Culture in School Learning has been written as a textbook to help teacher candidates and teachers develop a deep understanding of the meaning of culture in teaching and learning. This book is based on the premise that culture and cognition are inseparable. The processes of learning and thinking result from a process of socialization into cultural values and practices. An important aspect of the premise on which this book is based is that culture is historical, dynamic, and changing in response to environmental factors and life circumstances. However, even when two or more cultures exist in close proximity and one adopts the language of the other, each maintains distinctive features that produce subtle influences on cognition and perception. Knowledge of the relationship among culture, cognition, and learning enables teachers to attend to students’ cultural and experiential backgrounds in planning meaningful and productive learning experiences.
Overview of This Website
This website provides additional tasks to deepen candidates’ understanding of the life experiences of underrepresented groups, how life experiences influence differences in perceptions and values, and how understanding students’ cultural and experiential backgrounds is instrumental in planning meaningful and productive learning experiences. The resources on this website are PowerPoint presentations that include the main ideas for each chapter, a worksheet that includes the tasks, and related resources. The following is a brief description of the content of this website.
The first two chapters in Culture in School Learning are focused on understanding the relationship among societal ideology, national core values, and teacher perceptions that influence teaching practices. The tasks on this website for these two chapters extend the reading and the suggested learning experiences in the textbook. The tasks for Chapter 1 bring attention to the intersection of teacher accountability linked to high-stakes testing, teaching traditionally underserved students, and the influence of teacher perception on teaching practices. The tasks for Chapter 2 are focused on re-examining the primary documents that form the basis for the nation’s core values, how experiences with the national core values differ for underrepresented groups in the United States, and the extent to which teachers understand and/or share the experiences of underrepresented groups.
Chapter 3 in Culture in School Learning is about going within and outside the self to understand the experience of race and racism in the United States. The tasks on this website for Chapter 3 call for examining the ideology of extremism and hatred, the experiences of groups that are the target of hate crimes, schools as powerful socialization agents for relationships among individuals and groups, and the role of teachers in promoting national social values of equity and social justice.
Chapter 4 in Culture in School Learning is focused on learning about students from diverse cultural and experiential backgrounds. This chapter presents a systematic approach for teachers to examine their own beliefs about instruction, beliefs about students whose cultural and experiential backgrounds differ from their own, and for collecting data about students’ experiential backgrounds, interests, and values. The tasks for Chapter 4 included on this website focus on ways to develop deep knowledge about the community and social context in which students live, and how this knowledge can be used to frame the curriculum and develop meaningful and productive learning experiences. Further, candidates and teachers learn about students who have been displaced from their home and/or family and explore ways to provide academic, emotional, and social support.
The purpose of Chapter 5 in Culture in School Learning is to help candidates and teachers think about ways to make the curriculum more accessible and meaningful for diverse and underserved students. There have been numerous district, state, and federal mandates and incentives aimed at improving learning outcomes for underserved students; yet underperformance has persisted. The purpose of the tasks for Chapter 5 included on this website is to help candidates and teachers become knowledgeable about the substance and impetus for contemporary federal education mandates and the response of particular stakeholders.
Chapter 6 in Culture in School Learning is focused on the general elements of meaningful and productive learning in elementary and secondary schools for students from diverse cultural and experiential backgrounds. The tasks for Chapter 6 included on this website are focused on understanding how to make connections among the big ideas and concepts for a specific discipline or subject area, local district curriculum standards, and common core standards; and how to make these ideas and standards accessible for traditionally underserved students.
Chapter 7 in Culture in School Learning presents a framework for understanding cultural diversity in the classroom and for learning to teach traditionally underserved students from diverse cultural and experiential backgrounds. Key components of this framework are culturally mediated cognition and culturally mediated instruction. The purpose of the tasks for Chapter 7 included on this website is to help you integrate your understanding of culturally mediated instruction and theories of learning.
Chapter 8 in Culture in School Learning is designed to help candidates integrate and apply the information included in the book to practice in the classroom. The tasks included on this website are intended to help candidates develop a philosophical stance to guide teaching practice.
The final chapter in Culture in School Learning presents options and approaches for professional growth and for contributing to improving school practices in low-performing schools. The tasks on this website for Chapter 9 focus on teacher evaluation, self-evaluation, and introspection related to teaching practices and learning outcomes for traditionally underserved students.