It was evident that these teachers affirmed their students’ native languages. The teachers focused on the content that the students were learning and allowed students to respond in whatever language they preferred. The teachers’ affirmation of the students’ native languages ended up affirming the students themselves. This maximized student involvement, participation and understanding.
The traditional schooling model is not meeting the needs of minority students. Research shows that many of these students are not succeeding in the American educational system. With the rapid growth of minority populations in the U.S., this problem needs to addressed before minority students fall further behind.
One way educators can help minority students better succeed is through the implementation of culturally relevant pedagogy. This strategy focuses on the importance of integrating minority students past experiences and culture into the classroom. This can only be done when teachers are knowledgeable about their students’ native cultures and take time to get to know their individual students. Once this takes place, educators must make changes to their pedagogical methods and academic curriculum to help bridge the cultural gap that often exists between minority students’ homes and American schools.
Research shows that there is a positive correlation between culturally relevant pedagogy and minority students’ success. In classrooms where culturally relevant teaching was implemented, minority students became more interested in the subject matter, were more focused and engaged, and participated more during the lessons. In several cases, students improved academically and raised their standardized test scores.
Culturally relevant pedagogy is a complex concept because it deals with culture, a very broad far reaching concept. The word, “culture” is a loaded term about which one could write an entire thesis. In addition, culture manifests itself differently in people due to personalities, family traditions and socio-economic status. As a result, there is no formula or set rule for the implementation of this teaching strategy. Its implementation looks differently in every classroom depending on the mix of minority students and their individual needs. Studies show that while it is worthwhile for teachers to integrate this strategy, it will take effort on their part as they will have to take the time to learn about their students’ cultures and then determine how to integrate this knowledge into their classroom activities.
Improving the education success of minority students is a very important topic that needs more research. There are many factors that lead to their underachievement including: socio-economic status, minority group status, parental involvement, cultural discontinuities etc. Each one of these needs the attention and focus of researchers and educators in order to help minority...