Supporting Communities and Families through a Culturally Responsive Approach

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1 Supporting Communities and Families through a Culturally Responsive Approach Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Ph.D. Associate Professor, English Education Teachers College, Columbia University October 25, 2016

2 Yolanda s Lenses Black female born in The Bronx, New York to Caribbean & Southern parents Veteran teacher: 23 years (High School & Higher Education) Research areas: racial literacy, Literacy practices of Black and Latino students, youth experiences in foster care & juvenile justice systems Teacher Educator as Interrupter & Scholar Activist CRP PD specialist for NYC DOE and other school districts Former Research Associate on Disproportionality in Special Education with Pedro Noguera & The NYU Metro Center 13 years Corporate Experience: NYT, BW, NYU

3 Thinking about my own Lenses Educational Experiences (including Teacher Preparation) Administrator Education My stance(s) on issues of issues of diversity (race, culture, class, etc. in schools and society) Where my growing edge(s) exist

4 Linguistically Diverse Students with Limited English Proficiency Changing Demographics Black Students Students with Disabilities Asian Students Multilingual City Schools Multicultural Diversity Traditions White Students Rural Schools All Students Suburban Schools Cultures Newcomers Latino Students Ethnically Diverse Languages

5 Framing Today s Session Enhance our understanding of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. Encourage us to continue to think of new ways to reach all students particularly those who seem most different from us. Embrace Culturally Responsive Pedagogy as a foundation for classroom teaching.

6 Framing Today s Session We have struggled in schools to engage issues of race and cultural differences constructively, but we haven t yet learned how to speak about such matters, embedded as they are with guilt, shame, confusion, superiority, and inferiority. Even as we tend to acknowledge that race and issues of difference need to be central to the curriculum, that curriculum is virtually absent. Our challenge is to make the school a safe setting to engage in conversation and serious inquiry about race and cultural difference. If schools aren t such a place, where else will these conversations occur constructively? Vito Perrone, 1991 Harvard Graduate School of Education

7 Framing our Response to the call for CRP: Ripples or Roots? Joel Osteen Skin Deep

8 A Way In Share this information through stories Brief dialogue with each other Voices of experienced teachers and others Video to trouble the notion of race and culture Continual self-reflection

9 A Definition For Culture Culture is the shared perceptions of a group s values, expectations and norms. It reflects the way people give priorities to goals, how they behave in different situations, and how they cope with their world and with one another. People experience their social environment through their culture. Culture is transmitted from generation to generation.

10 What Is Culturally Responsive Pedagogy? Scholars note that Culturally Responsive Pedagogy is an: An approach that empowers students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and politically by using cultural referents to impact knowledge, skills and attitudes. It is a way of teaching that validates the values, prior experiences, and cultural knowledge of students. It has the potential to transform students lives.

11 Why Teach This Way?

12 Change Is Inevitable The World Has Changed! Technological advancements have changed our world Children learn differently (video games, podcasts, digital literacies). Populations in schools (urban and suburban) continue to shift-- cultures must be noticed and included in the curriculum. NCLB has changed the way we pay attention to the under achievement of particular students (under achievement has always been present among these students).

13 New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina Assumed office: January 1, 2014 Appointed by: Bill de Blasio As painful as these events are, I strongly believe that as New York City educators and parents, we have a moral obligation to address the difficult questions about race, violence, and guns, and to engage students in the critical work of healing our country. We must not avoid these tough conversations they are necessary if we hope to build a just society for all.

14 What are Some Challenges in Teaching the Culturally Responsive Way? For Many A New Way of Thinking about Education Risk-taking Form of Teaching Constant Self-reflection about Teaching Practices and Administrative Practices

15 What keeps us from teaching this way? Colorblind Perspective Lack of Knowledge Feeling Overwhelmed Guilt

16 Habits of the Heart and Mind Many of us have been taught that the socially just approach to take toward racial and cultural diversity is to adopt the colorblindness approach. In this we say I don t care about a students color: they can be purple, yellow, red, white, black or green, I just want them to know how to write. I just want them to do math. I just want them to read on their level. Indeed, many of us, particularly if we are white were told that to see color was to be a racist. This assumes that someone who is seen as having color has something wrong with them and therefore you must look past their deficiencies. In fact research in theory and practice tells us that the colorblindness approach to race and cultural difference simply further supports the dominant perspective. The colorblindness perspective treats races as irrelevant and invisible. Laura, 21-year veteran teacher

17 The Layers of Culture and Race: Multi-cultural and Multi-racial Something Other Than Other

18

19 Something Other Than Other Turn & Talk: What did you hear? How do you feel about what you heard?

20 Evidence of Culturally Responsive School Environments: More than just the Books & Curriculum Staff take responsibility for student achievement. School is not racially stratified and failure and under achievement is not accepted and rationalized. Staff is willing to collaborate, there is a willingness to embrace change. Relations with parents of students of color are amicable. School rules and procedures are not at odds with educational goals.

