Group 2 Week 5 Discussion Critical and Multicultural Education

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Group 2 Week 5 Discussion Critical and Multicultural Education by Mind Map: Group 2 Week 5 Discussion                   Critical and Multicultural Education

1. Pro: Multicultural education uses each student’s background as a way to help teach and learn as classes to enact change in each student’s mind. It is not enough just to educate students. Multicultural education wants education to go a step further and try to help students foster a desire to strive for change. Spring (2013) notes, “multiculturalism for social empowerment attempts to maintain cultural identity while promoting values of social justice and social action” (p. 165). By promoting social justice and social action, multicultural education tries to instill a sense of urgency for students to go into action rather than accepting the world they live in. Con: Sleeter and Grant (1987) states, “the only common meaning is that it referes to changes in education that are supposed to benefit people of color” when talking about multicultural education (p. 436). In their examination of many studies on multicultural education, they found minimal agreement between all of the articles. There seems to be a lack of consistency between the studies and I believe that this somewhat weakens its ability to be enacted in more classrooms. -Chris

2. Pro: Critical pedagogy works under the assumption, “knowledge is relevant only when it begins with the experiences students bring with them from the surrounding culture; it is critical only when these experiences are shown to sometimes be problematic (i.e., racist, sexist); and it is transformative only when students begin to use the knowledge to help empower others” (p. 189). When students are able to make connections from past experiences to the learning and knowledge in the classroom, I agree that the information will become much more relevant and easier to remember. This is true at all ages as I see our personal linking of various pedagogies as a method for us to remember new theories as well. Con: A drawback of critical pedagogy is the need to individualize connections in diverse classrooms. Sylvester (1994) gave a great example of critical pedagogy and how it could work in a classroom setting such as his, but his students were all from a fairly similar background. I think the connections are important to this theory, but in a diverse classroom with many different backgrounds, the teacher would have a difficult time to helping each student connect to the material. Without the personal connection, critical pedagogy struggles to help each student in learning the coursework. -Chris

3. Hi Heather, I completely agree with your critique of critical pedagogy. It would seem that the ultimate goal of critical pedagogy is to teach kids how to “work the system.” In Delpit’s (1998) article, The Silenced Dialogue, she even says that parents want students to understand the power culture not so they can change it, but so that they can “be successful in the white man’s world” (p.285). In my opinion, this just reinforces the power culture, and actually goes against what Sylvester claims is the benefit of critical pedagogy when he says that it can “change social structures rather than merely replicating them” (p.309). Rosanna Hardin

4. Thank you for including that critical pedagogy helps students examine their world and the world around them in order to give insight about possibilities. At my daughters camp this summer, parents were given a profound quote that I think is from the book Art of Possibilities by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander. The quote is “Change your story, change your life.” As teachers, are we trying to change our students paths, not always. However, giving them the opportunities to see and hear others stories in a critical light may be giving students the idea of opportunity and possibilities. Observing students and activities in the classroom, I can see where critical pedagogy may not be the best method for all subjects. In Derek’s story, I believe that critical pedagogy may not have been the key factor for his learning struggles. Sylvester points out that Derek had “deficits in information processing, perceptual organization skills, and fine visual-motor perception and integration. We are also not privy to Derek’s educational experience from previous years. I would be curious to see Derek’s experiences in other classroom considering they possibly are more traditional. From his list of deficits, did the school fail him in earlier grades because his disabilities went unnoticed? - Jenny Bach

5. Erica, Incorporating multicultural education is difficult. One of the resources from another class at Regis was from www.edchange.org, founded by Paul C. Gorski. The information on the site gives tools and strategies for incorporating multicultural education in the classroom. A helpful page from the site is www.edchange.org/handouts/paradigmshifts.pdf called Five Shifts of Consciousness for Multicultural Educators. A struggle for me is how will I teach a predominately white classroom while being sensitive to the few non dominant students. I agree with you that we don’t know how the students will respond. However, in a way, that may be the most rewarding experience as both the students and teachers explore the subjects together. - Jenny Bach

