Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Recipe for Culturally Responsive Teaching

Hello all, this is also my first time blogging, I feel confused and excited all at once. I thought the Brown article was quick and easy to read. It was quick and to the point almost like a recipe for teaching diverse classes. If you add this to your teaching this is what will happen. It was the why's and hows of culturally responsive teaching. Though it was an easy read I didn't enjoy it as much as the Johnson or Delpit article. There was no heart, or evidence in the article. It was just: this is what you need to do and this is how you do it. There was no examples of classroom experience, or student comments, teacher struggles. It was just the author stating what needs to be done. As I said before, a recipe for teaching. Perhaps that is why as I read other blogs everyone has the same comments, no one really trusts Brown because he has nothing to back up his statements.
To comment on what he actually said in the article I believe it is along the lines of the other articles we read except that there is no evidence. I think of this article as an outline of the points that have been brought up in the other readings. The very first point on including parents on student learning I saw was a heated debate for some. I agree it is very important to have parent involvement. This is something I struggle with in my classrooms. What is the easiest way to get in touch with 125 parents. I try sending home letters through the students and 25% are left behind in the classroom, I find another 25% strewn in the halls, I probably get a response from a few and the rest are never heard from. They are not reaching the homes I need them to reach. Getting student information from guidance isn't always an easy chore either. It just seems we have to jump through hoops to get in touch with parents. Our school has one night for parent teacher conferences and that is it. I wish they had an open house at the beginning of the year to introduce parents to the teachers. It would be so much easier to set up communication right off the back. I'm sorry I am sort of rambling. Anyway, I do believe what the others said about having the time to do this. It seems that the state wants to continue to add time onto our jobs to teach more but we have so little time to prep and do everything else.
I agree with Brown and Delpit and the others that we have to be more aware of the cultural background of our students. The only tool Brown offered was to ask other teachers with that background and as Deanna said, our teachers are predominately white. How come we never have any professional development on this type of stuff. I know next year I want to start off finding out more about how my students learn but I want to know the correct way to do this. What I think would be helpful in this class is if perhaps we worked together to write up a questionnaire or survey we could give to our students that would reflect back to us what kind of instruction they need, student-centered, direct, cooperative learning etc. I know my teaching is a mix of everything because I feel every student learns differently and if I do a little bit of everything then everyone will have a chance to do well in my class.
As I said in the beginning I feel Brown has a lot of good points but I wish he had something to back it up. I hope everyone has a great vacation. Is there a word for a person who rambles in their blogs because that's me. Jen


Dr. Lesley Bogad said...

Ah! So you are getting a head for theory, are you? Bartolome would be so happy that you are resisting the "recipe" model of practice. Some would say that Brown is more of a conceptual model but I know what you mean about missing the analysis and the data!

As for the rambling voice... I find that blogging brings out a completely different voice for me. I just can't stay focused on my academic voice. It slurs a bit here, but in a good way. :)


Mindy said...

I like your recipe metaphor. Don't you think the best recipes are the ones where you keep some basics, but spice it up with some unknowns?