Teaching and Learning in a Multicultural Classroom

 
9781875408238: Teaching and Learning in a Multicultural Classroom
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Teaching and Learning in a Multicultural Classroom, by Janis Massa, a college professor at Lehman College, City University of New York, grew out of the author's experience of teaching college students from non-English speaking backgrounds. The students faced enormous academic, social, linguistic and financial hurdles and challenges in their struggle to improve their academic achievement, build language skills and eventually gain a college degree. The book illustrates a dramatic transformation occurring in the ESL classroom as students, who initially lacked confidence and self-esteem, transform themselves into savvy, articulate, active and self-confident learners. The author demonstrates the way the learning environment, which is informed by the Vygotskian-inspired constructivist pedagogy, can empower learning. As a result of the innovative teaching environment, which recognises the relationship between the students' cultural backgrounds and needs and their linguistic and cognitive development, the students mastered a second language and culture, while simultaneously raising families and holding full-time jobs. The book documents the process of transition and places it in the social context of the educational aspect of the students' journey from 'home' country to the 'land of opportunity'.

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Review:

Janis Massa is one of those rare people who hears the music of the human condition a little reminiscent of Shirley Brice Heath very much "in and of" the world but with a striking ability to be an observer as well. --Jerome Bruner, New York University

I believe Dr Massa's work to be valuable to researchers and teachers like myself who want to better understand the relationship between students' backgrounds and needs and linguistic and cognitive development. More research like Massa's concerning language acquisition and involuntary immigration is needed. --Tomas Graman, Carroll College

James Gee, Jean Lave, Ray McDermott, Vivian Zamel and others (myself included) have written extensively about membership in a community of practice entailing issues such as identifying with that community as both the context and the means for learning. Massa?s work contributes to this important perspective. --Carole Edelsky, Arizona State University

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Janis Massa
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