6. My educational experiences are very limited in terms of multi-cultural or critical pedagogy. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire and there was very little cultural diversity in my grade school, middle and high school education. Teachers taught to the majority and basically ignored differences rather than addressing them or helping us understand them. I do recall sexism being apparent in high school. Spring talks about sexism and the fact that boys tend to receive more attention in school than girls, resulting in better measurements for boys in general. Looking back, I can recall some classes where I actually noticed a difference in treatment between my male and female counterparts. Sleeter and Grant also talk about teaching to vocation. In my senior year of high school I took a woodworking class, my father is a carpenter and I had always liked building things. My class was 90% male and I remember both my teacher and other students making me feel like I didn’t belong. Even when they would give me a complement on my work, I felt like it was a surprise that a girl could use a hammer and a saw. --Heather Rowe

7. A classroom enhanced by practices in critical pedogogy allows for students to find political awareness and find their own voice. As traditional teachers hang on to their intellectual authority, critical pedogogy strategies “help students recognize the social function of particular forms of knowledge” and “permits them to examine the underlying political, social, and economic foundations of the larger society.” (McLaren, 1989, p.168) Students are able to question “why” certain conditions exist and use the “students’ present reality as a foundation for further learning rather than doing away with or belittling what they know and who they are.” (Nieto, 2010, p. 131) Gaining trust takes a long time. During a writing assignment, in a 3rd grade classroom, one of students was hesitant to share his experiences from home with the teacher. Did he feel he would be ridiculed for the different behaviors practiced in his culture? McLaren says, “the ability of individuals to express their culture is related to the power which certain groups are able to wield in the social order.” (McLaren, 1989, p. 171) Tracking students progress in a classroom practicing critical pedogogy is difficult because assessing critical thinking exercises is subjective. The objectives of traditional school setting and the challenge to meet state standards restricts educators from developing curriculum to enhance social justices. During TCAP testing time in the Spring, I have noticed teachers demeanor change into a hurried state. In addition, the current curriculum in my daughters school doesn’t seem to have room for enhances the education by including time for critical thinking and discussion. Teachers who see the value in critical pedogogy, also are not “naive about how dramatically society would have to change for their immigrant students to experience true social and political empowerment.” (Trumbull, Rothstein-Fisch, Greenfeild & Quiroz, 2001, p. 102) - Jenny Bach

7.1. Jenny, you make a great point about the difficulty in prioritizing critical pedagogy with other objectives in the classroom. This certainly does not seem like a method that would create good test takers but I do think that at least in Sylvester's case, the kids were learning much of the necessary content through their management of Sweet Cakes town. I see this method in a way as a supplement though, there is some information, mostly as the content in school gets more complex, that I think would be challenging to teach with this methodology. What do you think? - Heather Rowe

8. An essential benefit of Critical Pedagogy is that it creates opportunity for transformation. If “knowledge is a social construction deeply rooted in a nexus of power relations” and if that means that it is “the product of agreement or consent between individuals who live out particular social relations (e.g., of class, race, and gender) and who live in particular junctures in time,” then critical pedagogy invites oppressed stakeholders to question their consent. Because it is a pedagogy developed with marginalized students, rather something created for them or done to them, critical pedagogy empowers. This opportunity for transformation also compels the dominant culture to reflect on their role as oppressors of marginalized groups and provides a vocabulary and framework to accomplish the “building of a better world, the altering of the very ground upon which we live and work. (McLaren, 1989). After my daughter’s diagnosis, I was introduced to the concept of disability as a social construction, primarily through the work of James W. Trent (Inventing the Feeble-Mind, Defectives at the Fair, etc.). His work has given me a “language of possibility” and informed the way we raise our daughter. Our family exercises our own version of bi-culturism (Spring, 2013) in that while we try to equip our daughter to function in the world of the “abled”, our home is a haven where Cora is valued just for being Cora and our expectations of her center on her human-ness, not on her syndrome. When I read through this material and consider a con to Critical Pedagogy, it is not what the philosophy says or purports to accomplish, but rather what it omits that strikes me as significant. Leading thinkers in the field of Critical Pedagogy possess a power, if you will, to build a framework that dictates the injustices that are brought to light and from my perspective, this construction is largely inaccessible to people with disabilities. We rightly teach children about the cruelty of slavery and the subjugation of Native Americans, but there are no lessons on the forced institutionalization endured by thousands of citizens deemed “less than.” Educational inequalities are justifiably condemned when they are committed against people of color or women, but children with disabilities are consigned to an educational system that is still largely separate and unequal and they and their families are supposed to be grateful. For me, the big problem with Critical Pedagogy is that it stops short and by excluding a population that experiences ongoing injustice and discrimination at every level, it is either blind to or complicit in that injustice and discrimination. – Hettie Hueber

