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Writing Across the Curriculum
Assignment #8

November 2, 2005

Long Island University/Brooklyn Campus
Department of Teaching and Learning, School of Education
TAL 801 - Issues in Urban Education - Section 003
Fall 2005 - Wednesdays 4:30 - 6:20 – PB421
Instructor:  Dr. Kathleen Kesson

Office:  P-236 

Hours: Wed. 2-4; Thurs. 2-4, or by app’t.

Phone: (718) 488-1388 (office)  Email: Kathleen.Kesson@liu.edu

Theme #4 Theme: Cultural/ethnic Pluralism and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy
Diversity, not homogeneity, is rapidly becoming the norm in the U.S. In a culturally diverse democracy, it is important that students learn to appreciate our differences, and develop the capacities to understand and work to solve broad social problems related to inequities. 

“Multicultural education is a process of comprehensive school reform and basic education for all students.  It challenges and rejects racism and other forms of discrimination in schools and society and accepts and affirms the pluralism (ethnic, racial, linguistic, religious, economic, and gender, among others) that students, their communities, and teachers represent.  Multicultural education permeates the curriculum and instructional strategies used in schools, as well as the interactions among teachers, students, and parents, and the very way that schools conceptualize the nature of teaching and learning.  Because it uses critical pedagogy as its underlying philosophy and focuses on knowledge, reflection, and action (praxis) as the basis for social change, multicultural education furthers the democratic principles of social justice.

Seven basis characteristics of multicultural education:

Multicultural education is antiracist education.
Multicultural education is basic education.
Multicultural education is important for all students.
Multicultural education is pervasive.
Multicultural education is education for social justice.
Multicultural education is a process.
Multicultural education is critical pedagogy.”
From Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education
                                                                                    By Sonia Nieto

Part I.
For November 9, read:
1) Ogbu, J. U. “Understanding Cultural Diversity and Learning.” (II)
2) Ladson-Billings, “Seeing Color, Seeing Culture” (II)
2) Delpit, L.  “Education in a Multicultural Society: Our Future’s Greatest Challenge.” (I)


From each reading, choose one passage that challenges one of your assumptions or ideas about cultural diversity or multicultural education, or provokes you to think differently.  Explore your prior assumption(s) and then explore how the idea(s) in the reading provides you with a different “lens” for understanding.  What are some implications for your work as a teacher in urban schools?


Part II.
Paper # 2, due November 16:
Promoting equity and culturally relevant pedagogy in your classroom

In this paper, describe your classroom, including the racial and ethnic composition, as well as what you can discern about “learning differences” in this classroom. Choose a topic for a curriculum unit that you believe represents “culturally relevant pedagogy,” which is developmentally appropriate for the students you are working with.  Develop a unit of study of at least a week’s duration that will include three lesson plans.  Your paper should include all of the following:

  1. Rationale for your unit of study.  Why this topic?  What makes it “culturally relevant?” Make some connection to the literature we have read.  Include some of your background knowledge of this topic in this section.
  2. Learning goals (include relevant city, state, or district standards – you choose)
  3. Relevant knowledge and skills to be covered during the unit. Justify your choices – say how they are culturally relevant

For each lesson plan, include:

  1. Learning goals.
  2. Activity or activities to be performed (what will students DO? How will these activities help students meet their learning goals?)
  3. Materials needed for completion of activities (including information resources – be specific)
  4. Instructional methods.  This should include detailed descriptions of how you will design the activities and assignments for multiple and varied levels of learners and provide for various abilities and learning differences. Also talk about introducing the topic, how you will structure the time, etc. 
  5. What “products” will students be responsible for creating?  How will you assess these learning products in a way that tells you whether the learning goals and/or standards have been met?

Suggested length: 6 + pages, typed, double-spaced.  Your lesson plans should be so detailed that a substitute teacher would not have any problems implementing your plans.

Part III.
Due November 9th - Statement of the problem (Action Research proposal)
See handout

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