10 Chapters
Medium 9781935542018

Eight Linking Goals and Instructional Strategies

Ricardo L. Garcia Solution Tree Press ePub

Having laid a foundation for instruction that accommodates diversity, I now turn to specific instructional strategies that are aligned with the goals of universal education:

 Fostering learning autonomy via self-discipline

 Fostering intellectual effectiveness via critical thinking

 Fostering cultural efficacy via cross-cultural interaction

While I will treat these areas separately, it should be clear they overlap and interconnect. The strategies are intended to provide teachers a way to weave their role as learning-enabler into the fabric of instruction.

As previous chapters have discussed, successful living in a free society requires individuals willing and able to think and do for themselves. In school, students should be willing and able to take responsibility for learning. Most students learn autonomy and self-discipline at home and in the early grades, but some do not. Teachers can facilitate this development by enabling students to manage their own behavior.

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Medium 9781935542018

One What Is an American?

Ricardo L. Garcia Solution Tree Press ePub

Days used to amble by slowly in Colfax, Nebraska. Settled in 1901 by German refugees from Russia, the small town served surrounding farms for years, but with the industrialization of agriculture and decline of subsistence farming, families moved away. Colfax tottered on the verge of extinction until the Nebraska Meat Packing Corporation (NMP) established a plant there in 2001.

Then Colfax flourished. Every nook and cranny bustled. Cracking sidewalks and empty streets were suddenly full of people coming and going on sundry errands. Abandoned stores reopened, the weathered boards of shuttered display windows were removed, and new signs were painted, such as Carnicería, Tienda la Variedas, and Producios de Mexico y Centro America.

The new merchants and customers came from Mexico and Honduras, speaking Spanish and filling the schools with their children. Overnight, a sleepy, dying German American town transformed into a vibrant community—except now Spanish rather than German is heard on the sidewalks, in stores, the library, schools, and churches.

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Nine Developing Curricula for Diversity

Ricardo L. Garcia Solution Tree Press ePub

Let us take up curricula that reflect diversity. The previous chapter explains broad-based strategies, but not the method for organizing specific content. Ideally, diverse materials, experiences, and activities permeate the teacher’s entire curriculum to assist students in learning about the self and the other. This chapter describes the following steps for building a unique curriculum rich with diverse experiences and activities:

 Understanding how knowledge is constructed

 Teaching about culture

 Using ethnic studies

 Selecting curriculum materials

 Fostering student-created curricula

 Involving parents and others in the curriculum

First, let’s define what is meant by curriculum.

A classroom is defined by teacher and student interactions. The qualities of these interactions are forged by the teacher’s academic leadership through a program of study (defined by state and school district curriculum guides) to which he or she has given a unique and personal twist. The unique touch is the teacher—what he or she teaches beyond academic standards and curriculum guides.

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Five Reducing Prejudice

Ricardo L. Garcia Solution Tree Press ePub

In culture, as in biology, diversity is essential for survival. Diversity is also ambiguous: cultural values, beliefs, and attitudes are ever changing, conserving, and adapting. Often, the only certainty is uncertainty. Culture ameliorates the tension between uncertainty and stability. In every culture, members must decide what to change and what to conserve. Rapid changes can be destabilizing, as in political revolutions that sometimes have undesirable ramifications. Excessive resistance to change can be oppressive and stifling to growth, as we see in countries ruled by dictatorships. Consequently, the price of healthy cultural survival is eternal vigilance to protect the balance between change and conservation. When this balance is upset—when a group feels its stability is threatened by contact with difference—the result can be prejudice.

This chapter opens with an examination of how culture influences perceptions of difference and the difficulty in describing difference without stereotyping. Next, it explores the origins of prejudice, prejudice reduction theories, and how educators can take a balanced approach to acknowledging and teaching about difference.

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Seven Teacher as Learning-Enabler

Ricardo L. Garcia Solution Tree Press ePub

The adage “Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and he will never go hungry” aptly captures the spirit of this chapter. Students may finish twelve grades and graduate, but are they viable individuals able to sustain a good life? Teachers should do more than help students pass a particular class or test. They should strive to facilitate the intellectual development of all their students. The aim is empowerment of students to think for themselves, construct knowledge, make meaning, and learn respect for themselves and others.

This chapter provides an overview of the changing roles teachers play; it contrasts constructivist and naturalistic education to clarify the changes to the roles. Then it summarizes the work of three noted scholars—Maria Montessori, John Dewey, and Paulo Freire—who strived to fuse the roles of teacher-as-giver and teacher-as-enabler.

Students learn through experiences, both planned and unplanned. Most societies do not leave the education of youth solely to unplanned, chance experiences but rather provide formal, planned experiences to transmit valued knowledge, skills, and beliefs, mainly through schools. Formal education assumes that knowledge brings power—that having knowledge leads directly to accomplishments. However, knowing something is one thing; using knowledge toward meaningful ends is another.

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