Catholic curricula and the invisibility of Native Americans

Source: https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2019/01/23/catholic-curricula-and-invisibility-native-americans

Marlene Lang

January 23, 2019

Native American protestors hold hands with parishioner Nathanial Hall, right, during a group prayer outside the Catholic Diocese of Covington on Jan. 22, 2019, in Covington, Ky. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Native American protestors hold hands with parishioner Nathanial Hall, right, during a group prayer outside the Catholic Diocese of Covington on Jan. 22, 2019, in Covington, Ky. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

As social media went wild on Saturday, I wondered: What message had the Covington Catholic High School students been given about Native Americans before their encounter with Nathan Phillips?

More broadly, I wondered about the place of America’s indigenous peoples in secondary education. I teach at a Catholic university across the river from Covington, Ky. Last December I introduced undergraduates to Native America via an episode of MTV’s “Rebel Music” series, and a presentation of my dissertation research. I had spent several years on a mission to listen respectfully to what Native Americans were telling white, Christian America. The act of listening was uncomfortable at best, and a long, stinging rebuke at worst.

My students encountered Native American scholars and activists like Vine Deloria Jr. and Dennis Banks, learned of the American Indian Movement and met a comedy troupe called The 1491s. I explained what happened at Wounded Knee in 1890 and showed the infamous photos of dead Native Americans left frozen and contorted in the snow. I read a grim account of discovering the jawbone of a Native American toddler who had “not yet shed its milk teeth,” left in the aftermath of the 1865 Sand Creek massacre.A handful in any classroom will know any Native American history at all, and others are surprised to find out what they “knew” was inaccurate.Tweet this

Putting Native American peoples and their history before students elicits self-admitted ignorance. A handful in any classroom will know any Native American history at all, and others are surprised to find out what they “knew” was inaccurate. The students have not failed. We educators have failed them. In last semester’s course, I think part of the students’ sadness came with realizing that they understood almost nothing about something important.

My research revealed one statement repeated by almost every indigenous voice I encountered: “No one is listening to us!” Similarly, half a century ago, the Native American writer Vine Deloria Jr. titled a long essay “We Talk, You Listen.” Winona LaDuke offered a 2017 op-ed saying she is tired of being ignored and invisible to “you all,” the “we all” being white Americans. Too often, Native Americans are known to people only as stereotypes—mascots with feathers, frozen in time. We act as if they “vanished” when they are very alive and present.Native Americans are known as stereotypes—mascots with feathers, frozen in time. We act as if they “vanished” when they are very alive and present.Tweet this

It should not be my place to speak about what Native Americans are saying, when what they themselves are saying is so rarely attended to. But that is the point. I am an outsider to tribal communities, yet I seem to be among the few who have listened long enough to feel uneasy as a beneficiary of their loss.

And I am a Catholic educator. I am feeling deeply this week the failure of American education—public, private and religious—to teach young citizens-in-the-making the full, problematic history of their own nation. Our students are too rarely confronted with the inconceivable suffering of African slaves and the unconscionable attempted genocide of the peoples who populated the Americas. The invisibility of Native America in education tells our students that indigenous people do not matter.RELATED STORIES

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The social doctrine of the Catholic Church, distilled from papal encyclicals that began responding to social injustices during the industrial revolution, calls for every human being to be treated with dignity. It teaches solidarity with our struggling neighbors, the need to see ourselves as one human family. This teaching is part of any Catholic education.

Last weekend’s incident in Washington is a call for a corrective in education. How much did the young men from Covington High know about indigenous people? Probably very little. But we must teach an honest American history, not merely one provided by history’s “winners.”

The absence of indigenous peoples demonstrates that their criticisms are correct. Our unexamined sense of superiority finds them unimportant.

We are guilty to the extent that we dismiss the unpleasant, condemning truth, and fail to turn from it. We are guilty to the extent that we choose to cling to a comfortable place of privilege while the wreckage of conquest lies, barely dusted over, around us. Educators, from administrators to classroom teachers, need to examine the absence of the American Indian in their American schools, and correct it.

And, mostly, we need to hear what the indigenous have to teach us.

Culturally responsive teaching in a globalized world

Source: http://theconversation.com/culturally-responsive-teaching-in-a-globalized-world-109881

Classrooms in many parts of the world are increasingly diverse. International migration patterns have significantly changed the cultural make-up of many industrialized societies and, by extension, their school-aged populations.

