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Sonia Nieto: Multicultural Education as a Critical Pedagogy

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Alex Portillo

on 18 July 2015

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Transcript of Sonia Nieto: Multicultural Education as a Critical Pedagogy

Sonia Nieto: Multicultural Education as a Critical Pedagogy
Alexander Portillo

EDSE 4070

July 18, 2015
Early Life and Education
Teaching Career & Awards
Leadership in Multicultural Education
Teaching Philosophy
Definition of Multicultural Education
Theories, Beliefs & Coined Terms
Teaching Strategies
Sonia Nieto as born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.
She received her B.S in Elementary Education in 1965.
Upon graduation, Nieto attended New York University's Graduate Program in Madrid, Spain and received her M.A in Spanish and Hispanic Literature in 1966.
(Information and picture obtained from www.sonianieto.com, 2013)
Nieto began her career as a junior high teacher of English, Spanish and ESL in Brooklyn.
In 1968, Nieto took a job at P.S 25 in the Bronx when it was the first bilingual school in the North East.
(Picture obtained from http://people.cs.umass.edu/~mccallum/umass-logo400.png)
Nieto's first position in higher education was as a teacher in the Department of Puerto Rican Studies at Brooklyn College where she taught in a bilingual education teacher preparation program (Nieto, 2013).
Until her retirement in 2006, Dr. Nieto worked as an instructor at the University of Massachusetts for 25 years, earning the title of professor emerita of language, literacy and culture in the School of Education (UMass Amherst Alumni Association, 2014).
Awards
: 1997 Multicultural Educator of the Year Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education, Annenberg Institute Senior Fellowship (1998-2000), Outstanding Language Arts Educator of the Year from the National Council of Teachers of English (2005), 2008 Social Justice in Education Award from the American Educational Research Association.
(Nieto, 2013)
Sonia Nieto has become a leader in multicultural and bilingual education, specifically in the education of latinos and other culturally and linguistically diverse student populations (Nieto, 2013). She has spent her life focusing on areas of equity and social justice, and has spent much of her life preparing future educators to work in culturally diverse settings (UMass Amherst Alumni Association, 2014).
Her most notable work,
Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education
, was her critique of the public education system and how it fails to address the needs of minority students and specifically those minority students living in poverty (Nieto, 1992).
(Picture obtained from www.sonianieto.com, 2013)
Affirming Diversity was written during a time when a significant populations of bilingual students had developed along with a growth of the population of minority students, many of which came from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Her work is still used in teacher education programs in preparing future educators to work in a multicultural environment (Nieto, 2013).
"True teaching must be accompanied by a deep level of care in order for learning to take place."-
Sonia Nieto, 2012
As educators, Sonia Nieto believes to combat stereotypes and negative judgments, we must:
Learn about Ourselves:
"It means looking at oneself honestly and asking hard questions about one's privilege and power, and about how one uses these in the teaching and learning context. It means asking about one's biases, hidden or overt, and how they influence one's relationships with students.The result of this kind of deep introspection can be a personal transformation." (Nieto, 2012)
Learn about Our Students:
"Educators also need to learn about the sociocultural realities of their students, and about the sociopolitical conditions in which they live." (Nieto, 2012)
Sonia Nieto believes that educators should try to become part of their students' communities as well. By learning about their students and trying to be a part of their lives, it shows students that they are respected as individuals.
Develop Allies:
Another important aspect of teaching she advocates for, is the importance of developing close allies that can help one remain commited, hopeful and caring (Nieto, 2012).
(Picture obtained from www.sonianieto.com, 2013)
(Picture obtained from http://www.learner.org/workshops/tml/workshop1/commentary3.html, 2015)
(Picture obtained from www.sonianieto.com, 2013)
(Picture obtained from http://www.learner.org/workshops/tml/workshop1/student.html, 2015)
"...We who are in the business of teaching future teachers need to expose them to differences of all kinds; we need to help them understand that the differences students embody can't be left outside the classroom door; and that we need to encourage them to find ways to use their students' differences in the service of their learning." (Nieto, 2002)
"It is not only issues of race. My definition of multiculturalism includes people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and circumstances. We can include issues of language, language varieties, gender, sexual orientation, and social class, etc." (Nieto, 2000)
"I think it's providing social justice for all children when they're all represented, affirmed, and given access to education." (Nieto, 2015)
Sonia Nieto believes that educators must approach new information by starting with what students already know and using that as a foundation to begin moving beyond their own experiences and embracing new ones (Nieto, 2015).
"The United States is more a diverse nation than ever, and in the next fifty years or so, Whites will probably become the minority. Given this situation, it is clear to me that schools need to change how they do things, and because teachers are the engines that keep schools going, they too need to change." (Nieto, 2002)
Nieto also believes that it is important to think of diversity as a benefit rather than a challenge to address and see the possibility of others' differences adding to others' experiences. As she puts it, "rather than thinking of a child as a "non-English speaker," think of that child as a Japanese speaker, a Navajo speaker, a Spanish speaker, or whatever language the child speaks. It makes a huge difference in how you approach students because, instead of seeing them as bringing nothing to their education, you recognize that they come with all sorts of talents to contribute." (Nieto, 2000).
Sonia Nieto has also coined the term "critical pedagogy". By this she means that teachers must encourage critical thinking that will enable students to develop decision making and social actions skills (Nieto, 2002).
In an interview with Sonia Nieto, she discusses "morning questions" that can be used to stimulate critical thinking and help students consider and evaluate different perspectives by asking such questions such as "If you were a Native American, would you have shared your food with the Pilgrims?", "Was Columbus a hero?", or "How did you learn what an 'Indian' sounds like?" (Nieto, 2000).
In another interview, Nieto stresses the importance of discussing difficult issues such as the realities of other cultures and socioeconomic groups. While difficult to discuss, she notes that it is important for students to understand the realities that their peers live with even if they are not living in these conditions themselves (Nieto, 2015).
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