Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Guest Article: Examining Culturally Relevant Teaching Stategies

Teachers face challenges reaching diverse students

The children in America's classrooms are changing in complexion and complexity, making teaching students with diverse backgrounds one of the greatest challenges school districts now face. Administrators are also under pressure to "close the achievement gap" between white and Asian students and their racial and ethnically diverse counterparts.

The challenges educators face prompted Bonnie M. Davis to write How to Teach Students Who Don't Look Like You. Davis says she wrote the book to offer "culturally relevant teaching strategies."

According to the author, nearly 40% of U.S. citizens represent racial or ethnic groups, families who may "see" the world through a completely different cultural "lens" than the "average" American.

So who are diverse learners? Davis offers a comprehensive answer.

"They are the homeless children, the migrant children, the immigrant children learning English, children dealing with gender issues, children with learning disabilities, special needs children, and children from diverse cultures - students perhaps not previously included or successful in our classrooms."

This workbook is designed for educators seeking to reach and teach students of varied backgrounds. The publication offers successful strategies for all subjects and grade levels.

Davis shares a number of practical tips:

* How to first recognize one's own culture to understand needs of diverse learners
* How to examine racism and its impact
* Strategies for establishing a school climate for teaching diverse learners
* Research-based instructional strategies to implement across the disciplines

According to the author, zeroing in on relationships and expectations are key when it comes to producing proficient students.

Davis writes, "To provide diverse learners with culturally responsive instruction, we must build relationships and hold high expectations, provide rigorous content knowledge while making explicit the hidden rules of learning, and teach students how to learn as well as what to learn."

The author, a veteran teacher of 37 years, is passionate about education. She has taught in middle schools, high schools, universities, homeless shelters, and a men's prison. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including Teacher of the Year, the Governor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Anti-Defamation League's World of Difference Community Service Award.

How to Teach Students Who Don't Look Like You is published by Corwin Press. To read a chapter from the book, click here for the PDF document.

Copyright 2006, Deb Sistrunk

  • Visit Deb Sistrunk's Blog, "Media By Sistrunk"
  • No comments: