Acquiring a knowledge base,
Personal and professional
self-awareness, and Dialogues about cultural
diversity (Gay, 2000).
Acquiring a Knowledge Base
Teachers must become more culturally responsive by working
to expand their knowledge about ethnic and cultural diversity in education (Gay,
2000). G. Smith (1998) has identified 13 components of multicultural
education that he considers necessary for inclusion in teacher education.
These are: ideological foundations; learning styles; sociocultural contexts of
human growth and development; essentials of culture; experiential knowledge; and
principles of culturally responsive curriculum design and classroom instruction.
Other helpful resources for the professional preparation of teachers for
culturally responsible pedagogy is Preparing Teachers for Cultural Diversity,
edited by J. King, Hollins, and Hayman (1997) and Professional Development
Guide for Educators: The Multicultural Resource Series, Volume 1, edited by
P. Gorski, G. Shin, and M. Green (2000).
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Personal and Professional
Knowledge alone is not enough to ensure teachers are
considering multicultural education in the classroom (Gay, 2000).
Acquiring a knowledge base should be done in addition to thorough
self-reflection. Teachers must examine their own beliefs about relationships
among culture, ethnicity, and intellectual ability; the expectations they hold
for students from different ethnic groups; and how their beliefs and
expectations are evident in instructional behaviors. If teachers
themselves are not aware of their own cultural lenses, they can inadvertently
hinder educational opportunities for diverse students or impede their abilities
to work for change of negative beliefs. For these reasons, self-awareness
is critical for the effectiveness of culturally responsive caring.
To facilitate this self-awareness, two resources are
highly recommended. Spindler and Spindler (1993, 1994) and Bennett (1995)
both have designed models for developing this awareness. These offer
methods for explaining how teachers can observe their own classroom behavior as
they occur. The Spindler and Spindler model is "cultural
therapy." This guides teachers in comprehending their own cultural
identities and in deconstructing their cultural embededness of others (Gay,
Bennett's (1995) model was created from the Teacher as
Decision Maker Program at Indiana University. It incorporates decision
making and reflective practice in teacher preparation. Within this model,
teachers begin by stating their personal philosophies of teaching through
choosing among seven conceptual options. They then examine their
instructional actions and reflect through interviewing. If discrepancies
between beliefs and actions are uncovered, teachers are challenged to explain
and resolve these discrepancies. This may involve learning how to adapt
teaching behaviors (Gay, 2000).
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Dialogues About Cultural
Critical to developing culturally responsive caring is
participating in discussions with others about self-reflections and interactions
(Gay, 2000). Dialogues should involve individuals who have some expertise
to help teachers analyze their behaviors and improve them. Other
participants, such as professional peers, students, and supervisors, are welcome
in the dialogue, and ideally should reflect multiple ethnic groups.
Participants should work together to share insights on the matters under
consideration. The intention of these dialogues is for the members
to learn how to talk about ethnic and cultural differences, attain cultural
sensitivity, , and identify ideas and issues that can improve pedagogical
practices. A suggested reference for further understanding of the dialogue
process is Schoem, Frankel, and Lewis' (1993) Multicultural Teaching in the
Further ideas for stimulating discussion among groups are
to include written stories, films, and videos* as part of the group dynamic.
Examples of these can include: The Color of Fear (Mun Wah, 1994), Rosewood
(Peters & Barone, 1997), Eye of the Storm (1970) and its sequel A
Class Divided (1986), Stand and Deliver (Menendez, 1988), Something
Strong Within (Nakamura, 1994), Ethnic Notions (Biggs, 1987) Eyes
on the Prize (Hampton, 1987), and Smoke Signals (Estes &
*Also see a more detailed list of movies and view
the multicultural skit to observe teachers engaged in a multicultural
dialogue as part of the InTime Multicultural Considerations site.
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Bennett, C.I. (1995). Teacher Perspectives as a Tool for Reflection,
Partnerships, and Professional Growth. Paper presented at the annual
meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco.
Biggs, M. (Producer & Director). (1987). Ethnic Notions
[Video]. San Francisco: California Newsreel.
Estes, L., & Rosenfelt, S. (Producers). (1998). Smoke Signals
[Film]. New York: Miramax Films.
Gay, G. (2000). Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, &
Practice. New York: Teachers College
Gorski, P., Shin, G., Green, M. (Eds.). (2000). Professional
Development Guide for Educators. The Multicultural Resource Series, Volume 1.
Washington DC: National Education Association.
Hampton, H. (Executive Producer). (1987). Eyes on the Prize, I-VIII
[Video]. Los Angeles: PBS.
Menendez, R. (Director). (1988). Stand and Deliver [Film].
Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video.
Mun Wah, L. (Producer and Director). (1994). The Color of Fear [Film].
Berkeley, CA: Stir Fry Productions.
Nakamura, R. A. (Producer). (1994). Something Strong Within [Film].
Los Angeles: Japanese American National Museum.
Peters, J., & Barone, T. (Producers). (1997). Rosewood [Film].
Burbank, CA: Warner Brothers.
Schoem, D., Frankel, L., Zuniga, X., & Lewis, E.A. (Eds.). (1993). Multicultural
Teaching in the University. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Smith, G.P. (1998). Common Sense about Uncommon Knowledge: The Knowledge
Bases for Diversity. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges for
Spindler, G., & Spindler, L. (1993). The process of culture and
person: Cultural therapy and culturally diverse schools. In P. Phelan
& A.L. Davidson (Eds.), Renegotiating Cultural Diversity in American
Schools (pp. 21-51). New York: Teachers College.
Spindler, G. & Spindler, L. (Eds.). (1994). Pathways to Cultural
Awareness: Cultural Therapy with Teachers and Students. Thousand Oaks,