Pathways to Success in School: Culturally Responsive Teaching

By Etta R. Hollins; Eileen I. Oliver | Go to book overview

Preface

Finding James Baldwin and writing him down at an Episcopal church camp during the Watts riots in 1965 (I was fifteen) probably determined the direction of my intellectual life more than did any other single factor. I wrote and rewrote verbatim his elegantly framed paragraphs, full of sentences that were at once somehow Henry Jamesian and King Jamesian, yet clothed in the cadences and figures of the spirituals . . .

-- Henry Louis Gates Jr. ( 1990, p. 58)

In Culturally Responsive Teaching ( 1991), Villegas explains the difference between mainstream children, for whom school is an extension of the home and community, and children from parallel cultures, whose classrooms often clash with their home environments. For these children there is "discontinuity" in language and in the application of prior knowledge and, therefore, they are denied equitable access to learning. This theory of cultural mismatch posits that academic achievement is affected by the relation between school practices and values and those found in students' home culture ( Hollins, 1996).

The purpose of this book is to help preservice and inservice teachers think about human diversity in ways that facilitate planning and engaging in productive teaching and learning in classrooms. This includes developing a metacognitive perspective and participating in learning experiences that are likely to expand one's own understanding of difference and human diversity.

To better serve an increasingly diverse population, it is imperative that teachers improve their competence in selecting and developing culturally responsive curricula and instructional approaches that better facilitate learning for all students. Teachers must be able to strategically select or develop instructional approaches that build on their students' learning propensities, cognitive schemata, experiential backgrounds, and perceptions in order to provide equitable access to learning.

This text is designed to assist preservice and inservice teachers in identifying pathways to productive teaching and learning for students from culturally and experientially diverse backgrounds. Each teacher practices

-xiii-

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