Volume 7 (2012), Number 2
Table of Contents
African-American Students’ Responses to a Culturally Relevant Curriculum in Physical Education
Author Gary S. Gibson
Muscogee County School District, Columbus, Georgia
Peter A Hastie
Department of Kinesiology, Auburn University, Alabama
Abstract The purpose of this study was to examine responses and communicated attitudes of secondary school students towards two curriculum topics in physical education. The first was a unit on “stepping” while the second was the more traditional multi-activity physical education curriculum. One-hundred thirteen secondary school students were interviewed and their responses were coded for perceptions of the units of instruction. During the stepping unit, the students were motivated to participate and became invested learners, while the traditional curriculum brought with it feelings of a lack of purpose, and negative student affect. These results demonstrate the need for teacher education programs to incorporate multicultural education in preparing teacher candidates to meet instructional needs of diverse school students.
Being International, Being Different: Teaching and Learning in Motion
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ, USA
This article explores the difficult positions that international teachers or administrators can encounter when deviating from accepted U.S. narratives about race and racism. I discuss my experiences speaking at a national conference on teaching and learning about a racially motivated incident I had to negotiate as a university administrator. I show how pedagogical approaches focused on “freedom of speech” can ignore the importance of “freedom from harmful stigma and humiliation” explained by Gerald Uelmen in his 1992 article on the price of free speech. I stress the importance of addressing racism and discrimination so that students and teachers can understand why civil liberties, such as free speech, need to be negotiated in terms of civil rights to acknowledge the country’s history of subjugation and discrimination.
Keywords: discrimination, racism, civil liberties, civil rights
Student Perceptions Regarding the Benefits of Minority Faculty at Predominately White Colleges and Universities
Dr. Pamela D. Hall
Department of Psychology
Miami Shores, Florida
Department of Psychology
Miami Shores, Florida
Abstract The present study examined college students’ attitudes about the benefits of having minority faculty at an ethnically diverse university in South Florida. Prior studies have shown that minority faculty can help predominately white institutions retain minority students (Jones, Castellanos & Cole 2002; Alexander & Moore, 2008). However, student’s attitudes about how they can benefit from minority faculty at institutions in South Florida have not been assessed. 114 undergraduates rated statements that measured their attitudes about minority professors using a 5-point Likert scale: (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree). Additionally, they completed three open-ended statements pertaining to how they could benefit from minority professors, as well as a demographic questionnaire. Findings revealed that the majority of students, regardless of their ethnicity, felt they could benefit from having minority faculty at their university. They felt that minority professors would offer wider diversity, role models/mentorship, different perspectives and cultural enrichment to the university.
Keywords: minority faculty, college students, benefits, attitudes, mentorship
An Investigation of the Diversity Beliefs of Educators
Authors Dr. Corinne Harmon
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Mary Wilson, Ph.D. candidate
As the diversity of student populations continues to grow in our public schools, understanding the personal and professional beliefs of educators in regard to diverse populations (race/ethnicity, gender, social class, sexual orientation, religion, disabilities, language, and immigration) and the impact those beliefs have on the classroom becomes even more imperative. Social identity theory, cognitive dissonance theory encompassing individual and master narratives, and collective efficacy theory provide a framework for examining the beliefs held by educators. The results of this research indicate there is a wide range of beliefs held by educators and little agreement or congruence on cultural diverse issues that impact our student population. These results have dramatic implications for the teacher training programs and subsequent instructional practices in our diverse classrooms.
Keywords: Diversity, beliefs, social identity theory, cognitive dissonance, collective efficacy.
Classroom Imperatives: Merging Technology and Traditional Course Material through the Theme of Workplace Diversity
Milton Hollar-Gregory, JD
LaGuardia Community College
Recently, I was a member of a departmental committee charged with redesigning an introduction to business course (a gateway to more advanced courses for business students). The committee’s responsibility dealt with the incorporation of academic technology into the curriculum. Part of the course relates directly to human resource issues including diversity/multiculturalism, globalization, employment practices, and future workforce issues. “Diversity in the Workplace” was used as the thematic platform to facilitate the integration of academic technology with traditional textbook material. The conceptual merger of the two disciplines offers students an opportunity to better appreciate the issues around human resource management including diversity. A number of critical thinking activities were developed and supported by the use of academic technology.
Eliminating Stereotypes and Encouraging Acceptance in Kindergarteners Using Parent/Teacher Collaboration
Authors Leslie Irwin
As our society continues to grow more and more diverse, it is important for parents and educators to stay abreast of diversity and incorporate it into the literature read both at home and in school. In addition to reading this multicultural literature, it is important to encourage conversations about different cultures and promote awareness of these differences; especially in districts across the United States that are known as monocultures. This study looks to research what happens when parents of Kindergarteners read and discuss multicultural literature at home with their children. By informing Kindergarten students early in their home life about differences in culture and having parents who see multiculturalism in a positive light, Kindergarten students will most likely be able to accept differences among peers and promote cultural responsiveness throughout their lives. The purpose of this study is to begin to alleviate stereotypes and racism by incorporating multicultural texts in the home. Adding multicultural picture books to the literature diet of a Kindergartener will help promote a balanced, well-informed student in today’s global society. Although this study proved eye-opening and allowed a view into the home lives of families, findings indicate that more can be done to continue to incorporate multicultural literature into the homes of Kindergarten families.
How Will Rural America Move Multicultural Education and Social Justice Forward?
