This is my first blogging experience but already I am thinking that this would be a great tool to use in my own classroom. Hope your vacations have been as restful and relaxing as mine has been. I am heading to Boston in the morning and already made the trip to Western Mass to visit my family.
So back to the blogging...
First, I agree with Dave's point about the "all the time in world argument." I found myself writing comments like when and how do I fit this in too? The constant parent communication has been easier this year for me as I've strived to obtain an open-line with my online gradebook and email system. This connection helps b/c parents can see the expectations I have and why their child is or is not living up to them but at the same time, I tend to get the "Why did Johnny miss this one homework?" and not the "Why hasn't Jenny done a single assignment all quarter?" emails. The suggestions that the Brown article suggests such as sending weekly letters or going to parents' home don't seem too realistic for a high school teacher with 5 different classes and at least 125 students.
In addition, the point Deanna made with her comment regarding student centered vs. direct instruction also kept popping up in my comments. As I've now read Delpit, Bartolome and now this article, I agree with Deanna's opinion that we should strive to do both. I am not sure if Delpit would agree but I think that she would state that we should provide the most culturally appropriate education. I think this article elludes to that same notion that Delpit has.... that "people from different cultures learn in different ways." I think that when teachings classes like I teach at NPHS, I need to appeal to all types of learners and with this differentiation is key! You can't teach to one type of learner (kinestethic, visual, auditory) just like you can't teach to one type of student (white, black, middle class, lower class) because I find that most of my students blur so many of these defined lines with their cultures and learning styles!
Finally, I like the point in the section entitled, "Culturally Mediated Instruction" that stated students need to understand that there is more then one way to interpret a statement, event, or question." One of my favorite books as a history teacher is a book on the What If's in history. I love having students write their own what if's as well as writing historical narratives. When they think outside the box historically, they begin to get out of their cultural comfort zone. My ultimate goal then is to move to the point made for number 7: teacher as facilitator. I hope that reading these articles means I am learning and exploring how to do just that effectively for all of my students!
Enjoy the rest of your week off!!!