Culturally Responsive Teachers
Dr. Patricia Fioriello’s article, “Culturally Responsive Strategies for Teaching Diverse Populations” (2013) claims that teaching to a diverse population and environment is a reality of today’s educational system. Fioriello supports her claims addressing what culturally responsive teaching is, characteristics of a diverse learning environment, explaining how the community plays a crucial role, and exactly why teaching requires a holistic approach. Fioriello’s purpose for writing her article is to inform her readers that education is not simply just a way of portraying and conveying information and lesson plans, but rather it can define the major ways in which individuals can shape their processes of thinking, as well as the important role that educators have to acknowledging and celebrating all cultures in their classrooms and how they can culturally provide to these students. Dr. Fioriello writes to an audience of mainly future and current educators, as well as the general public who cares about strategies for improving culturally diverse classrooms.
Dr. Fioriello’s article establishes a context that informs her readers that education is so much more than just trying to transmit information to students in a particular academic setting. While defining what culturally responsive teaching is and what it means to perspective educators, she states that as a facilitator, it is the teacher’s responsibility for reshaping the lesson-plans to incorporate and include different cultural perspectives into the curriculum. It’s true that communication of high expectations in addition to chartering positive attitudes on families and parents are highly effective characteristics of teaching with a culturally responsive outlook. I found it to be very relieving that Fioriello recognizes the differing challenges that come along with teaching diverse populations all while establishing the truth that it is imperative that teachers reshape their syllabi that is meaningful and student-orientated. I agree with Fioriello in the sense that highlighting multicultural activities in the classroom raise awareness and draws attention to unfamiliar cultures and their history. I feel that students need to understand and grasp the fact that there are multiple ways to interpret a statement or action. Inside the classroom, the students have the opportunity to explore not only other cultural backgrounds, but also gain a deeper understanding of their own historical context. Rather than displaying differing cultures as distinctly odd, teachers should welcome and celebrate diverse cultures as unique and equally important. I find it very significant that the article points out that students who have an understanding of cultural groups have a more balanced perspective on others and they are less likely to fall victim to stereotyping of other students in their class. The most imperative statement that the article claims is that teaching diverse populations, along with teaching about diverse cultures enriches the lives of all children in the class. I believe that the academic, but mostly personal relationship between the students and the teachers is the most essential aspect of promoting student success. Using an active approach to accepting and appreciating diversity, the atmosphere in and out of the classroom will be a much more enjoyable and happy place for both students and teachers.
Fioriello, Patricia. “Culturally Responsive Strategies for Teaching Diverse Populations.” Hot Topics in Education, 26 July 2013, drpfconsults.com/culturally-responsive-strategies-for-teaching-diverse-populations/. Accessed 2 Feb 2017.
“Assimilating” Cultural Identity in the Classroom”
In his article, “Diversity, Group Identity, and Citizenship Education in a Global Age” (2008) James A. Banks argues that citizenship and citizenship education should be expanded and reformed to include cultural rights and home-culture values for citizens from diverse racial and ethnic groups as well as language groups to help these individuals attain structural equality. Banks supports his claim by describing the terms assimilation, liberal, and universal perceptions of citizenship education as well affirming why these concepts should be examined and critiqued. Bank’s purpose for his article is to prove that an effective and reconstructive citizenship education helps students of all ages to gain the skills and knowledge needed to efficiently function in a culturally different environment as well as their own cultural community. Due to his obvious tone in expressing for change, Banks is writing to an audience that has any interest in multicultural education and the impact that this type of education will bring to the students involved in any type of educational community.
Banks starts of his article by defining what a citizen is. He says that according to Lagasse, “A citizen is an individual who lives in a nation-state and has certain rights and privileges, as well as duties to the state, such as allegiance to the government” (Lagasse, 2000). I thought that in the context of his article, it was important for him to state exactly what citizenship meant for him. Banks also claims that the ideas of assimilation, liberal and universal conceptions of citizenship require these citizens to become fully invested in the cultures of other nations and environments. These people must give up their first languages and cultures to better suit the needs of the state they are in now. In these terms and so far in the research, I agree with this concept and don’t necessarily believe that it is a bad thing for people migrating to another state or environment to pick up those cultural rituals and practices that are frequent for that specific culture that they migrated to. After all, isn’t that a large part as to why they moved to another state in the first place? As far as education is concerned, Banks makes a claim that in the early decades of the 20th century researchers made a case demonstrating and advocating cultural democracy. The claim states that a curriculum for African American students should mirror specific attributes of their culture and history. Isn’t the goal of embracing diversity in our educational system aiming to incorporate all different cultures and racial backgrounds into lesson plans and curriculums no matter the backgrounds of the students in the class? Rather than pointing out to the African American students in the class specifically details about their culture, the curriculum should be the same for all students, solely for the purpose of exposing every student in the class, whether they are of this racial or background or not, to this type of culture. The most influential statement that Banks makes in his article is “When universal citizenship is determined, defined, and implemented by groups with power and when the interests of marginalized groups are not expressed or incorporated into civic discussions, the interests of groups with power and influence will determine the definitions of universal citizenship and the public interest” (Banks 11). I think this claim is extremely valid because students need to develop the skills and attitudes needed to properly interact with others that are culturally different than them, especially in an academic setting. And what better way to help these students achieve this goal of embracing cultural assimilation than in the classroom?
Banks, James A. “Diversity, Group Identity, and Citizenship Education in a Global Age.” Educational Researcher, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 129–139, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.3102/0013189X08317501. Accessed 8 Feb. 2017.