Jo Ann Jankoski, Ed.D, LMSW, MS
Penn State University, The Eberly Campus
Rural America has changed but still “lags behind the times” when it comes to multicultural education and social justice. This mixed method inquiry asked several questions of faculty at a rural mid-Atlantic university in an effort to answer two questions: 1) What are the multicultural education beliefs and practices of the faculty in this small rural university? 2) Who is responsible for teaching multicultural education and social justice? This research, grounded in Critical Multiculturalism and Social Justice, assessed faculty members’ attitudes, beliefs, and practices regarding the teaching of a multicultural/social justice curriculum.While the surveys indicated that the faculty members gave politically correct responses, their syllabi did not include evidence matching their responses. Based on faculty members’ attitudes and beliefs expressed in writing and individual interviews, it was concluded that not all faculty should be responsible for teaching multicultural education and social justice.
Keywords: multicultural education, rural America, social justice, teaching practices
Research informing pedagogy: Educating for cultural inclusivity in visual arts education in New Zealand, and beyond
Dr. Jill Smith
School of Arts, Languages and Literacies
University of Auckland
Abstractt This article reports on two research projects and how the findings of both are being used to educate pre-service visual arts teachers on ways of strengthening cultural inclusivity in visual arts education in secondary schools. The research was located in New Zealand, an increasingly multicultural nation in the Asia Pacific region. In national curriculum ‘cultural diversity’ is cited as a key principle that embodies beliefs about what is important and desirable in education for all students. The research showed, however, that while culturally inclusive sentiments are espoused in policy, visual arts education is dominated by pedagogy shaped by New Zealand’s commitment to the bicultural partnership between Maori (the indigenous people) and European/Pakeha.i The art and culture of ‘others’ was noticeably absent in visual arts programs. Given the changing demographics of students in secondary schools strategies are suggested to empower pre-service teachers to engage in culturally inclusive practices. These approaches have relevance for teachers in other Western nations with culturally diverse students. Reaching and Teaching All Learners:
An Integration of the Tenets of Culturally Relevant Teaching and the ENGAGING Framework
Karrie A. Jones
Tapestry High School
Jennifer L. Jones
Emmet Belknap Middle School
Paul J. Vermette
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
Integration of Multicultural Literature in Primary Grade Language Arts Curriculum
Authors Susan M. Landt
St. Norbert College
Abstract It is imperative that teachers provide students with a broad array of literature that includes diverse perspectives as a way to offer all students visions of self in what they read, give students windows into the world, and help break down barriers. When students encounter images and stories of characters similar to themselves they experience a sense of belonging and are able to connect to what they read. By including an abundance of literature depicting diverse perspectives, teachers open doors to awareness and understanding. This is especially pertinent in the earliest grades where concepts are being formed and schema developed. The transition to Common Core State Standards that states are adopting is a fortuitous opportunity for teachers to reevaluate the children’s literature they are using and enhance their collections with a rich variety of multicultural selections.
Facilitating Pre-service Teachers’ Cultural Responsiveness through Multicultural Children’s Literature
Authors Gayla Lohfink, Ph. D.
Wichita State University
Laurie J. Curtis, Ph. D.
Kansas State University
Abstract The following study investigated elementary pre-service teachers’ pedagogical understandings related to dual-language, multicultural children’s literature. Data collection included a survey which included participants’ self-reported written responses to given prompts. The prompts asked the pre-service teachers to reflect upon their pre- and post-experiences with (1) dual-language, culturally-relevant picture books and (2) criteria for selecting high quality multicultural picture books. Written responses of “yes” and “no” were tabulated, with additional open-ended comments analyzed for further inquiry into the pre-service teachers’ pedagogical understandings of multicultural literature. Data analysis of the pre-service teachers’ written responses to the prompt, “in meeting the needs of CLD children, I feel dual-language texts…,” also occurred. Results indicated that use of culturally-relevant materials in an undergraduate reading methods course increased the elementary teacher trainees’ awareness of how to effectively evaluate and utilize multicultural literature. Knowledge of and attitudes toward pedagogy relative to multicultural literature further revealed the participants’ specific understandings as: (1) picture books connect culturally to CLD children; (2) picture books increase cultural awareness for both teachers and students; and (3) picture books provide ‘bridges’ into the academic curriculum for CLD students.
The Impact of Involvement of African American Parents on Students’ Academic Achievement
Authors Raquel Lopez
Nova Southeastern University
The factors related to parental involvement and the academic achievement of African American students were examined. The main bodies of literature related to parental involvement and African American students’ academic achievement, embraces (a) parental involvement and student achievement, (b) African American parental involvement, (c) contrasting ethnical perspectives, (d) community involvement, and (e) success in parental involvement. Research suggests that Asian and European American students’ parents are more involved in school related activities than parents of African American students. In contrast, African American students are more likely to face barriers such as low socioeconomic status, unemployed parents, parents working more than one job, among other societal issues. Nonetheless, there are examples of success in parental involvement amongst African American students in which a combination of community involvement and leadership appeared to be the solution in overcoming economic and societal disparities.
Keywords: parental involvement, student achievement, African American students, leadership, participation
Teaching through others: The dynamics of dialogue in the critical classroom
Authors Daniela Martin and Thomas J. Yannuzzi
The Pennsylvania State University, Brandywine
Abstract This article explores the dialogical tensions associated with constructing classrooms for equality and social justice. We use Banks' (2009) framework depicting multicultural schools as a social system, to situate our analysis at three distinct levels -- students as individuals, learning as relational, and educational transformation as institutional. We blend qualitative and quantitative analysis to look at the unique dilemmas faced at each level and, more importantly, at the interdependency among the various stakeholders of critical education. The results suggest that schools may foster environments in which educators are unsure how to practice good classroom dialogue. We argue that improving our understanding of what makes classroom dialogues productive is essential to developing teacher and student competencies that align with the new demands of critical multicultural pedagogy.
Keywords: multicultural education; social identity; dialogue; higher education; pedagogy