Private Tour to Greece – summer of 2018

I am organizing my 13th or 14th international tour. If you are interested in coming along, please email me at bill@billhowe.org. The dates are July 22nd to August 5th, 2018 with the trip starting in Athens and ending in Santorini. Teachers get CEU credit at no charge. Graduate credit available for a fee. A lesson plan is provided for you at the end of the tour so you can do a presentation for faculty or students. Since this is a private tour, you need to talk to me first so I can alert the travel company.

Here is the trip website: https://www.geeo.org/tours/GreeceHowe/

Emerging Issues and Trends in Education (International Race and Education Series)

I was pleased to write the Foreword for this new publication “Emerging Issues and Trends in Education” edited by Theodore S. Ransaw and Richard Majors and published by Michigan State University Press.

As classrooms across the globe become increasingly more diverse, it is imperative that educators understand how to meet the needs of students with varying demographic backgrounds. Emerging Issues and Trends in Education presents case studies from academics who have all at one point been teachers in K–12 classrooms, addressing topics such as STEM as well as global issues related to race, gender education, education policy, and parental engagement. The contributors take an international approach, including research about Nigerian, Chinese, Native American, and Mexican American classrooms. With a focus on multidisciplinary perspectives, Emerging Issues and Trends in Education is reflective of the need to embrace different ways of looking at problems to improve education for all students.


Multicultural Education in Your Classroom

SOURCE: https://techfeatured.com/5412/multicultural-education-in-your-classroom-2

America has always been referred to as a melting pot, but ideally, it’s a place where we strive to invite everyone to celebrate exactly who they are. As the US population is becoming increasingly diverse and technology makes the world feel increasingly smaller, it is time to make every classroom a multicultural classroom.

What is Multicultural Education?

Multicultural education is more than celebrating Cinco de Mayo with tacos and piñatas or reading the latest biography of Martin Luther King Jr. It is an educational movement built on basic American values such as freedom, justice, opportunity, and equality. It is a set of strategies aimed to address the diverse challenges experienced by rapidly changing U.S. demographics. And it is a beginning step to shifting the balance of power and privilege within the education system.

The goals of multicultural education include:

  • Creating a safe, accepting and successful learning environment for all
  • Increasing awareness of global issues
  • Strengthening cultural consciousness
  • Strengthening intercultural awareness
  • Teaching students that there are multiple historical perspectives
  • Encouraging critical thinking
  • Preventing prejudice and discrimination

Advantages of Multicultural Education

According to the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME), multicultural education:

  • Helps students develop positive self-image.
  • Offers students an equitable educational opportunity.
  • Allows multiple perspectives and ways of thinking.
  • Combats stereotypes and prejudicial behavior.
  • Teaches students to critique society in the interest of social justice.

Road Blocks to Implementing Multicultural Education

Contrary to popular belief, multicultural education is more than cultural awareness, but rather an initiative to encompass all under-represented groups (people of color, women, people with disabilities, etc) and to ensure curriculum and content including such groups is accurate and complete.

Unfortunately, multicultural education is not as easy as a yearly heritage celebration or supplemental unit here and there. Rather, it requires schools to reform traditional curriculum.

Too often, students are misinformed and misguided. Not all textbooks present historical content fully and accurately. For instance, Christopher Columbus is celebrated as the American hero who discovered America. This take on history completely ignores the pre-European history of Native Americans and the devastation that colonization had on them. Some history books are being revised, but often, it’s much easier to teach that “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

Most curriculums also focus more on North America and Europe than any other region. Most students have learned about genocide through stories of the Holocaust, but do they know that hundreds of thousands of people are being killed in places like Darfur and Rwanda? Despite our close proximity to Latin America, American schools typically spend little time reading Latin American literature or learning about the culture and history?

Thus, multicultural education is most successful when implemented as a schoolwide approach with reconstruction of not only curriculum, but also organizational and institutional policy.

Unfortunately most educational institutions are not prepared to implement multicultural education in their classrooms. Multicultural education requires a staff that is not only diverse, but also culturally competent. Educators must be aware, responsive and embracing of the diverse beliefs, perspectives and experiences. They must also be willing and ready to address issues of controversy.  These issues include, but are not limited to, racism, sexism, religious intolerance, classism, ageism, etc.

