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Educator Beliefs and Cultural Knowledge: Implications for Sc

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Steph O

on 5 March 2014

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Transcript of Educator Beliefs and Cultural Knowledge: Implications for Sc

Educator Beliefs and Cultural Knowledge: Implications for School Improvement Efforts
A qualitative study that focused on the beliefs of educators. It specifically focused on beliefs related to cultural, linguistics and economic factors of diverse students and families (pg.2)
Why Beliefs Matter
Personal beliefs are powerful filters that shape how a person sees the world, other people and oneself. Beliefs have a stronger influence on behavior than cognitive knowledge and are resistant to change.
Stephanie Onyeador, Bailey Stewart, LaToya Williams
Video: Cultural Competence
Deficit Thinking
Stereotypes lead to discrimination, not just historically, but today

Leads to low expectations and blame on the parents and student

Deficit thinking is a barrier to school reform efforts because educators are less likely to put forth effort if they blame others
Nelson, S. W. and Guerra, P. L. (2013). Educator beliefs and cultural knowledge: Implications for school improvement efforts.
Education Administration Quarterly
, 50 (
): 67-95.

Guerra, P. L., & García, S. B. (2004). Deconstructing deficit thinking: Working with educators to create more equitable learning environments.
Education and Urban Society
, 36(
), 150-168.
Cultural Knowledge
If a student's cultural norms differ from those taught in school, they have to learn those norms in addition to academic content

Educators might assume that a student with different cultural norms is just not intelligent or well-behaved


Lack of cultural knowledge reinforces deficit thinking!
Scenario Exercise
Break into groups of 4 or 5
Read the scenario
Answer the question (there are no right or wrong answers)
Nine scenarios involving a culture clash and some element of schooling (teacher-student relationship, instruction, curriculum, etc.) were given to the educators for their responses (qualitative approach)

Scenarios were based on real events reported to the researchers by educators

Measured educator beliefs, educator cultural knowledge, and application of that cultural knowledge in practice

Out of 111 educators...
Ineffectiveness of reform efforts may be due in part to educators' deficit beliefs and lack of cultural knowledge
Preparation and professional development programs must better address this issue.
The Study
Adds to the small existing body of current literature on beliefs of current educators

Examines the application of cultural knowledge in practice

Participants were 111 educators in Texas and Michigan

The educators responded to scenarios relating to the education of diverse students

Three (3%) - Culturally Aware

Forty-nine (44%) - General Awareness of Culture

Forty-three (39%) - Little Awareness of Culture

Fifteen (14%) - Culturally Unaware
One (>1%) - Culturally Responsive
Data Analysis
Used a constructivist grounded theory approach

Coded beliefs as deficit or pluralistic

Coded cultural knowledge on a scale from "no awareness" to "deep understanding" of invisible culture

Coded application as additive or subtractive
Key Terms
Beliefs- deeply personal, individual truths one holds about physical and social reality and about self (pg.6)

Deficit thinking- refers to the notion that particularly low income minority students fail in school because these students and their families experiences deficiencies that obstruct their learning process (lack of intelligence, lack of motivation)

Cultural competence- ability to interact effectively with people of different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds

Educator preparation- skills and knowledge for creating a safe environment that encourages learning, positive social interaction, and effective communication among students of diverse gender, ability, culture, language, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation

When personal beliefs and professional knowledge conflict, personal beliefs will override professional knowledge.
Majority of the participants held deficit beliefs about diverse students and their families
Student teachers enter the field with attitudes not conducive to working with children of color in low-socioeconomic communities
Practicing educators tend to hold deficit beliefs about diverse students and families
Educators often have insufficient cultural knowledge to recognize and respond to culture clashes
Sample population: Excluded data from Michigan due to politics
Full transcript