Can Cultural Competency be Learned?

Posted on February 02, 2012

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Ramon Espinal

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Guest Blogger: ‘Time for the Latino Community to Demand More’

Posted: Monday, sildenafil June 13, more about 2011 9:37 am | Updated: 11:29 am, Mon Jun 13, 2011.

By Ramon Espinal

 

Ramon Espinal teaches at Rosa Park Elementary in City Heights and has worked in San Diego as a bilingual classroom teacher since 1995. Espinal is the second in a series of guest bloggers I’m hosting at Schooled to talk about the achievement gap for Latino students in San Diego; Jerome Torres blogged earlier. These are his views, not mine or those of voiceofsandiego.org. Comments? Questions? You can contact Ramon at respinal1@cox.net or just post a comment on the blog.

Around this time every year, students, teachers and parents are very busy preparing for state tests. Much time, perhaps more than educators are willing to stomach, is invested in pre-testing, with the hope that students will do well.

The outcome on the tests depends on many factors, including whether children are healthy and are able to sleep nine hours uninterrupted, as well as being able to compartmentalize economic or other problems affecting their families.

For English language learners, 80 percent of whom are Latino, the level of English acquisition affects their performance on standardized tests, which, after all, have been developed for native English speakers. Obviously, English language learners are at a great disadvantage to perform in a language that they still have not mastered.

The growing difference in educational outcomes between native English speakers and English-learning Latino students represents a major challenge for educational authorities, teachers, parents and administrators. Only by carefully studying the Latino child can we arrive at a proper understanding of the present crisis.

To begin with, the California State Board of Education should bring its testing system in line with the federal Department of Education guidelines to test students in third through 11th grades rather than the current second through 11th. This would create better conditions for English learners to have a fighting chance, a little bit more time to acquire a broader vocabulary and a better understanding of how English works.

Learning new content in an unfamiliar language is a major challenge. It is crucial for teachers to modify their instruction. Among the most obvious would be to use the primary language for clarification and explanation, and to introduce new concepts in the primary language before the lesson in English.

To narrow the achievement gap among Latino students, we must provide teachers with the necessary training to design lessons which would maximize and accelerate English transfer and acquisition.

 
For English language learners, order 80 percent of whom are Latino, treat the level of English acquisition affects their performance on standardized tests, which, after all, have been developed for native English speakers. Obviously, English language learners are at a great disadvantage to perform in a language that they still have not mastered.

The growing difference in educational outcomes between native English speakers and English-learning Latino students represents a major challenge for educational authorities, teachers, parents and administrators. Only by carefully studying the Latino child can we arrive at a proper understanding of the present crisis.

Learning new content in an unfamiliar language is a major challenge. It is crucial for teachers to modify their instruction. Among the most obvious would be to use the primary language for clarification and explanation, and to introduce new concepts in the primary language before the lesson in English.

To narrow the achievement gap among Latino students, we must provide teachers with the necessary training to design lessons which would maximize and accelerate English transfer and acquisition.

Read more HERE>

Author: Ramon Espinal



 

Teaching: “How much longer can I do this?”

You know the feeling. It happens when you see other people out for walks during their lunch hour (and you just spent 10 minutes “eating” while emailing a passive aggressive parent). Or when you hear how you need to try this new teaching technique, ask even though you have been doing it for years. Or when you are up all night, pill sick, and have to crawl to the computer to write your sub plans.

We all know that teaching has gotten increasingly more difficult to manage. We’re constantly asked to do more with less. And there is no end in sight to the increasing pressure on us from standardized testing, parents and administrators, contentious bargaining sessions, the current anti-teacher climate, and top-down leadership.

Teachers need to band together to support each other and make teaching a more sustainable career. There are several things we can do for each other and for ourselves.