9. Jenny, your observation about teacher preparation is an important one and makes me think of a recent experience I had. I was at a Charter School application hearing and our district's Director of English Language Acquisition was questioning the applicant. He commended their plan for integrating Spanish language and cultures into the curriculum, but asked what plans they had in place for students who might come from Arabic or Asian cultures. Because CSU is located here, we have a growing population of international students. I think his point was that it's not just an English/Spanish situation and how can a school prepare for that? How can educators effectively become familiar with a multitude of cultures, languages, needs - not just one or two? While I don't know if you'd call this a con of multicultural education, it definitely would be a challenge to be surmounted. I wondered if you've seen this in your daughter's schools or field placement and how that challenge is being met. Thanks for your posting. - Hettie

10. Pro - Sylvester (1994) states, one of the main benefits of critical pedagogy is that it can “change social structures rather than merely replicating them” (309). Using progressive critical pedagogy, Sylvester attempted to change his students’ assumptions about the world around them. For instance, he explained that many of his students believed that if someone was homeless or unemployed, it was simply because they weren’t trying hard enough to get a job and contribute to society, but using a critical instructional method, Sylvester was able to help his students examine why they had this assumption, and why it may not necessarily be true. Without critical instruction schools simply “reproduce the structures of social life through the colonization (socialization) of student subjectives and by establishing social practices characteristic of the wider society” (McLaren, p.187). Con - As Delpit (1988) asserts, a problem with progressive, critical style instruction is that while it can be “ideal for some children, for others it [is] a disaster” (p.286). Sylvester provides many examples of students that experienced success under his critical instruction, but he also notes that there were students that had a more difficult time. One of Sylvester’s students, Derek, was even switched to a special education class the year following his experience with critical instruction. Critical style instruction did not help Derek improve his deficits in information processing, which leads me to wonder if critical methods are the best option for all students across the board. -Rosanna Hardin

10.1. Rosanna, Thanks for noting the difficulties that some children experience in this educational setting. There is an interesting tension between the potential positive outcomes o f progressive, critical pedagogy as evidenced by Sylvester and the idea presented by Delpit that some cultures value a more direct, traditional type of education. It seems that multi-cultural education and critical pedagogy don't necessarily work in concert with one another. Like Jenny, I think that Derek's difficulties probably predate his experience with Mr. Sylvester and wonder if having to function in that setting revealed something that should have been identified much earlier in his educational experience. Nevertheless, I wonder how this style of instruction can do a better job of addressing not just a child's need to see how the world really works for the purpose of social transformation, but also honor his/her home culture and the lessons learned there about their role at school. Hettie

