Creating Highly Motivating Classrooms for All Students

Article excerpt

Margery B. Ginsberg/Raymond J. Wlodkowski Jossey - Bass Inc., San Francisco, CA, 2000 $29.95, ISBN 0-7870-4330-4

Creating Highly Motivating Classrooms for All Students, by Margery B. Ginsberg and Raymond J. Wlodkowski, is a motivational framework for culturally responsive teaching. The book is divided into three parts which move logically from understanding culture and motivation in Part One to the elements of the author's Motivational Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching in Part Two. Part Three presents wide building support and skills and district-wide implementation. Worthwhile features include practical exercises for both classrooms and school professional development activities that vary in format and utilize case studies, simulations, cooperative group activities, as well as individual, dyad and triad responses. Each exercise is complete in that it does not merely state general comments, but provides all specific pieces (as actual full case studies, rubrics) that would be needed to complete the strategy. Chapters contain exhibits that provide artifacts as profiles, rubrics, sample agreements, and guides. Within Part Two each chapter concludes with a useful checklist related to the framework component and an activities guide that categorizes the activities described in the chapter.

Chapters One through Three provide research support and concept development for the basic thesis of the authors related to motivation and culture. Chapter One "Culture and the Motivation to Learn" presents the basic conceptual framework for the book. Motivation is viewed as intrinsic and owned by the student, not the teacher. Motivation and culture are bound together, as culture provides a world view. However, each individual exists in his/her own specific culture and context. The common effort-reward system may have no value for many students. The authors feel that four motivational conditions are necessary in the classroom: establishing inclusion, developing positive attitudes, enhancing meaning, and engendering competence. These conditions provide the bases of their framework. Along with providing opportunity for student motivation, teachers need to be concerned with understanding their own culture, values and bias as influenced by their own social content.

Chapter Two, "Critical Features of a Culturally Responsive School," focuses on comprehensive school-wide planning. The King School is provided as an example of the framework in action. The authors warn that along with complexity comes conflict.

Chapter Three, "Culturally Responsive Curriculum," stresses the need for transformations rather than cosmetic changes that are considered a contribution or additive approach. For example heroes and holidays are part of an additive approach that provides certain times of the year when contributions by minorities are discussed. However, transformations are systemic changes that would integrate instruction with the overlay of a multicultural perspective.

Chapters Four through Eight concentrate on the specific components of the framework. Although the components are interrelated, they are discussed separately. Chapter Four gives a definition of the framework, which is a macro cultural pedagogical model. An extensive sample history lesson plan is included which incorporates the major aspects of the framework.

Chapter Five discusses the concept of inclusion based on the principles of respect and connectedness. Several activities are explored that create opportunities for multidimensional sharing. Strategies are applicable to the classroom, as well as school wide. Furthermore, the authors provide strategies for negotiating conflict and dealing with resistance--two common issues in response to change.

Chapter Six discusses positive attitude. Positive attitude is considered a result of both relevance and choice. Choice concerns what will be shared, how, what, when, where and how areas are assessed. …