Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Clashes and Confrontations

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9781607094197: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Clashes and Confrontations

The authors in this edited volume reflect on their experiences with culturally relevant pedagogy_as students, as teachers, as researchers_and how these experiences were often at odds with their backgrounds and/or expectations. Each of the authors speaks to the complexity and difficulty in attempting to address students' cultures, create learning experiences with relevance to their lives and experiences, and enact pedagogies that promote academic achievement while honoring students. At the same time, every author shows the clashes and confrontations that can arise between and among students, teachers, parents, administrators, and educational policies.

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About the Author:

Lisa Scherff is associate professor of secondary English language arts education at the University of Alabama. A former high school English and reading teacher, Lisa's research focuses on opportunity to learn and teacher preparation, induction, and mentoring.

Karen Spector is assistant professor of secondary English education and literacy at the University of Alabama. Her research and teaching involves critical literacies across disciplines.

Review:

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Clashes and Confrontations reveals many unexpected difficulties educators may face when attempting to create a culturally relevant classroom and curriculum. As educators, the importance of addressing cultural needs in our classrooms is often emphasized , but oftentimes it doesn't seem to work quite like we expect. Through the sharing of personal experiences and reflections of educators testing the theories behind culturally relevant pedagogy, this book provokes reflection on the process of creating and implementing more culturally relevant classrooms. (Jennifer N. Ollis, English teacher)

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Clashes and Confrontations is important, moral, relevant, and imminently readable. The concept of culturally relevant pedagogy is illuminated beautifully and clearly through chapters that alternate between thought-provoking academic discussions and heart-wrenching accounts of life in school. The questions this book raises, the awareness it fosters, will move us toward understanding ourselves as well as our students in ways that truly count. (ReLeah Cossett Lent, co-author of Adolescents on the Edge: Stories and Lessons to Transform Learning; www.releahlent.com)

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Clashes and Confrontations goes beyond where other texts on CRP tend to stop ―this volume takes an honest look back at the context and a priori assumptions that once ensconced CRP and help walk it forward into the new millennium by acknowledging that there is no longer 'a one theory into pedagogy fits all' for any classroom practice. These authors take the reader along with them as they brazenly reflect on their teaching journeys by admitting that their CRP praxes were laden with blind spots and show us through various situated practices how they have come to find deeper meaning and connection for students' lived experiences―in both their in-and-out of school contexts. Their chapters humbly offer that as cultures change over time and in context, that CRP must also honor the shifts. They leave us with hope, that we must listen and that as we listen to students' lived experiences, that CRP can fearlessly evolve with and for students by remaining flexible, fluid and adaptive, and as each of us confront our personal and collective ethical dilemmas along the way (S. J. Miller, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, director, Master of Arts in Teaching English)

Editors Scherff and Spector (both, Univ. of Alabama) and their contributors bring added contextual flavor and rich practical examples to the theoretical underpinnings of culturally relevant pedagogy. Essays composed by academics and practitioners show that such teaching can be both messy and courageous. The essays discuss a wide array of factors such as critical consciousness, identity, bodily images, race, ethnicity, urban education, and formal versus informal learning in chapters such as "Reading Romeo and Juliet and Talking Sex: Critical Ideological Consciousness as Ethical Practice" and "Unpacking the Critical in Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: An Illustration Involving African Americans and Asian Americans." The volume is a handy companion to Gloria Ladson-Billings's The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children (2nd ed., 2009; 1st ed., CH, Jul'95, 32-6346) and Geneva Gay's Culturally Relevant Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice (CH, Jan'11, 48-2812). Scherff and Spector's book contributes more to the practical aspects of the literature than to the theoretical side, but it is surely a welcome supplement. Recommended. (CHOICE)

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