11. Multicultural Education provides a platform for social empowerment. Spring states that, “social empowerment attempts to maintain cultural identity while promoting values of social justice and social action.” (Spring, 2013, p. 165) Participating in a multicultural curriculum engages students in dialogue promoting learning and deeper connections. Students and teachers are able to celebrate diversity while engaging in conversations of “dangerous discourse.” These kinds of conversations are appealing to students. Neito points out that “encouraging these kinds of conversations is a message to students that the classrooms belong to them” and “ meaningful dialogue can occur around issues that are central to students lives.” (Nieto, 2010, p. 123) Teacher preparation has proven to be complex in what is learned from observing the variations of the classroom dynamics and the differences in teaching styles. In reading the article by Sleeter and Grant, multicultural education methods are not uniform in preparation or delivery. In their research, there is a heavy focus “on the individual classroom teacher as the agent of school change.” However, they have found that, “individual teachers alone tend not to be successful agents of such large-scale school reforms.” (Sleeter&Grant,p. 437) How will classroom teachers receive proper tools and strategies to become better agents of change? If left to the individual teacher, there is much room for misinterpretation of the meaning of multicultural education. Nieto says that, “all good teaching, is about transformation,” explaining that it is “a deep transformation on a number of levels - individual, collective, and institutional.” (Nieto, 2010, p. 26) - Jenny Bach

12. The aspect of multicultural education that strikes me as fundamental and beneficial to the development of the whole person is the difference it makes in how all people view the world. Joel Spring notes that the United States is the most individualistic nation on earth and that Westerners tend to see the world in parts, rather than as a whole (Spring, 2013). In a world connected by technology that is becoming increasingly diverse, that worldview is counterproductive to the creation of a purposeful, egalitarian, just society. A thoughtful multicultural education could nurture the Confucian-idea that “people are interdependent and inextricably bonded to others” and create a “sense of responsibility to others along with a holistic view of society” (Spring, 2013). I believe that our individualistic spirit has played an important role in American history, but at the same time it hinders our ability to see beyond one narrow vision of what life should look like. Multicultural education can be a powerful tool to change this perspective, gifting us with an “allegiance to humanity and a concern for the welfare of all people.” As revealed in Sleeter and Grant’s work, “An Analysis of Multicultural Education in the United States”, a clear detractor for multicultural education is that there is no firm consensus of what that means. The authors note, “clearly, the term multicultural education means different things to different people. The only common meaning is that it refers to changes in education that are supposed to benefit people of color.” Even this succinct definition leaves out issues of gender, handicap, social class and others. With some experts believing that multicultural education should be broad and others holding that “attention to groups identified by other than ethnic status will hamper the development of multicultural education by rendering it too diffuse” developing a model of multicultural education that is meaningful becomes difficult. (1987) - Hettie Hueber

13. Critical Pedagogy uses what Habermas calls emancipatory knowledge to “help understand how social relationships are distorted and manipulated by relations of power and privilege.” (McLaren, 170) Paul Skilton Sylvester employed a progressive approach to this teaching style in his classroom when he created an urban Philadelphia classroom. This classroom gave kids the valuable opportunity to play out different roles in society that they may not have seen themselves in outside of the classroom walls. McLaren says that when students take a passive role in their education, they tend to take a passive role in life beyond education. When they participate in their education as the students in Sweet Cakes Town did, we should expect them to take a more active role in their future lives. His approach to critical pedagogy allowed students “ question why certain conditions exist, and try out new approaches in such areas as legislation, taxation, social services and labor/management relations.” (McLaren, 329) This allowed them to take this active role, learn about different roles in society and change their perceptions of themselves and others in the process. What I understood when I read the articles on critical pedagogy is that its goal is to create students who are able to become strong citizens in the dominant culture, who understand their cultural biases and can “examine how we have been constructed out of the prevailing ideas, values and worldviews of the dominant culture.” (McLaren p 189) To me, this approach seems to give students tools to help them fit into the dominant culture rather than embracing their culture and showing others how they could change the way they look at things. Spring talks about Confucian based vs. western based cultures and I see many valuable traits in the Confucian based societies and the ways that they see the whole rather than the individual parts. If we focus on teaching people how to integrate with the dominant culture, I worry that we might minimize some of those positive cultural traits and lose the value of our diverse society. --Heather Rowe