1. Support Teachers in Times of Need. When someone on your staff is going through a difficult time, a thoughtful gift from his or her fellow teachers can mean a lot. A fund can be created at the beginning of the year. Each staff member can bring 20 dollars (or what they can). One person can be in charge of this amount, and select appropriate gifts or support when it is needed. In my school, we call it the Sunshine Fund, and through it we have delivered gift baskets to those recovering from surgery, transportation funds for someone whose family member was seriously injured and in the hospital, and meals to new mothers. This is a meaningful way to support each other, and it builds community and morale.

2. Plan for a Better Work/Life Balance.

 

3. Provide Back Up.

Author: Katy Farber, Edutopia



 

Teaching: “How much longer can I do this?”

You know the feeling. It happens when you see other people out for walks during their lunch hour (and you just spent 10 minutes “eating” while emailing a passive aggressive parent). Or when you hear how you need to try this new teaching technique, website like this even though you have been doing it for years. Or when you are up all night, sick, and have to crawl to the computer to write your sub plans.

We all know that teaching has gotten increasingly more difficult to manage. We’re constantly asked to do more with less. And there is no end in sight to the increasing pressure on us from standardized testing, parents and administrators, contentious bargaining sessions, the current anti-teacher climate, and top-down leadership.

Teachers need to band together to support each other and make teaching a more sustainable career. There are several things we can do for each other and for ourselves.

1. Support Teachers in Times of Need. When someone on your staff is going through a difficult time, a thoughtful gift from his or her fellow teachers can mean a lot. A fund can be created at the beginning of the year. Each staff member can bring 20 dollars (or what they can). One person can be in charge of this amount, and select appropriate gifts or support when it is needed. In my school, we call it the Sunshine Fund, and through it we have delivered gift baskets to those recovering from surgery, transportation funds for someone whose family member was seriously injured and in the hospital, and meals to new mothers. This is a meaningful way to support each other, and it builds community and morale.

2. Plan for a Better Work/Life Balance.

3. Provide Back Up.

Read more tips HERE>

Author: Katy Farber, Edutopia



Teaching: “How much longer can I do this?”

You know the feeling. It happens when you see other people out for walks during their lunch hour (and you just spent 10 minutes “eating” while emailing a passive aggressive parent). Or when you hear how you need to try this new teaching technique, about it even though you have been doing it for years. Or when you are up all night, page sick, cheap and have to crawl to the computer to write your sub plans.

We all know that teaching has gotten increasingly more difficult to manage. We’re constantly asked to do more with less. And there is no end in sight to the increasing pressure on us from standardized testing, parents and administrators, contentious bargaining sessions, the current anti-teacher climate, and top-down leadership.

Teachers need to band together to support each other and make teaching a more sustainable career. There are several things we can do for each other and for ourselves.

1. Support Teachers in Times of Need. When someone on your staff is going through a difficult time, a thoughtful gift from his or her fellow teachers can mean a lot. A fund can be created at the beginning of the year. Each staff member can bring 20 dollars (or what they can). One person can be in charge of this amount, and select appropriate gifts or support when it is needed. In my school, we call it the Sunshine Fund, and through it we have delivered gift baskets to those recovering from surgery, transportation funds for someone whose family member was seriously injured and in the hospital, and meals to new mothers. This is a meaningful way to support each other, and it builds community and morale.

2. Plan for a Better Work/Life Balance.

3. Provide Back Up.

Read more tips HERE>

Author: Katy Farber, Edutopia



At the end of a school year, unhealthy there are so many measurements which could indicate that a teacher was “effective”—graduation rates, ambulance grades, test scores—quantifiable and ostensibly objective. Whether a teacher was effective must definitely be measured by how much his/her students’ learning increased over a period of time, but it can not be the only measurement.

This year, I have a simple formula to categorize an effective teacher, based on a very raw maternal assessment, but perhaps that’s the best kind. I know without a doubt that my son had a very effective first grade teacher at his Oakland public school this year. And I have the evidence. Here it is:

#1. The “data” overflows from two paper shopping bags and demonstrates his learning over the year. An array of writing shows how in the beginning of September, he couldn’t really write a sentence, but by February, he was writing paragraphs. His math assessments show increasing mastery of skills and concepts. But most importantly, he can sort through the piles and recognize his own growth and talk about his process of learning. My takeaway: The student of an effective teacher has documentation of learning over a course of time and can explain it.