Promoting Respect for Cultural Diversity in the Classroom
In Matthew Lynch’s article, “Promoting Respect for Cultural Diversity in the Classroom” (2012) Lynch asserts that culturally conscious instruction aspires to teach students that differences in perspectives and differing cultures are to be welcomed, appreciated and cherished rather than feared and judged. Lynch backs up his claim by describing a wide range of classroom activities that that students can participate in to help them recognize the fundamental humanity and value of people that are different from them. Lynch’s purpose for writing to prove to his readers that by providing students with crucial evidence that just because someone doesn’t physically look like them or participate in the same rituals that they do, at the core, those people are just like them. The intended audience that Lynch is writing to are teachers and educators of all differential age groups that have an interest in promoting a classroom culture of learning from each other rather than passing discrimination due to differences in beliefs and values.
I found Lynch’s article to be very valuable and insightful to both current and future educators across the globe who share a passion and love for learning environments and all that these environments have to offer the future generations of young citizens. I think students in the classroom, no matter what their age, should embrace other students from diverse backgrounds with respect and acceptance, rather than with fear of the unknown. I think Lynch’s point that most students interact positively with other students who share similar values with them, and with apprehension towards the students that don’t share such views and feelings, is true. Though this may have something to do with how that student was raised, it is also a common human response to such an interaction. Useful for a future educator like myself, this article provided a variety of different exercises that can be used throughout the classroom to help promote broadening diversity, as well as trying to prove to its readers that a sense of acceptance and recognition is crucial to running an effective classroom. One of the activities that I think would be extremely beneficial that Lynch explains is welcoming the students to share stories of their home life. These stories can include sharing family photos or anything that has to do with the student sharing their families’ culture with their peers. Another interesting point that Lynch makes in his article is stating that it is important for teachers bring in pictures of people with varying cultures, ethnicities, genders and races to provide students with the chance to view other people around the world that look physically different than them and practice different traditions than they do. As well as offering a sense of respect for other cultures, it is critical that teachers also welcome cultural pride of students’ own cultural heritage. I think that it is so important for student’s to feel that his or her own cultural backgrounds are being recognized and celebrated. No matter what ethnicity, everyone’s background is special and unique. Persistent exposures to other cultures, providing students with respect for their own cultures, and exposure to positive role models are the key ingredients to running a successfully diverse classroom!
Lynch, Ed.D. Matthew. “Promoting Respect for Cultural Diversity in the Classroom.” The Huffington Post, 6 Jan. 2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-lynch-edd/promoting-respect-for-cul_b_1187683.html. Accessed 9 February 2016.
The No Child Left Behind Act and its Effect on Diversity and Multiculturalism in Schools
Lance D. Fusarelli’s article, “The Potential Impact of the No Child Left Behind Act on Equity and Diversity in American Education” (2004) argues that the promise of the No Child Left Behind Act, proposed in 2001, to heighten opportunity and equity with in our education system by sufficiently reducing the achievement gap will more than likely remain unfulfilled. Lance supports his claim by drawing on evidence from state-level accountability initiatives along with a critical examination of the legislation. The purpose for Fusarelli’s article is to assess both the potential positive and negative effects that the act took toll on regarding multiculturalism, equity and diversity in today’s schooling culture. Due to the issue of inadequate funding, Fusarelli writes to an audience of high educated readers with a desire to help America close this achievement gap as well as readers who have an interest in the way this act could shape the future of our schools.
I found this article to be very beneficial to the contribution of the “incorporating diversity into schools” argument for a multitude of reasons. The first thing I’d like to point out is the context of which this article was written, in 2004. To go back and think of what our world looked like thirteen years ago is quite shocking. Being only three years out from the country’s most devastating and tragic terrorist attacks, it was safe to assume that legislation had a lot on their plates. The NCLB was released by President Bush in 2002 so when Fusarelli wrote his article, the act had already been in motion for two years. No matter what side of the political spectrum you might be on, it is important to conclude that the act was pressed with the best intentions to our country. Not only was it proposed by a republican president, but it also managed to get through congress, meaning that even thirteen years ago, our country was still just as desperate in finding ways to close the achievement gap and raise awareness of cultural diversity within the public school system. In his article, Fusarelli incorporates from other sources, “An important goal of NCLB is to narrow the achievement gap between minority and nonminority children, especially between disadvantaged students and their more affluent classmates (Day-Vines & Patton, 2003; Sunderman, 2003). NCLB is “designed to improve the academic performance of American children through the creation of highly qualified teachers and a unified system of education that creates high academic and behavioral standards and increases institutional accountability for adequate yearly student progress” (Day-Vines & Patton, 2003, p. 1). In a somewhat ironic turn of events, a conservative Republican administration has initiated and strongly supported legislation whose major focus emphasizes more equal educational outcomes (Sunderman, 2003).” This is crucial! No matter the ending result the act ultimately had on our country, legislation had every intention of making cultural diversity within the classroom a priority. The author concludes that he feels that NCLB will bring a close to the achievement gap and classrooms throughout schools will be more culturally diverse than ever. Thirteen years later, with little improvement, it is time our country take diversity in the classrooms more seriously and from here on out, permanently.
Fusarelli, Lance D. “The Potential Impact of the No Child Left Behind Act on Equity andDiversity in American Education .” SAGE Journals, 1 Jan. 2004, Accessed http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0895904803260025. Accessed 16 Feb. 2017.