14. Multicultural Education- Write a pro and con--make sure no one else has included it!

14.1. One positive aspect of multi-cultural education is that by incorporating students own culture into schooling, it allows them to maintain and celebrate their cultural identity and “develop an acceptance, appreciation and empathy for the rich cultural and linguistic diversity in America.” (Sleeter & Grant p 428) Through this understanding coupled with a “competence in the public culture of the dominant group” (Sleeter & Grant p 423) will provide students with the tools to understand issues of all people and create solutions. This will lead to a more robust democratic citizen who is working to propel the rights of all citizens rather than just the majority. A downside of multi-cultural education is that it tends to be developed by the majority rather than the minority. Delpit shares various stories of minority teachers getting frustrated when they are “silenced” by “predominantly white teachers” (Delpit 280) organizing instruction to “best serve students of color” (Delpit 280). While all the teachers she discusses mean well, some aren’t equipped with a first hand understanding of the issues their students face and this puts them at a disadvantage in creating curriculum that will help them succeed. Oftentimes, language and culture are the focus and unequal social relationships are ignored. --Heather Rowe

14.2. Pro - One of the most important benefits of multicultural education is that it allows for and fosters biculturalism. As Spring notes children instructed with multicultural methods “learns to know and view the world in individualistic terms while still being able to switch to a collectivist view” (p.161). Delpit explains how this same idea can also be applied to language and how multiculturalism can foster the ability to switch between ways of speaking in different situations to serve one’s needs. Students “practice writing different forms to different audiences based on rules appropriate for each audience,” Delpit explains (p.295). This way, students don’t need to give up their mother tongue. Con - A con of multicultural education as described by Spring (2013) is that it is missing “an analysis of the intersection of different cultures” (p.166). Being “black” and being “white” is not necessarily determined by skin color. In Spring’s book, Jake Lamar reflects on his development of understanding race when he says “Black and white meant something beyond pigmentation” (p.176). Spring continues saying that for “most African American students, being successful in school means acting white” (p.175). Therefore a struggle in multicultural instructional is now to show African American students that succeeding in school and being Black are not mutually exclusive. As Spring states, the “battle is to empower … children so that they believe they can succeed in the world and they are not self-destructive” (p176). -Rosanna Hardin

14.3. Pro: Multicultural education promotes social equality in the way educators teach about diversity to incorporate curriculum about race, color, different social groups, minorities, etc., to help students better understand each other and reduce prejudice and level out educational opportunities. Christine Sleeter states that the “Multicultural Education approach promotes cultural pluralism and social equality by reforming the school program for all students to make it reflect diversity” (p.422). She explains that educators need to incorporate “unbiased curricula that incorporates the contributions of different social groups, women, and the handicapped” (p.422). Con: What I found was most shocking was that there is no research studies on multicultural education in the classroom for grades K-12. Sleeter points out that “some authors draw on related areas of research, such as bias materials, effects of bilingual education, desegregated schooling, teacher attitudes towards diverse students, and student friendships across race, gender, and handicap lines” (p.438). This can be an argument from the educational leaders who are reluctant to add new approaches to the curriculum that would teach diversity. We don't know how it will work in the classroom and how teacher will go about implementing and what forms it would take. They don't know how the students would respond and what problems would be encountered.-Erica Goodwin

15. Critical Pedagogy: Write a pro and con--make sure no one else has included it!

15.1. Pro: One pro to critical pedagogy would be that it allows the teacher and the students to learn together because the students have a voice because they have the knowledge because of their own environment outside of school. McLaren states that “the crucial factor here is that some forms of knowledge have more power and legitimacy than others. Why do we value scientific knowledge over informal knowledge?” (p. 169). There is technological knowledge which can be measured and tested. Then there is practical knowledge, where you would analyze social situations that are in a persons everyday life. Paul Sylvester states, “we must help our students cope with their present problems, and prepare them to overcome their future obstacles” (p. 329). By allowing the students to be so involved in the classroom activity of the Sweet Cakes Town, Sylvester helped his students gain knowledge and interest in issues that mattered and increased their skills that would be important in real life situations. He challenged them to figure out ways to overcome certain life obstacles and at the same time learned along side them about their own perceptions about themselves and their role in the world. Con: One con to critical pedagogy would be that some teachers would not feel as comfortable with learning together along side the students. I think it is hard to be open minded when you live a certain way and taught a specific way all your life. Lisa Delpit states, “Educators must open themselves to, and allow themselves to be affected by, these alternative voices” (p.296). It is hard to be a white, rich and educated teacher and try and understand where an african american or poor student comes from and connect on all levels. The communication across cultures can be a difficult issue that needs to be addressed to see what is best for the minority students so that their voices can be heard. -Erica Goodwin