Such changes are particularly seen in traditional destination countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In this increasingly globalized landscape, schools face significant challenges. Researchers have documented lower educational outcomes such as student achievement and graduation rates for immigrant students in the majority of countries around the world.

In response to these outcomes, more research is being devoted to understanding and supporting conditions for equitable learning. Culturally responsive teaching (CRT) is one idea to support these conditions. CRT is concerned with teaching methods and practices that recognize the importance of including students’ cultural backgrounds in all aspects of learning.

To date, much focus in the field of CRT draws attention to the need for a greater diversity of role models and learning experiences in the classroom, and an expansion of teachers’ capacities to truly support and affirm diverse students.

As education researchers who have worked with teachers in training, and teachers in K-12 schools as well as teacher educators in Australasia, Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, U.K. and the U.S., we argue that more attention needs to be paid to an overlooked aspect of CRT: both education systems and individual teachers must develop culturally responsive assessment and evaluation practices to boost student success.

How to recruit and prepare teachers?

CRT is sometimes also called culturally relevant teaching. This mode of teaching aims to be aware of how culture, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, language, gender identity and religious background may impact students’ learning experiences.

In many school contexts, student diversity far exceeds the diversity of teachers. Such an imbalance means students do not always encounter educator role models who reflect diverse cultural backgrounds throughout their schooling.

Thus, one aspect of promoting CRT is increasing efforts to attract a more representative demographic of teachers.

Recent analysis from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) suggests that in most OECD countries the typical person who expects a career in teaching at age 15 is a female with no immigrant background.

The findings are based on a question to 15-year-olds on 2006 and 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment surveys: “What kind of job do you expect to have when you are about 30 years old?” (4.5 per cent of non-immigrant respondents said teaching; only 3.1 per cent of immigrant respondents said teaching).

The OECD survey did not capture racialized identity. But more fine-grain analyses within the traditional Western destination countries suggest racialized people and Indigenous groups are particularly underrepresented among teachers.

For example, Canada’s largest and most diverse province (Ontario) has a significant teacher diversity gap as evidenced by fairly recent demographic data.

Racialized people represent 26 per cent of the provincial population, yet comprise only nine per cent of the 117,905 elementary school and kindergarten teachers and 10 per cent of 70,520 secondary school teachers.

When teachers don’t represent society’s diversity, students miss the opportunity to encounter educator role models reflecting diverse cultural backgrounds. Shutterstock

Targeted teacher recruitment efforts are one strategy to improve racialized teacher diversity. Enrolment targets or quota admissions are others.

Specialized programs for Indigenous peoples such as the teacher program focused on Aboriginal Education at Brock University or Maori Medium Teacher Education in New Zealand demonstrate efforts to grow the number of Indigenous peoples in teaching.

But strategies such as as diversified recruiting, quotas or specialized programs would take time and will likely struggle to keep up with changing student demographics.

Hence, providing relevant cultural training and professional development for aspiring and experienced teachers becomes even more important.

Such training needs to extend beyond traditional multicultural education approaches, or what has been called a “tourist” curriculum characterized by occasional or “highlight” additions.

Instead, training for teachers must model a multi-dimensional approach that includes integrating content from diverse cultures and experiences, and critically examining how cultural identity impacts learning.

Our experiences with teachers and teacher education programs globally reaffirm research findings about recognized practices in teacher education that impact student success.

For example, teachers programs should help teacher candidates critically consider their own identities in relationship to societal inequities and prejudice; optimally, with growth and maturity, they learn how to model deep inclusion.

Assessment literacy: The missing link

We also want to draw attention to an area that has been neglected in broader discussions of CRT – namely, assessment and evaluation strategies.

Most educators now accept that student assessment is the beginning point for instruction, not simply the end. That means assessment can be a powerful support when used throughout learning stages to provide meaningful feedback to students. Teachers need to carefully consider assessment and evaluation before they begin a lesson or unit of study and to use assessment to monitor students’ learning.

However, assessment continues to operate in more traditional ways: it continues to be used primarily as a measure of students’ final learning in courses through tests and exams or through large-scale provincial, state or national testing programs.

Teachers’ competency in using assessment to support student learning and to accurately report on it is called “assessment literacy” — so named for the ability to “read” a class to develop fair, relevant and supportive assessment.