Read more HERE>

AuthorElena Aguilar, Edutopia

 
What can the principal do to make teacher evaluation an opportunity for teacher growth?

Teacher observation and evaluation conferences take a large amount of a principal’s leadership time. This investment of leaders’ energies should produce increases in student achievement. In this session you will examine elements to question and consider with teachers:

  • What are indicators of student achievement?
  • How do examples of student work indicate learning and teaching?
  • What to look for when observing students in classrooms?
  • How do teacher actions/choices/behaviors impact student actions/choices/behaviors?

Author: Steve Barkley, tadalafil Performance Learning Systems

Read more HERE>

 

A new study of mathematics curricula and classroom content in 40 countries reveals that while most eighth-grade teachers are focused on algebra and geometry, healing their U.S. counterparts are teaching simple fractions, web ratios, percentages and other topics that come up in the sixth grade internationally. Researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Oklahoma compared 37,000 American eighth-grade math students and 1,900 math teachers across nine states and 13 school districts with their peers in other countries, showing that the U.S. is two years behind in terms of math rigor. The fault lies with the decentralized U.S. educational system, the authors say — 15,000 local school districts in 50 states, each exercising de facto control over its own curriculum.

Read more HERE>

AuthorMelinda Burns, www.miller-mccune.com

 
A new study of mathematics curricula and classroom content in 40 countries reveals that while most eighth-grade teachers are focused on algebra and geometry, medical this site their U.S. counterparts are teaching simple fractions, ampoule treatment ratios, percentages and other topics that come up in the sixth grade internationally. Researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Oklahoma compared 37,000 American eighth-grade math students and 1,900 math teachers across nine states and 13 school districts with their peers in other countries, showing that the U.S. is two years behind in terms of math rigor. The fault lies with the decentralized U.S. educational system, the authors say — 15,000 local school districts in 50 states, each exercising de facto control over its own curriculum.

Read more HERE>

AuthorMelinda Burns, www.miller-mccune.com

 

Study Helps Pinpoint Math Disability

Burgeoning research into students’ difficulties with mathematics is starting to tease out cognitive differences between students who sometimes struggle with math and those who have dyscalculia, information pills price a severe, persistent learning disability in math.

A new, decade-long longitudinal study by researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, published Friday in the journal Child Development, finds that 9th-graders considered dyscalculic—those who performed in the bottom 10 percent of math ability on multiple tests—had substantially lower ability to grasp and compare basic number quantities than average students or even other struggling math students.

“Formal math requires some effort, and it requires effort to different degrees for different children,” said Michèle M. M. Mazzocco, the director of the Math Skills Development Project at Kennedy Krieger. “Just because someone is having difficulty with math doesn’t necessarily mean they have a math learning disability. This study points to a core marker” of true dyscalculia.

The study, she said, may help researchers and educators understand the underlying causes of persistent math problems and identify the students who need the most intensive instructional support.

Math-learning disability affects about 5 percent to 8 percent of school-age children nationwide, about as many people nationwide as are affected by dyslexia. Yet experts say research on the reading problem has for decades dwarfed studies of math difficulties by 20 to one.

Read more HERE>

Author: Sarah D. Sparks, Edweek.org

 
Study Helps Pinpoint Math Disability

Burgeoning research into students’ difficulties with mathematics is starting to tease out cognitive differences between students who sometimes struggle with math and those who have dyscalculia, visit this a severe, pharm persistent learning disability in math.

A new, decade-long longitudinal study by researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, published Friday in the journal Child Development, finds that 9th-graders considered dyscalculic—those who performed in the bottom 10 percent of math ability on multiple tests—had substantially lower ability to grasp and compare basic number quantities than average students or even other struggling math students.