21 Evidence of Culturally Responsive School Environments Schools use the culture and experiences of students not part of the mainstream culture are used as a scaffold to learning. Classroom instruction matches the knowledge of particular groups and is used in the learning environment. Teachers and staff embrace a strength-based perspective.

22 Evidence of Culturally Responsive School Environments: More than just the Books & Curriculum Teachers and staff know that failure of any child is not an option. Cultural and linguistic diversity is reflected in the curriculum and staff. Different learning styles are encouraged and responded to.

23 People are Doing It! (some examples) NYC Department of Education Young Men s Initiative Teachers College, Columbia University Seattle Pacific University Kingsborough, Community College Rutgers University, Newark School Districts across the country (LAUSD; Detroit; Maryland) China J

24 I could have not grasped the nuanced distinction between romantic love and familial love without speaking Hindi with some degree of proficiency. Let me explain: there is no direct translation for the English phrases I love you in Hindi. In the English language, it is normal for a mother to tell her son, I love you. At the same time, it is completely normal for a husband to tell his wife I love you. This is not the case for loving relationships within the Indian tradition. The expression of familial love is linguistically distanced from the expression of romantic love by the very construction of Hindi language. The Hindi language trained me that you must not use the same words to express love to your lover as you wish to express to your mother. To do so would simply not suffice and would make you look quite foolish. Trina, 5 th year teacher

25 How Can Schools Become Culturally Responsive Environments?

26 Hire personnel from backgrounds similar to that of your students who can relate and provide direction to students - moral authority. Focus on improving teaching by: Strengthening link between teaching and learning On-site professional development in content, pedagogy and rapport with students Bring groups of teachers together on regular basis to analyze student work (norming Positive Student-teacher Relationships In Schools Move toward a new advising model in which every teacher serves as an advisor. Increase student connectedness to the school through extracurricular activities.

27 Rigor In Schools Increase access to rigorous courses and increase support. Increase enrollment in higher level math Ensure equitable access to effective teachers; establish teacher mentoring programs. Address inequities in parental resources by providing greater support to under/ poorly served students in college advising, SAT prep, tutoring. Encourage teachers to serve as advocates, counselors and coaches who push students to do well and help demystify success.

28 Show students how academic knowledge can be applied in the real world to issues they care about. Relevance In Schools Use strategies that help students plan and think concretely about their future. Provide Culturally Responsive professional development for teachers and staff. Focus on student peer culture - engage students through extra curricular activities.

29 Cultivate Agency: Influence the Choices Made by Students Educate students about their history and culture. Provide opportunities for students to become involved in community service and leadership. Channel student energy: utilize sports, music and art to promote resilience. Provide students with opportunities to have input on what is happening in their schools.

30 Support Higher Levels of Achievement Develop early intervention systems - identify kids who are falling behind, truant or engaging in problematic behavior early. Develop partnerships with community based organizations - case management and social work, immigrant services, health and social services. Raise staff awareness about racial, cultural and linguistic stereotyping. Hire individuals from diverse backgrounds in teaching and professional roles.

31 In order to improve my abilities in any aspect of teaching classroom management, mastery of my discipline, raising academic achievement, or use of classroom environment, I must improve my understanding of my students and their understanding of the world and the variety of experiences both within and beyond their community. The type of teaching that would move my students towards being such global minded students is the type of teaching I want to use. I have learned not to trivialize the experience of any of my students, no matter the degree to which I identify with them. I have to recognize that I did not live their individual lives and so I can t assume that I know the intricacies of their lives. In order to become a better teacher for them, wanting to know is the best thing I can do. Kain, 3 rd year teacher

32 A Few Moments of Reflection I was struck by I found myself wondering. I see a relationship between what we are discussing to I d like to further this discussion by

33 Staying

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