Teachers must learn culturally responsive frameworks to develop fair practices for obtaining accurate information about students’ learning. Our research suggests competency in developing assessment can be enhanced through effective professional development.

The issue of fair assessment also raises questions about system-wide standardized testing, often used for accountability purposes. Standardized testing can be biased, for example reflecting foremost the experiences of white middle-class students.

Thus we acknowledge the need to combine the dual movements of CRT as focused in teacher recruiting and training with greater attention to responsive assessment.

Unless that happens, CRT will only find limited success in creating classrooms that ensure learning and achievement is attainable for all.

The Five Most Common Native Languages of English-Learners

Source: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning-the-language/2018/10/most_english_learners_speak_these_five_languages.html

 

« Most States Failing to Meet English-Learner Academic Targets, Report Finds | Main

The Five Most Common Native Languages of English-Learners

05-Dual-Language-Haitian-Creole-Dance-article.jpg

Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Haitian Creole are the top five home languages for English-language learners in the nation’s K-12 public schools, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Education.

“The Biennial Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Title III State Formula Grant Program” offers an in-depth look at the prevalence of the languages among the nation’s K-12 English-learner population.

Altogether, more than 80 percent of the nation’s English-learners are native speakers of one of those languages, but there is lots of linguistic diversity among the nation’s English-learners: 44 languages were represented among the individual states’ top five most commonly spoken languages during the 2013-14 school year, the report found.

Capture Most Common Languages.PNG

The study, delivered to Congress at the end of September, uses data from the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years to examine the state of English-learner education in the United States.

Here’s an overview of the data on the most common native languages of English-learners:

1.       Spanish

In the 2013-14 school year, 10 states reported that at least 80 percent of the English-learners enrolled in public K-12 schools were native Spanish speakers. Here’s a look:

Capture Spanish Speaking.PNG

All but five states reported Spanish as the most common language for English-learners. Those five states, along with the most common languages in each, are: Alaska (Yup’ik languages); Hawaii (Iloko); Maine (Somali); Montana (German); and Vermont (Nepali).

2.       Arabic

The number of English-learners reported as speaking Arabic increased by 157 percent between the 2006-07 and 2013-14 school years. The 2006-07 school year marked the first time the biennial report listed the number of Arabic-speaking English-learners. Even with the growth, Arabic speakers represent just about 2.5 percent of all English-learners.

Overall, Arabic is among the top five native languages for English-learners in 36 states and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Here’s a look:

Capture Arabic Speaking.PNG

3.       Chinese

The number of English-learners reported as speaking Chinese increased by 195 percent between the 2006-07 and 2013-14 school years. The 2006-07 school year marked the first time the biennial report listed the number of English-learners with Asian or Pacific Islander languages. Here’s a look:

Capture Asian Pacific Islander Languages.PNGOverall, native Chinese-speaking students represent about 2.4 percent of all English-learners. The report does not distinguish between Cantonese and Mandarin speakers.

4.       Vietnamese

The percentage of English-learners whose native language is Vietnamese is 1.9 percent, the same percentage as it was in the 2006-07 school year. However, the overall number of Vietnamese-speaking English-learners has declined over that period, dropping from nearly 86,000 to about 80,000—a more than 5 percent decline.

The decline of English-speakers of Hmong, another Asian-Pacific Islander language, took an even more dramatic drop, falling by 57 percent. (See the chart above for more detail)

5.       Haitian Creole

Haitian Creole replaced Hmong in the category of five most common languages spoken by English-learners nationwide in the 2012-13 school year. The Haitian Creole-speaking English-learners are largely concentrated in four states, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Here’s a look:

Capture Haitian Creole Speakers.PNG

Haitian Creole remained among the top five languages during the 2013-14 school year, despite a 4 percent decline from the previous year that brought the population down to roughly 35,500.

What About American Indian and Alaska Native languages?

A declining number of states identify an American Indian or Alaska Native language among the five most common native languages of English-learners, dropping from 10 in 2012-13 to seven in 2013-14.

The seven states where an American Indian or Alaska Native language were among the most common languages are: Alaska, Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah. The states that dropped from the list are: Idaho, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

The biennial report captures data on eight American Indian and Alaska native languages or language groups.

