centered Framework

Article

Quick! Close the Door! Increasing School Choice for Students with Disabilities

Authors

Karen B. Patterson, University of North Florida, Kathryn M. Krudwig, University of North Florida

Abstract

Providing school choice for K-12 students with disabilities who are failing in public school does not necessarily open doors to appropriate, nonpublic classroom settings. The authors explored whether learning to design and implement action research could positively influence 16 private school teachers' willingness to accept students with special needs into their classrooms. Findings suggested that engagement in action research increased teachers' sense of empowerment, satisfaction with the action research process, and willingness to teach hard-to-teach students. Discussion focused on ways that higher education, school administrators, and educators themselves can promote increased school choice for students with disabilities.

Article

Teaching for Diversity: Pre-Service Teachers' Beliefs and Ways to Enhance Teacher Preparation Programs

Authors

Teri Bingham, Associate Professor, West Texas A&M University, Canyon, TX

Abstract

This qualitative study was to ascertain teacher education majors' perceptions regarding the degree to which they feel prepared to teach children of diversity in our society today. Participants' degree of preparation was influenced by both their field-based experiences required by their teacher education program, and an accumulation of life experiences. These future teachers had differing meanings of "diversity" and they reported a disconnect between how well their teacher education program curricula, compared to their field-based experiences, prepared them to teach diverse populations. The findings of this study may be used to influence policy regarding diversity training in teacher preparation programs.

Key Words: Diversity, Teacher education, Pluralism, Cultural awareness, Cultural differences, Multicultural education

Article

Immigrant Students in Public Schools: To What Extent Do School Leaders Recognize, Promote, and Utilize Their Cultural Diversity?

Author

Margo Schiff Ph.D., Fairfield Public Schools, Trumbull, CT

Abstract

At this time of changing demographics and increased immigration the purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the extent to which school leaders recognize, promote, and utilize the cultural diversity of immigrant students. Although in the past most immigrants came predominately from Europe, today Spanish-speaking immigrants and Asians account for more than 80%.

Fourteen high school leaders from nine school districts in Connecticut were interviewed and documents such as school newspapers, mission statements, and handbooks were reviewed. The findings showed that most leaders recognized immigrant students as student body members. Some promoted them by encouraging their participation in school clubs and activities. However, few leaders utilized immigrant students' cultures by having them share their knowledge with natives or using their assets in the curriculum or diversity activities. It was recommended that school leaders become more culturally-responsive and explore diversity techniques from multicultural schools to communicate the rich cultures of immigrant students in public schools. The schools and students lose out on these cultural assets if school leaders fail to utilize them or do not empower and develop the potential of the immigrant students. This study offers suggestions, examples, and advice to school leaders and teachers dealing with immigrant populations, and attempts to point out ways in which immigrant students could be assisted in contributing to the school culture.


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