Bridging Cultures Between Home and School Institute
"The awareness I have experienced...is amazing!... Dialogue was a key component. A 'comfort zone' was established early on... and barriers were taken down, allowing for meaningful conversations to take place."
Bridging Cultures is dedicated to helping policymakers, administrators, teachers, and support staff design and implement programs that effectively address the needs of underserved cultural, linguistic, and racial groups in order to improve educational outcomes for these groups.
The ideas and approaches disseminated at the institute reflect the findings of the Bridging Cultures research project, a multiyear collaboration between classroom teachers and professional researchers.
Bridging Cultures was developed by Elise Trumbull, Carrie Rothstein-Fisch, Patricia M. Greenfield, and Carrie Rothstein-Fisch, with support from WestEd.
Who Should Participate
School and district leadership, classroom teachers, counseling staff, paraprofessionals, and school support staff who work across cultures. Parents and community members may also wish to participate.
Format of the Institute
The one-day institute is interactive and designed to connect with participants' personal experiences.
In addition to learning a conceptual framework that helps illuminate important cultural differences, participants will have opportunities to work in small groups, reflect, and explore applications to their own educational settings.
What You Learn
Participants learn strategies to
- Support meaningful education experiences that tap the funds of knowledge of students and families
- Carry out standards-based curricula in ways that are culturally and linguistically appropriate
- Approach assessment in ways that take cultural and linguistic differences into consideration
- Use effective and culturally appropriate classroom management strategies
- Support meaningful parent involvement in children's education
Who Facilitates Your Learning
The Bridging Cultures workshop is led by WestEd Senior Research Associate and professional developer Noelle Caskey.
What Resources Support Your Learning
Participants receive a variety of readings drawn from Bridging Cultures publications and other sources. Participants can also purchase Bridging Cultures publications at a 20% discount:
- Bridging Cultures between Home and School: A Guide for Teachers
- Readings for Bridging Cultures
- Bridging Cultures Teacher Education Module
- Bridging Cultures in Early Care and Education: A Training Module
- Managing Diverse Classrooms: How to Build on Students' Cultural Strengths
What the Research Says
When those of us who work in education think about culture, most often it is the culture of others we think about, and not our own. However, schools and teachers themselves have a culture that can determine responses to students from non-mainstream backgrounds (Hollins, 1996). School culture in the United States reflects prevailing assumptions about the value of individualism, as exemplified in Marzano (2003).
Many of our students, however, come from more collectivistic backgrounds (Hofstede, 2001). With greater understanding of the cultural values that students and their families bring to schooling, we can be more effective in tapping these resources to help our students succeed in school (Cabello & Burstein, 1995).
Cabello, B., & Burstein, N. (1995). Examining teachers' beliefs about teaching in culturally diverse classrooms. Journal of Teacher Education, 46(4), 285-294.
Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture's consequences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Hollins, E. R. (1996). Culture in school learning: Revealing the deep meaning. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Marzano, R. J. (2003). Classroom management that works: Research-based strategies. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
What Participants Report
"I know I've probably read things that had that title [multicultural education], and I had a really superficial understanding of what they meant. But it did not alter my way of being in the classroom — and this did — I do what I do because of my culture. And this is the first time that I really had an understanding of that."
The basic cost for a one-day institute is $2,700 at your site. Institutes can also be arranged at WestEd's San Francisco or Oakland offices for a minimum of 25 participants.