Promoting Successful Practices for More Students: Comments on New Multicultural Texts for Teacher Preparation

Article excerpt

The following highly recommended books provide excellent summer reading as well as new insights to help us understanding the role of race, ethnicity, culture, and language in the learning-teaching process. The scholarship and research contained in these volumes are useful to scholars who prepare students to serve and educate our children.

The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities, Sonia Nieto [Teachers College Press, 1999, 1-800-575-6566, ISBN 0-8077-37828, pbk, 194; $22.95].

Ostensibly, the goal of U.S. schooling is to educate students equally; however, as Sonia Nieto and other multiculturalists point out, this goal does not necessarily include all students.Al fin, a book grounded in a conceptual understanding ofthe tenets of multicultural education and cognizant of the critical role multicultural education plays in school reform that will enables us to move theory and advocacy a step closer to a language of pedagogy.

Nieto uses the metaphor "the light in their eyes" to personalize the power of education-clearly positioning human interaction at the heart of the learning and teaching process. Major strengths of this text include: descriptive exemplary teaching content and instructional strategies; powerful student perceptions and reactions to classroom events; research-based commentary of the socio-political context of schooling; and viewing the education of all children as a hopeful and powerful enterprise.

Reading, Writing, &Learning in ESL:A Resource Book for K-12 Teachers, Suzanne F. Peregoy & Owen F. Boyle [Longman, 1997, 1-800-322-1377, http://longman.awl.com/education; ISBN 0-8013-1628-6; pbk., 378 pgs; $33.75].

This exemplary book presents critical knowledge needed to understand students' language and literacy development as a social process. It is theoretically grounded and framed by critical cultural dimensions that impact teachers' behaviors and students' displays of linguistic, academic, and competence. Suzanne F. Peregoy and Owen F. Boyle maintain that today's teachers will encounter students different from themselves in language and culture; therefore, they will be challenged to advance Englishlanguage learners' ability to speak, read, write, and learn in their new language.

Although designed primarily as a text for use in university classrooms, this book is also highly recommended as a valuable resource for teachers in the field. Features unique to this text include: the impact of culture on learning; linking first and second language acquisition theory to learningteaching instructional practices; clearly delineated assessment models for beginning and intermediate English language learners; and contextual application to literature and content area learning.

Pathways to Success in School: Culturally Responsive Teaching, Etta R. Hollins & Eileen I. Oliver (Eds.) [Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999, 1201-236-9500, www.erlbaum.com; ISBN 0-8058-2806-0; pbk., 211 pgs; $24.50].

By gathering scholars and practitioners from different content areas, Etta R. Hollins and Eileen I. Oliver demonstrate how learning is displayed in varied contexts with particular students. This rare and needed volume helps teachers interpret the critical linkages between the social context of schooling and students' experiential background and cognitive preferences.

With a focus on reflective practice, the authors in this volume persuade teachers to examine their cultural positions and personal values present in the decisionmaking process used to select curricular content, design instructional strategies, and evaluate student achievement in curricular areas such as music, math, science, literacy, and history.

Contributors include Karla Hollins, Etta R. Hollins, Norma C. Presmeg, Fran Davis Perkins, Keith McElroy, Luis C. Moll, Cornel Pewewardy, Victor Villanueva, Jr., Sonya Y. Shropshire, Steven Z. Athanases, Alicia Mueller, and Phyllis Killam Abell. …