15.1.1. Erica, I agree with your thought that it is not easy to be open minded when we all have backgrounds that have helped determine who we are. We are all biased in some ways even when we would like to think we are not and in a setting where you are thinking critically alongside your students about injustices and biases it is more likely that your biases might show through. Do you think it is acceptable to acknowledge biases in a classroom setting if you are expecting your students to do the same? - Heather Rowe

15.1.2. 100% yes! I think if we are expecting the students to be honest and open about biases and injustices, we as teachers need to be open as well to a point where we do not cross the professional line. I think it is good for students to see that we as teachers are human too and then they will feel like they can open up more and the rapport between the students and you will be stronger which will in return create open and strong classroom discussions.-Erica Goodwin

16. Thinking of your own education, what examples of critical or multicultural education do you remember encountering as a student? How would these look different if you were considering the experiences through the lens of a teacher?

16.1. Growing up in rural Indiana thirty years ago means that I didn’t receive much exposure to multi-cultural or critical pedagogy. It was, and still is, a homogenous community without much impetus to discuss cultural differences or social injustice. If I taught there, I hope that I’d be wise enough to remember that most kids are going to leave that tiny place, and they need to value equality, diversity, and the contributions of everyone. If the goal is to prepare kids to take part in the global community made possible by technology, it is foolish to confine their education to a single locale, point of view, or way of life. Hettie Hueber

16.2. My time away from school has almost matched my time in school, both K-12 and undergraduate work. Trying to recall specifics about critical or multicultural education is difficult. Although I remember a few classes that were more experiential, I am unable to remember any critical or multicultural aspects. When my oldest daughter was in the 4th grade, their class set up a mini society similar to Sweet Cakes Town in Mr. Sylvester’s class in Philadelphia. However, my daughters class did not include some of the more complex economic factors from the real world. The class had currency, but the management of money was loose and students were not held accountable for overspending. The teacher did not include societal differences such as low-income wage earners. The mini society program had a short lifespan, therefore, time to include more meaningful information was not available. Setting up this activity in my future classroom will require many hours of preparation in order for the students have a productive experience. As a teacher, I would need to understand the different cultures within my classroom so that representation is equal as well as knowing which economic issues to include that are not represented in the class. Paul Sylvester hits home when he states, “as teachers we must face our responsibilities to abandon the innocuous social studies curricula that do not take into account the abandoned buildings and crack vials that students pass on any walking trip to the fire station.” He continues with, “we must help our students cope with their present problems and prepare them to overcome future obstacles.” (Sylvester, 1994, p. 329) - Jenny Bach

16.3. I grew up in a very rural area in a town comprised of mostly white people, so I really didn’t see a lot of examples of multicultural education, and while I’m sure there were some examples of critical pedagogy, I’m struggling to remember any clear examples. However, in my observations of Mrs. Penfold’s third grade class, I did observe a similar critical practice to what Sylvester described. The class has a currency system, and students earn money for things like completing their work and helping each other. They don’t have store fronts like Sylvester described, but they do have community members in to speak to the kids and give them a better understanding of the barter system and trade, which they then apply to their class. They can trade with each other, purchase things from the class store, loan each other money and be fined for inappropriate behavior. - Rosanna Hardin