Here’s a copy of the full report:

Biennial Report to Congress… by on Scribd</p >

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Images: U.S. Department of Education, office of English-language acquisition

Photo Credit: Kindergartner Ava Josephine Mikel and teacher Priscilla Joseph dance to Haitian music during a game of “freeze dance” at Toussaint L’Ouverture Academy, a Haitian Creole dual-language program at Mattahunt Elementary School in Boston. More dual-language programs are cropping up in districts around the country.

–Gretchen Ertol for Education Week

Multicultural Awareness Boosts Teaching Competency, But Is an Uneven Resource Among Future Teachers

Source: http://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2017/december/multicultural-awareness-boosts-teaching-competency–but-is-an-un.html

Prior Experience Working with Youth of Color Linked to More Multicultural Awareness

 

Student teachers with more multicultural awareness foster more positive classroom environments for their students, finds a new study by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and published in the Journal of Teacher Education.

However, multicultural awareness varies considerably among future teachers based on their own race or ethnicity and prior experience working with youth of color.

Multicultural awareness – which refers to an awareness of, comfort with, and sensitivity toward issues of cultural diversity in the classroom – is crucial to teachers’ abilities to promote positive outcomes for all students. Despite decades of policy reforms that emphasize the importance of multicultural awareness, few comparative studies have examined its prevalence in students preparing to be teachers (also known as preservice teachers) or the link between multicultural awareness and future teachers’ measured competencies.

“In light of the persistent demographic divide between a predominantly White teaching force and evermore racially and ethnically diverse schools, current and future educators’ abilities to create inclusive classroom environments are critical for fostering student success,” said Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng, assistant professor of international education at NYU Steinhardt and the study’s lead author.

In this study, the researchers used unique data of preservice teachers’ beliefs and student teacher performance assessments to ask whether levels of multicultural awareness vary by characteristics such as race and ethnicity, education, and prior experience working with diverse youth, as well as whether multicultural awareness shapes teaching competency.

Surveys on multicultural beliefs were collected from 2,473 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in teacher certification programs at a private U.S. university between 2010 and 2015. About 60 percent of the students surveyed (1,498) were also observed and evaluated by master teachers while student teaching.

The researchers found that multicultural beliefs are tied to student teachers’ ability to create strong and nurturing classroom environments, measured during student teaching observations by master teachers.

“Our study underscores the importance of equipping all teachers with essential multicultural knowledge, skills, and dispositions,” added Cherng.

The researchers also found that Black and Latino preservice teachers report greater multicultural awareness than their White counterparts. Asian American preservice teachers report having the least multicultural awareness.

“These differences are consistent with prior research that finds that Black and Latino teachers, drawing upon their own identities and experiences as racial minorities, are often more aware of and sensitive toward cultural differences,” said Cherng. “What is less clear is why Asian Americans report having lower levels of multicultural awareness. It is possible that Asian American student teachers believe that multicultural education, like other discourses on race that make little mention of Asian Americans, does not include or embrace their identities.”

Preservice teachers, particularly Latinos and Asian Americans, who had prior experience working with students of color had higher levels of multicultural awareness.

“This finding suggests that educators may develop a stronger racial consciousness through working with youth of color,” Cherng said.

Preservice teachers in different content area and grade-level programs reported different levels of multicultural awareness. For example, compared to future teachers in early childhood programs, those in math, science, and social studies programs had lower levels of multicultural awareness.

The researchers urge that their findings be used to inform teacher education policy and meaningfully focus both curriculum and instruction on preservice teachers that would benefit most from multicultural awareness.

The study can also inform teacher recruitment efforts. For example, since they found that prior experience working with youth of color is linked with more multicultural awareness, recruitment efforts could focus on community organizations that serve diverse youth.

“Through a deeper understanding of the relationships between preservice teachers’ background characteristics, multicultural beliefs, and evolving teaching competencies, our study contributes to our understanding of preparing teachers for diverse classrooms and prompts further investigation into developing cultural competence in teaching,” said Cherng.

Laura Davis of New York University coauthored the study with Cherng.

About the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development (@nyusteinhardt)
Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development prepares students for careers in the arts, education, health, media, and psychology. Since its founding in 1890, the Steinhardt School’s mission has been to expand human capacity through public service, global collaboration, research, scholarship, and practice. To learn more about NYU Steinhardt, visit steinhardt.nyu.edu.