“Formal math requires some effort, and it requires effort to different degrees for different children,” said Michèle M. M. Mazzocco, the director of the Math Skills Development Project at Kennedy Krieger. “Just because someone is having difficulty with math doesn’t necessarily mean they have a math learning disability. This study points to a core marker” of true dyscalculia.

The study, she said, may help researchers and educators understand the underlying causes of persistent math problems and identify the students who need the most intensive instructional support.

Math-learning disability affects about 5 percent to 8 percent of school-age children nationwide, about as many people nationwide as are affected by dyslexia. Yet experts say research on the reading problem has for decades dwarfed studies of math difficulties by 20 to one.

Read more HERE>

Author: Sarah D. Sparks, Edweek.org

 

As tough as things were financially for school districts last year, order prospects are even bleaker in the coming school year, ampoule according to data from a nationally representative sample of school districts released today by the nonpartisan Center on Education Policy. In addition to being squeezed by state and district belt-tightening, most districts will no longer have the cushion they had last year from federal stimulus funds that pumped millions of dollars into state and local education budgets.

Insiders have referred to this as the “funding cliff” that has been looming since the federal funds were released as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). If there is one takeaway from the survey results, it is this:

  • 85% percent of school districts nationwide predict significant budget cuts in the coming 2011-12 school year, which will include cutting jobs for teachers and staff.
  • Professional development for teachers will be significantly curtailed

Read more HERE>

Author: Jack Jennings, chief executive officer of the Center on Education Policy

 
U.S. Students Remain Poor at History, and Tests Show

American students are less proficient in their nation’s history than in any other subject, according to results of a nationwide test released on Tuesday, with most fourth graders unable to say why Abraham Lincoln was an important figure and few high school seniors able to identify China as the North Korean ally that fought American troops during the Korean War.

Over all, 20 percent of fourth graders, 17 percent of eighth graders and 12 percent of high school seniors demonstrated proficiency on the exam, the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Federal officials said they were encouraged by a slight increase in eighth-grade scores since the last history test, in 2006. But even those gains offered little to celebrate because, for example, fewer than a third of eighth graders could answer even a “seemingly easy question” asking them to identify an important advantage American forces had over the British during the Revolution, the government’s statement on the results said.

The tests were given last spring to a representative sample of 7,000 fourth graders, 11,800 eighth graders and 12,400 12th graders nationwide. History is one of eight subjects — the others are math, reading, science, writing, civics, geography and economics — covered by the assessment program, which is also known as the Nation’s Report Card. The board that oversees the program defines three achievement levels for each test: “basic” denotes partial mastery of a subject; “proficient” represents solid academic performance and a demonstration of competency over challenging subject matter; and “advanced” means superior performance.

Read more HERE>

Author: Sam Dillon, The New York Times

 
Making differences work in schools

“Cultural competency” training is designed to give teachers techniques and strategies that can help them not only reach minority students but also capitalize on cultural diversity in the classroom. At its core, here cultural competency is about understanding differences and the role those differences play in how best to teach children.

For example, link many high-achieving schools with large minority populations focus on achievement and visioning, order or prompting the kids to imagine themselves succeeding by going to college and into desirable careers, according to Diana Daniels, executive director of the Indianapolis-based National Council on Educating Black Children.

By training teachers in those techniques, Daniels said, “you can teach a Caucasian to effectively teach African-American and Latino students in high-impact schools.” Some teachers bristle at the idea that they need training to teach kids who are different from them. To them, teaching is teaching. And children are children. Even among those who favor training, there are vigorous debates about what it should look like. For example, some think training should be specific to the ethnic traditions of the kids who attend a particular school.

Teacher population “whiter and whiter”

Two things, however, are indisputable: Socioeconomic and racial/ethnic achievement gaps exist in education, and the urban-school teachers struggling to close those gaps are increasingly unlike their students.

Author: Scott Elliott, Indestar

Read more HERE>