455 Slices
Medium 9781475819335

Cultural Sensitivity: The Basis for Culturally Relevant Teaching

Teacher Education and Practice R&L Education ePub


ABSTRACT: This article examines cultural sensitivity as a basis for culturally relevant teaching. It argues that classroom teachers are overwhelmed by the responsibility to educate an increasingly culturally diverse population. And because extant teaching strategies have failed to produce desired outcomes in these students, a culturally relevant curriculum based on teachers’ cultural sensitivity is proposed. Characteristics of culturally sensitive teachers and culturally responsive teaching are outlined. Finally, benefits of providing a culturally relevant curriculum are discussed.

Schools have the rare privilege of being a setting where individuals from varied cultural backgrounds and different languages, values, beliefs, and worldviews come together for an extensive period for a common purpose—to acquire an education. In the educational setting, classroom teachers are key professionals charged with the responsibility of transmitting important social and academic knowledge and skills. Therefore, teachers are a powerful force in the lives of students: What teachers perceive, believe, say, and do can disable or empower students (Kea & Utley, 1998).

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Medium 9781475811421

Professing Educational Leadership: The Value of Listening



ABSTRACT: This article explores the imperative of fully incorporating the practice of “listening” within educational administration preparation programs. The purpose behind this exploration is to validate and substantiate the need for “open listening” in university classrooms so that those who are to be educational leaders will have models that habituate them to pedagogical social justice. The article begins with an examination of democratic pedagogy and democratic leadership practice, focusing on listening and the relevance of listening for learning and for leadership. The second part of the article is an authentic case study that presents an opportunity to link theory to practice by means of a complex real-life dilemma in which listening plays an important role. The article concludes with a section devoted to examples of learning activities that are designed so that all in the classroom are placed in a position of listening intently and respectfully to one another.

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Medium 9781475819229

Hablando Spanish, English, and Tejano: Bilingualism and Its Practices

R&L Education ePub


ABSTRACT: Although advocates of critical education such as Darder (1991), hooks (1994), and Macedo (1994) have critically assessed ethnic and language minority education, few studies have empirically examined bilingual education practices from a critical perspective. In this project, we investigated the pedagogical practices of educators, with classroom observations and in-depth interviews with three bilingual teachers in San Antonio, Texas.

Linguistic and cultural experiences and consciousness were implicated as teachers learned about themselves and their students. We found that participants supported bilingualism depending on their ideologies about language and culture as they facilitated inclusion of non-dominant-language learning and student empowerment. Additional research on teaching ideologies and consciousness within bilingual education pedagogies is necessary.

The primary aim of this project was to investigate and analyze the pedagogical frameworks that inform bilingual teachers’ practices and to examine the extent to which teachers embrace a critical perspective. Although scholars such as Flores (2000) have shed light on the relationship between bilingual educators’ beliefs and practices and although critical pedagogues (Darder, 1991; hooks, 1994; Macedo, 1994) have exposed the way that students of color are systematically marginalized and oppressed through a curriculum that reproduces the values, beliefs, and language of dominant culture,1 no empirical studies have examined pedagogical practices in transitional or dual-language classrooms using a critical framework.

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Medium 9781475819328

Readability and Item Difficulty of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Fifth-Grade Science Tests

R&L Education ePub



ABSTRACT: The development of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test involves input from educators across the state. The development process attempts to create an assessment that reflects the skills and content understanding of students at the tested grade level. This study attempts to determine other factors that can affect student performance on this test. Specifically, it set out to determine the readability of the test. Readability of the “most easy” and “most difficult” items, as identified by Rasch difficult-item analysis, was performed. Readability of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills fifth-grade science test reveals grade levels higher than fifth grade in readability and no difference between readability of the “most difficult” and “most easy” questions.

In 2002, the statewide assessment of educational progress for students in Texas changed from the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills test to the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. The TAKS test was heralded as a dramatic improvement over the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills test, as an instrument that tested higher-order thinking skills rather than memorization and simple operational skills.

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Medium 9781475819359

Fostering Global Awareness, or What I Learned on My Summer Vacation

R&L Education ePub


With regard to enhancing teacher candidates’ global awareness, teacher education currently faces two challenges: indifference and inaction.

I base this claim primarily on observation and personal experience. Fostering global awareness is not a topic to which I hear my colleagues giving a lot of time and attention; correspondingly, I cannot think of a single student who has ever asked about global perspectives, even though I am sure that this has been an interest and concern for some. Over my 18 years of university teaching, I have given short shrift to global awareness, largely because other goals have taken precedence—such as providing teacher candidates with informed perspective on strategies for teaching reading and writing. Perhaps because teaching in the United States is such a local endeavor, nurturing awareness of global perspectives is rarely a priority.

I have recently begun to question this state of affairs, and admittedly, my steps have been small. This semester, in a course on teaching literacy in the content areas, I began with an overview of the state of literacy, not just in the United States, but in the world. Opportunities are out there, I explained, for teacher candidates to apply their knowledge and skills in contexts beyond the local. In courses on teaching literature, I am integrating texts with strong international connections, such as American Born Chinese (Yang, 2006) and Of Beetles and Angels (Asgedom, 2002), and leading discussions about the changing demographics of American education and the importance of reading widely. Although these steps are minor, they represent my new enthusiasm for global perspectives.

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