Friday, November 8, 2013

Teaching to Urban / Minority Students Differently

Teaching to Urban / Minority Students Differently


some  interesting bits:

Uekawa et al (2007) found that Asians are the only major ethnic group that prefers individual work over group work due to the cultural value associated with bringing honor to the family through individual achievement. 

They also concluded that group work benefited learning for Latino students, more so than other groups. Black students have been found to learn best with activities involve a high level of movement and verbal sharing in a communal setting (Parsons, 2008), which is commonly misinterpreted by white teachers as misbehavior and signs of defiance (Downey and Pribesh, 2004). Accordingly, urban college faculty should:

The poor performance of urban public school students is attributed to issues of race and income within urban centers. Griggs et al. (2006) document that Hispanic and Black students continue to score lower than white and Asian students on standardized science test scores in their senior year of high-school. In addition, statistics from New York State indicate that pre-college urban classrooms are less likely to be led by highly qualified teachers than those in rural settings (Brackett et al., 2008). Although the situation has been improving since 2001's No Child Left Behind Act, schools with the greatest percentage of poor and non-white students still employ the least qualified teachers (Boyd et al., 2007). Thus bright students with high potential may be arriving in college classrooms with deficits from their pre-college education.

Teaching to Diversity
In their survey of teacher beliefs regarding minority students and students from low-income families, Bryan and Atwater (2002) noted common misconceptions and related classroom responses that could adversely affect learning outcomes in diverse classrooms. Two of the most common and problematic beliefs held by teachers of diverse students, as compiled by Bryan and Atwater (2002), are discussed below.

Misconception 1: "Students from culturally diverse backgrounds are less capable than other students"
Instructors who hold this belief, whether overtly or tacitly, tend to define less ambitious learning goals, provide students with less autonomy, allow less interaction between students, and tend to rely more heavily on passive teaching methods. In direct contrast, researchers have found that minority students respond most favorably to inquiry in which they have some degree of control, and resist lessons that they perceive as being imposed upon them (Moll et al., 1992).
  • Real-world problems with no clear answer, and with implications for the well-being of the community, are ideal for engaging a diverse class of urban students (Bouillion and Gomez, 2001; Basu and Calabrese Barton, 2007; Buxton et al., 2008).
Misconception 2: "Teachers should treat all students the same, regardless of their class, gender, or race"

This attitude, which is referred to as "dysonscious racism," is most commonly held by white teachers (Bryan and Atwater, 2002) who hold 85% of college faculty positions in the U.S. (NCES, 2006), as well as faculty who teach in predominantly white colleges (Marbach-Ad et al., 2008). This belief leads to teaching methods that do not take into account the lack of commonality in educational and cultural background in an urban classroom. For example, students whose secondary schooling was done outside of the United States may not understand references to specific events in U.S. history, or analogies that refer to American popular culture (e.g., television, food products)

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