16.4. My elementary days were at least 24 years ago and from what I remember there was not much diversity in my school. We had a couple students that were a different race but I never really looked at them differently. I specifically remember one african american girl being a friend of mine but I never knew what her struggles as an african american student was. I saw her as the same as me but I think that is being a young kid and not being aware of the cultural differences. I do not remember having any class discussion about diversity. Now days, in the area that I could be teaching, there would be more diversity in the schools than where I grew up. I think with being in a larger city, you get that and as a teacher. I will have to understand that this is an issue that needs to be respected and even discussed as a teacher so that my students feel that they are getting the best educational experience no matter their race or difference.-Erica Goodwin

16.5. In middle school, we conducted projects on various countries as a way of learning how to do research and present our findings. For the first project, we were to research a country of our heritage and present that to the class as a way of bringing in our backgrounds and histories. I don’t recall being pushed towards social justice, but we were encouraged to talk to our family members as sources of information to bring into the classroom. I think as a teacher, I would want students to look more towards issues and differences between the country studied and the United States. I think making the comparison between countries would add another aspect to the project. -Chris

17. In what ways, if any, have you seen the backgrounds, experiences, and/or needs of the students in your field placement brought into the instructional practices of the classroom

17.1. In my placement school, there is a little girl who is not reading at grade level. One reason for this could be that her family is from Mexico and English is not the language spoken in her home. She knows her letters but many words are not familiar to her so she has a hard time with fluency because she is sounding out every letter to read a word rather than recognizing them. This flows through and impacts her comprehension as well. The teachers have placed her in a reading group with some of the younger kids who are focusing on fundamentals. They select books that they think she will enjoy and have her work with volunteers reading aloud with them. Their goal is that through these practices, she will be reading at grade level by the end of the year. --Heather Rowe

17.1.1. Over the past two years, the number of English Language Learners at my Field Placement site has nearly doubled, so they are working hard to provide the supports needed for these students. Currently, three ELA teachers work at the school not only to help students learn English, but also to assess their academic skills in a meaningful way so that struggles with language and struggles with learning can be differentiated. In addition, they support classroom teachers as needed and translate all home communications and all families get notices in both English and Spanish, which is a nuance I appreciate. Finally, this year the school began a Spanish program for English speakers so that they can better converse with ELL classmates and learn more about their cultures. Hettie Hueber

17.2. During my first few observations in the kindergarten classroom at Foothill Elementary, I observed the teacher speaking Spanish to children in her classroom. The children were ESL students that spoke very little English. During story time, when the teacher stopped to ask clarifying questions, she also asked the questions in Spanish and aloud time for the ESL students to answer. After speaking with the teacher, I learned that she is unaware of the ESL students background and experiences. My opinion is that the teachers willingness to accommodate the students may be considered a more primitive form of multicultural education. One that is driven by intuition and personal teaching experiences. - Jenny Bach

17.3. I know that reading is something that can be difficult to grasp onto when you are from a different country. I know of a couple students in a classroom that I have observed in had trouble reading and understand basic directions in their workbooks. They are of a different ethnicity and they are usually pulled aside at different times throughout the week to go and work with a teacher one on one. I think this is great because they are getting the help that they needed and this will aid them in learning what specific words mean that can eventually help them understand their work and succeed in their education.-Erica Goodwin

17.4. This semester I’ve been observing Mrs. Horton’s Algebra 1 class as well as her Algebra Extensions class. The extensions class is a literal extension of the Algebra 1 class and provides additional time and instruction for students who need it. Some of the students are in special ed, and to accommodate them, the class is team-taught by both Mrs. Horton and a Special Ed teacher. This doesn’t necessarily serve students based on their cultural background, but I thought it was a great example of how the instructional practices were altered based on the needs of the students, especially because I feel that a learning disability is just as important to consider as a language or cultural barrier. -Rosanna Hardin

17.5. The students that I have been observing at Crawford Elementary are at different academic levels and come from all sorts of backgrounds. Most of the students are minority students, with the majority of the school being Hispanic. One need of many of the students is a greater proficiency in English as many of the students have different native tongues at home. I would guess that more than half of the students speak another language at home other than English, at least this is the impression I have gotten in my time with the students. Language acquisition is a major emphasis at the school from what I have seen. -Chris