Bridging Cultures Between Home and School: A Guide for Teachers
Teaching students from a range of cultural backgrounds is made easier when teachers understand the cultural norms of both the mainstream culture of schools and the cultures of their students. This guide provides a framework for learning about culture, along with many teacher-created strategies for making classrooms more successful for students, particularly those from immigrant Latino backgrounds.
Contents of the guide include chapters that describe the Bridging Cultures framework of individualism/collectivism for understanding cultures, why parent involvement is not always successful plus some ways to improve working with parents, the cross-cultural parent-teacher conference, learning what works cross-culturally through teacher research with ethnography as a research tool, and a reflection on the Bridging Cultures project (a collaboration among WestEd; UCLA; California State University, Northridge; and bilingual public school teachers in three districts).
Two adjunct books of supporting research, theories, background information, and teaching modules are also available. Please visit Bridging Cultures Teacher Education Module and Readings for Bridging Cultures for more information.
Praise for this Resource
“The book is optimistic, well written, carefully documented, and studded with appropriate examples and suggestions. Teachers working with immigrant students will find useful cultural theory as well as suggestions for improving the nature of school-to-home communications and for interacting more effectively with parents.”—CHOICE
“The book highlights the importance of parents and teachers working in concert to ensure that all students receive a high-quality education. The significant feature of this book is that it offers practical advice for parents and teachers to bridge the cultural divide that diminishes learning opportunities for students. This is a must read for all educators interested in ensuring culturally inclusive schools.”
“The example of cooperation in educational research set by the Bridging Culture project is inspiring. The specificity of the book’s focus on immigrant family culture is relevant to schools all around the country that are experiencing tremendous growth in numbers of students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. It would not be surprising if the training materials based on this book become widely-used by educators struggling with school improvement issues. The individualistic/collectivistic framework is accessible to teachers and easily applied, and Bridging Cultures Between Home and School has great potential value in the effort to increase school effectiveness by building stronger partnerships between families, students, and their schools.”
Bridging Cultures offers an antidote to many of the problems that plague U.S. public schools. But instead of advocating a one-size-fits-all, universalistic reform, such as nationwide standards or standardized testing (both of which they caution against), the authors advocate changing teachers’ ways of thinking, one teacher at a time, and how teachers relate to their constituents, one constituent at a time. After all, the authors suggest, education occurs within human relationships. Shouldn’t the focus of reform be on those relationships?—educational HORIZONS
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