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The Cultural Contexts of Teaching and Learning Stuart Greene Associate Professor of English Director of Education, Schooling, and Society Co-founder of.

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Presentation on theme: "The Cultural Contexts of Teaching and Learning Stuart Greene Associate Professor of English Director of Education, Schooling, and Society Co-founder of."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Cultural Contexts of Teaching and Learning Stuart Greene Associate Professor of English Director of Education, Schooling, and Society Co-founder of No Parent Left Behind University of Notre Dame

2 Research on Race Bedtime Stories and Book Reports: Connecting Parent Involvement and Family Literacy. Teachers College Press, 2010. Literacy as a Civil Right: Reclaiming Social Justice in Literacy Research and Teaching. NY: Peter Lang, 2008. Making Race Visible: Literacy Research for Cultural Understanding. Teachers College Press, 2003.

3 Culture and Student Learning Students each have a unique culture influenced by family, peer groups, community, faith, social class, race, ethnicity, and gender We can learn about students’ culture by having authentic conversations about the contexts of home, community, and school that motivate students Students’ life experiences and culture can serve as the basis for teaching and learning We can validate students’ culture as sources of learning to foster ownership, engagement, self-esteem, and learning

4 The Goals of the Workshop Develop a complex understanding of culture Translate this understanding into things we can do as teachers

5 No Parent Left Behind Build relationships among families creates the basis for active participation in community and school Focus on developing capacity and leadership among families Bridge the gap in culture and power between families and educators

6 NPLB Study of Family Culture Who are the families whose children attend school? Where did they grow up? What were their own experiences in school? What roles did their own families play in their education? How do families define what it means to be engaged in their children’s education?

7 The Culture of Families Families bring different needs, assumptions, beliefs, aspirations, and desires to their children’s education. Family members interpret the roles they can play in their children’s education differently, including the ways they relate to teachers and organize activities for their children in their communities. Families also vary in what they give priority to and the extent to which they have access to resources to help their children succeed in school.

8 Literacy as a Cultural Practice Teachers in language arts often encourage families to read with their children for 20 or 30 minutes each night. Take a few moments and write down your reflections about how you would carry out this assignment. Let’s discuss similarities and differences and the sources of our knowledge about how to approach this assignment.

9 The Role of Culture in Shaping Identity Encompasses ways of viewing the world and navigating one’s place within it Influences what we value and believe Informs the ways we process information, solve problems, and communicate Is shaped by the interactions with we have with others in developing our cultural repertoires Requires that we understand different cultures

10 For Reflection What do I know about my students’ home and community life? Who are the individuals who influence my students most? What are the contexts that seem to motivate my students to learn? What are the topics, issues, and themes that generate high levels of engagement, effort, and interest? How do my students learn, process information, and organize the information I want them to learn?

11 Sources for Learning about Our Students Meetings with Students and their Families Questionnaires on the First Day of Class Literacy Autobiographies Photographic Journals Authentic Conversations Inside and Outside of Class

12 The Role of Teacher Expectations Our beliefs as teachers have powerful effects on students, especially deficit-notions of teaching based on race, class, gender, ethnicity Students will perform at the level of our expectations Our expectations will affect self-concept, motivation, levels of aspiration, classroom conduct, and interactions with students have with us As our expectations and caring increase, so does achievement

13 Culture and Language Variation The greater an individual’s range and use of communicative abilities, “the more capable he or she is of functioning in various relationships and interactions...” (Gay, 83). Use of a non-mainstream dialect does not interfere with learning or mastery of English

14 Strategies for Teaching Language Determine if a particular variety of language is appropriate to a given situation, purpose, and audience Provide authentic opportunities to practice language skills Insure that students understand the language of power (the style, register, and vocabulary of Standard Written English)

15 Curriculum and Students’ Lived Experiences Build on what students know and are familiar with Identify issues that enable students to use their experiences as a basis for learning problem solving skills, critical thinking, and academic content Select texts that connect with students’ everyday lives as well as more canonical texts

16 Focus on the Local in Teaching Math Count different types of stores, places of worship, service providers, billboards Calculate the total number of stores and proportion of different types of stores Create a graph Calculate percentages in a 4-block radius Compare different neighborhoods

17 Assessment of Student Learning in Studies of Math Increase in academic efficacy Improved inference making, comprehension Improved clarity of explanations and audience appropriate communication

18 Study of Language in Mass Media and Canonical Texts What do canonical texts such as Shakespeare and students’ choices have in common? What do we learn about ourselves by studying differences? What does this say about “taste,” conceptions of beauty, and aesthetics?

19 Assessment of Student Learning in Studies of Literacy Better reading comprehension, increased writing quality, and better able to draw inferences Increased knowledge about various forms, structures, functions, and used of language Expanded vocabularies, sentence pattern Improved self-esteem and self-confidence

20 Student Perceptions of Their Most Effective Teachers Provides social support inside and outside of class Relates the subject to their personal interests Listens to what they say Knows them well Believes they can do well in school

21 Student Perceptions (con’t) Sets high standards Expects them to do their best all of the time Thinks it is important for them to complete their homework every night Believes it is important to do well in class Organizes the day to maximize student learning Focuses on what is best for student learning when making important decisions Encourages them to do extra work when they don’t understand something

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