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Cultural Influences on Teaching and Learning

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Stephanie McCue

on 27 October 2013

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Transcript of Cultural Influences on Teaching and Learning

Cultural Influences on Teaching and Learning
Bringing It All Together
Prejudice: A rigid and irrational generalization - a prejudgment - about an entire category of people (Woolfolk, 2013)
Gender Bias
*Generalities: Of course these do not apply to all children in these cultural groups
English Language Learners
In an international-multicultural setting, children with varying degrees of English ability will be present in the same classroom - Effort must be made to accommodate each and every child and avoid exclusion of children with lower abilities
Third Culture Kids (TCKs)
These children have an entire culture of their own, one that incorporates many different cultures all together
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy in the Classroom
Using Cultural Differences to Enhance and Create Global Citizenship
Culturally Different Learning Styles
Ladson-Billings Conception of Teaching Excellence (Woolfolk, 2013)
Students must experience Academic Success.
Students must develop/maintain their cultural competence
Students must develop a critical consciousness to challenge the status quo
Differentiated Instruction
Active Student Involvement: Use inquiry based learning to engage students in their education and define their own learning style
Adapt and vary teaching materials, graphs, and charts to meet student needs
Create a low stress environment to ensure absorption of material and concepts
“A society that respects ethnic group differences aims to protect its citizens from discriminatory practices and prejudicial attitudes. Such respect supports the survival of these groups and augments their opportunities to shape their lives in ways they choose. For society as a whole, ethnic groups can serve as sources of innovation. By respecting differences, society is provided a wider base of ideas, values, and behaviors that increase its capacity for creative change." (Banks, 1991)
Works Cited
Zarillo, J. Teaching elementary social studies: Principles and applications. (4th ed.).
Boston: Pearson Education.
Banks, J. NCSS Task Force on Ethnic Studies, Curriculum Guidelines. (1991). Curriculum
guidelines for multicultural education. Retrieved from website: http://www.itari.in/
Woolfolk, A. (2013). Educational psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
A schema developed and defined at a very young age by the culture in which we've grown up
In international schools,
different cultures abound - including in the teaching staff. Recognizing our own culturally engrained biases, prejudices, and stereotypes (which can unfortunately lead to unfair discrimination) will allow us to become more inclusive and effective in the classroom
Recognizing that each student has their own learning preference can allow teachers to take advantage of variations in teaching styles and lesson plans, ensuring each student enjoys and understands the lessons.
These prejudgments can negatively interfere with interactions between different cultures inside and outside of the classroom
"A growing number of studies show a link between hidden biases and actual behavior... Studies have found, for example, that school teachers clearly telegraph prejudices, so much so that some researchers believe children of color and white children in the same classroom effectively receive different educations." (Southern Poverty Law Center)
Southern Poverty Law Center. (n.d.). Test yourself for hidden bias. Retrieved from http://
"As with any schema, we use our stereotypes to make sense of the world...that is the danger in racial, ethnic, and gender stereotypes. We notice information that confirms or agrees with our stereotype— our schema— and miss or dismiss information that does not fit" (Woolfolk, 2013)
Gender roles vary significantly from culture to culture
Teachers must recognize their own culturally engrained gender bias to avoid giving preferential treatment
stereotype threat
is an apprehensiveness about confirming a stereotype
Often times, teaching materials themselves contain gender bias, which is worth checking prior to the lesson
Can be both positive or negative. In either case our prejudices affect the way we see the world
"One of the best-documented findings of the past 30 years is that teachers have more overall interactions with boys than with girls; however, this includes more negative interactions with boys, but not more positive interactions (Jones & Dindia, 2004). This is true from preschool to college. Teachers ask more questions of males, give males more feedback (praise, criticism, and correction), and offer more specific and valuable comments to boys. The effect of these differences is that from preschool through college, girls, on the average, receive 1,800 fewer hours of attention and instruction than boys" (Woolfolk, 2013)
Some examples (Zarillo)*:
Korean American children dislike asking questions for fear of being rude to the teacher
Native Hawaiian students thrive during story telling activities, but dislike studying in silence
Native American students learn through observation and direct experience. Responding to the teacher quickly and directly is considered disrespectful
"Good teachers respect the diversity of their students... We should get to know the students as individuals, and have a good sense of each student's interests and abilities. The methodology of today's classroom must reflect the diversity of our students, must be multidimensional, and must include a wide variety of instructional resources and strategies." (Zarillo)
Teachers must be mindful that students are often learning English and the subject being taught simultaneously. Care must be taken to not inundate the child's working memory with too much information at once
As TCKs do not belong to just one country, they will understand and absorb information differently
Social exclusion may create negative associations with school. Teachers must work with students to prevent this
Additional Resources
- Despite cultural inequalities, teachers must ensure that all students learn basic skills.
- Use variation in student culture as a teaching tool, not a hindrance
- Teach students to recognize inequalities and act toward change
Use effective culturally responsive instruction to reduce the achievement gap between students of diverse backgrounds and their mainstream peers (Au, 2010)
Au, K. (2010). Isn't culturally responsive instruction just good teaching?. In W. Parker (Ed.),
Social studies today: Research and Practice. Retrieved from http://books.google.com
This anxiety causes poor performance in all cultures and areas of study
Teachers must combat
stereotype threat
by removing cultural biases from the classroom
Helpful Strategies:
"-Engage English Language Learners in academic learning and English language development
-Recognize and build on cultural and equity assumptions and culturally relevant instruction
-Identify appropriate ELL instructional strategies aligned and differentiated to lessons, objectives, and goals
-Find innovative ways to motivate ELLs to practice academic language skills that are carefully structured and require students to demonstrate growing proficiency" (National Education Association)
National Education Association. (n.d.). Diversity toolkit: English language learners (ells).
Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/tools/30405.htm
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