In an online discussion post of 200–300 words, respond to the following:
The readings in this module have highlighted the tendency of educators to view racial, ethnic, and cultural differences as either deficient or exotic. Ghosh and Abdi suggest that the promise of multicultural education has not been met. At the same time, all of the readings suggest promising practices that educators can develop to address the learning needs of all students in diverse, democratic societies. Discuss which practices you feel are most critical and why.
Respond also to at least one other post.
cultural assumptions about teaching and learning affect the educational process. Pransky 372
Pransky introduces the concept of Discourse community developed by Gee’s concept of Discourse Community as a way to understand the challenges these students face. Gee (1990) (p. 372) Students from the dominant group possess social capital to succeed in an educational environment that is currently set up. Addressing the Discourse community as a concept aids in enabling other discourse communities to prevail allowing the teacher to reconceptualize curriculum in order to encompass another worldview/method of approaching material.
This reconceptualization is arrived at via “real-time inquiry” (Pransky, p. 372). As one develops more awareness, knowledge, and experience with a cultural perspective on learning, one is better able to reconceptualize and then redirect or refocus one’s teaching within the flow of the lesson…In real-time inquiry, especially, it is important to engage in dialogue with students to try to discover the understandings they have of the lesson task or interaction. (Pransky, p. 372).
“Reflection on Discourse Community mismatch takes the onus of breaking the learning impasse off the student and puts it on the teacher, where it belongs.” (Pransky, p. 373).
By placing the ownership on teachers to bridge this for students, next steps would be to build this into teacher training, pedagogy, and development of practices to create an inclusive classroom community. Implementation in the classroom, could be done in a multiple of methods: with cultural aids (Guo refers to a paraprofessional), as referenced in case studies outlined in Guo’s article (2012) and by reflective inquiry using the concept of Discourse Community to understand and meet students where they are. By understanding their home discourse community and how it could affect student interpretation of material presented, teachers can reflect upon the best way to re-present material, and understand ways in which students may not be able to receive instruction.
Guo states that “[t]hey then understood that the lesson structure itself was a barrier to participation, as it challenged an important value in the children’s home Discourse Community…” (p. 374).
Pransky refers to Vygotsky’s “zone of proximal development” (ZPD) as the “…gap between what they can do independently and do with assistance…” (p. 377) as a way of understanding where to meet students “…exactly where students need assistance or “scaffolding” (Applebee & Langer, 1983). (Pransky, p. 377)
Meta inquiry is an important method of breaking a pre-existing pattern of “[equating] ‘difference’ with ‘deficiency’ also means that pre-service teachers and school administrators often fail to recognize and draw on knowledge that immigrant parents hold about their children (Jones, 2003; Ramirez, 2003).” (Pransky, p. 372).
“Dewey also acknowledged the importance of translating beliefs into action.” (Guo, p. 8). It allows teachers to enact policy in the classroom with reflective-in-action (Guo, p. 8) practice and reconstructing lessons to offer scaffolding, in various and specific ways, that suit individuals of various minority groups.
The study calls for the reconstruction of difference and the inclusion of epistemological pluralism, particularly immigrant parent knowledge, within teacher education.” (Guo, p. 4).
In their daily encounters with cultural diversity, many teachers face barriers to understanding diversity. One such barrier is a generalized fear of diversity (Palmer, 1998). in (Guo, p. 5)
School culture and climate lead to institutional practices that systematically marginalize or pathologize difference. (Guo, p. 5)
The equation of “difference” with “deficiency” also means that pre-service teachers and school administrators often fail to recognize and draw on knowledge that immigrant parents hold about their children (Jones, 2003; Ramirez, 2003). School staff may hold beliefs – often tacit – that the knowledge of immigrants, particularly those from developing countries, is incompatible, inferior, and hence, invalid (Abdi, 2007; Dei, 1996). Non-recognition of immigrant parents’ knowledge can again be causally attributed to misconceptions about difference, and lack of knowledge about different cultures (Guo, 2009; Honneth, 1995). (p. 5)
Dewey also acknowledged the importance of translating beliefs into action. Similarly, Schön (1983) described action as an essential aspect of the reflective process. In his view, reflective practitioners are those who engage in reflection-in-action by observing and critiquing their own thought processes and actions. The original concept of reflection-in-action may be complemented by reflection-on-action – that is teachers’ reflections on their teaching theories and procedures both before and after teaching (Calderhead & Gates, 1993; Cosh, 1998; Guo, 2005). (Guo, p. 8)
Reflection in action…
it is not due to a cognitive deficiency, a “lack of thinking ability,” or diminished “academic potential.” (Pransky, 381)
nd built off their strengths and experiences. Second, with Seiha they were in a safe, support ive Discourse Community, creating a cocoon of empowerment within the larger class. In feeling empowered academically and socially, they could demonstrate their full competence with confidence. (p. 381)
Ghosh, R., & Abdi, A. A. (2013). Chapter 3: “Issues in multicultural education.” In Education and the politics of difference (2nded. Canadian perspectives) (pp. 45–84). Toronto, ON: Canadian Scholars’ Press.
Guo, Y. (2012). Exploring linguistic, cultural and religious diversity in Canadian schools. Journal of Contemporary Issues in Education, 7(1),.4-23.
Pransky, K., & Bailey, F. (2003). To meet your students where they are, first you have to find them: Working with culturally and linguistically diverse at-risk students. The Reading Teacher, 56(4), 370–383.