Thursday, September 21, 2006

Examining culturally relevant teaching strategies

Teachers face challenges of 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. To learn more about Bonnie Davis, visit her website.

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Shirazi said...

Seems to be a nice book, particularly when global and cultural boundries and fading fast.

TheBizofKnowledge said...

How to Teach Students Who Don't Look Like You sounds like an excellent book! I'd never heard of it before seeing your entry, so thanks for the tip. I'm definitely going to check it out sometime soon!

Alina said...

It seems a very interesting book. But I guess such a book would mean nothing without open-mindedness and a will to learn a lot on different cultures.

Deb S. said...

Shi: You're right. Global and cultural boundaries are shrinking quickly.

Biz: I hope you read a sample chapter of the book. Thank you stopping by.

Alina: You're so perceptive! To be effective at teaching all children, it does take an open mind, tolerance, and a willingness to learn about other cultures.

rama said...

Hullo! Youw rote: "The author, a veteran teacher of 37 years, is passionate about education." Its passionate people like this, who take ownership, voluntarily, inwardly, of concerns and causes, and work for them - its because of such people that the earth rotates on its axis! Best, rama

Deb S. said...

Rama: You wrote: "It's because of such people that the earth rotates on its axis!" You have not only described Bonnie. You described Rama. :-)

Anonymous said...

Just please, please, please leave out the bad poetry.....

Spoken as one who has sat through a presentation on the same subject which included bad, BAD poems as an anticipatory set. The poet in me cringes. The English teacher in me wants to get out her red pen.

Please, Ms. Davis, just the facts, ma'am....