Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (Billings, Gloria Ladson, 1995) rests on the criteria that students must experience academic success, develop and/or maintain cultural competence as well as a critical consciousness through which they challenge the status quo of the current social order. Therefore, according to Django Paris and H. Samy Alim (2017) culturally sustaining pedagogy fosters linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of schooling for positive social transformation. Teachers apply this understanding in the classroom by getting to know their students -acknowledging their cultural identity and then incorporating the above tenets in their teaching practices as illustrated here
Reading culturally relevant stories aloud is an effective teaching strategy in elementary and also in secondary school. King and Friedman used the mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors metaphors to illustrate the power of read-alouds. A mirror is a story that reflects your own culture and, therefore, is the type of story that helps develop a student’s cultural identity. A window, on the other hand, is the type of story that allows the reader to learn about someone else’s experience, and it is through these windows that students can see themselves in their mirror and truly learn about themselves. Extending this metaphor, Rudine Sims (1990’s) wrote that “These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author.”
To illustrate the power of this metaphor, King and Friedman read the book “Ron’s Big Mission” which was followed by a discussion around developing student’s critical consciousness, based on questions that focused on power, perspective, social context and structural inequities. Based on these understandings, participants then used the ATAPE Group Culturally Read Aloud Lesson Planner to prepare read-aloud based lessons for immediate use in their classrooms this Fall.
Many read-alouds, including the beautiful and powerful stories read aloud during the training, are available online. Thus, they offer students the opportunity to listen to read aloud books at home and also sharing them with their families. Within this context, a Kindergarten teacher may want to invite a family member to use the online read aloud to reinforce concepts and vocabulary presented during a live reading. And, a 5th grade teacher may want to ask his students to listen to the online read aloud and think about a set of questions in preparation to complete an assignment. And, in the likelihood that the older student has a young sibling, the online read aloud offers a growing mindset development opportunity. Using the image of the sliding glass door, the siblings could walk together through in imagination to become part of the reality of the story building cultural knowledge through role play and dialogue.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are interested in a copy of the presentation in pdf format. And check the Fall calendar which will include new hands-on sessions on Culturally Relevant Pedagogy.
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