What You Can Do in Your Classroom

Just because we’re facing an uphill battle doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take those first steps. To integrate multicultural education in your classroom and your school, you can:

  • Integrate a diverse reading list that demonstrates the universal human experience across cultures
  • Encourage community participation and social activism
  • Go beyond the textbook
  • By supplementing your curriculum with current events and news stories outside the textbook, you can draw parallels between the distant experiences of the past and the world today.
  • Creating multicultural projects that require students to choose a background outside of their own
  • Suggest that your school host an in-service professional development on multi-cultural education in the classroom

Favorite Lessons in Multicultural Education

Analyze issues of racism through pop culture.

Example: Study the affects of WWII for Japanese Americans through political cartoons, movies, photography, etc.

Analyze issues of socioeconomic class through planning and development.

Example: Design a development project with solutions to the needs of those living in poverty stricken communities.

Analyze issues of sexism through media.

Example: Make a scrapbook of stereotypical portrayals of both men and women. Compare both positive and negative stereotypes and determine the struggles they face as a result of these stereotypes.

Recommended Resources:

Books

Becoming Multicultural Educators by Geneva Gay

Beyond Heros and Holidays by Enid Lee

Lies My Teachers Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James Loewen

Professional Development

Teaching Diversity: Influences and Issues in the Classroom

Customize for Your School

Courses & Seminars in Your Area

 

As Need for Foreign Languages in School Grows, Access Continues to Shrink

foreign languages in schoolRecently, Katrina Griffin’s students took on a hot-button topic: Should parents control how much video games their children play? They debated the question at great length, making fierce, fact-based arguments, aimed at swaying their peers.

And they did it—in German.

Consider what you’ve heard about the slow death of foreign languages in schools, and what you may already have heard or read: the number of language students enrolled has been declining for years, as has the number of language teachers.

Now, consider what Griffin heard in her own classroom: “A pretty heated debate! And it was in the target language,” she says.

Griffin and other educators are showing how to reverse the decline of U.S. language instruction. They are making language interesting and relevant to students, while also teaching them the critical 21st-century skills—collaboration, communication, presentation, and yes, proficiency in a second (or third) language—that will make them must-hire and give-them-a-raise employees someday.

The facts are these: Just 22 percent of elementary and secondary students in the U.S. take language classes or programs, according a new report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. According to “The State of Languages in the U.S.: A Statistical Portrait,” among elementary schools, the percentage teaching language fell from 31 percent in 1997 to 25 percent in 2008, despite evidence that an early start provides an edge in acquiring language proficiency. Among middle schools, the percentage dropped from 75 to 58 percent.

Source: The State of Languages in the U.S.: A Statistical Portrait

In Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Vermont, New Hampshire and Wisconsin, more than 30 percent of K-12 students were enrolled in language. In Kentucky, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, and Oregon, it was fewer than 13 percent.

This lack of support at the K12 level has led to declining enrollments in college, and declining levels of proficiency among American adults. And yet, the report also found that employers actually want workers who can speak another language.

“While English continues to be the lingua franca for world trade and diplomacy, there is an emerging consensus among leaders in business and politics, teachers, scientists, and community members that proficiency in English is not sufficient to meet the nation’s needs in a shrinking world,” the report’s authors write.

In Massachusetts a study found that online job ads seeking candidates who could speak a language other than English skyrocketed from 5,612 openings in 2010 to 14,561 in 2015. A similar study from New Jersey found that one in five job postings from some of the state’s largest employers—Bank of America, H&R Block, etc.—sought bilingual employees.

Meanwhile, the federal government also designates some languages as representing “critical needs” for national security. These currently include Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Korean, and Japanese.

Hallo? Guten Morgen!

Bucking the national trends, at Griffin’s school, North County High School in Anne Arundel County., Md., a diverse campus where about 42 percent of students are living below the federal poverty line and 43 percent are non-White, student enrollment in world languages continues to grow. Recently, additional teaching positions in the languages department have had to be added.

While English continues to be the lingua franca for world trade and diplomacy, there is an emerging consensus among leaders in business and politics, teachers, scientists, and community members that proficiency in English is not sufficient to meet the nation’s needs in a shrinking world”

Students want to take these classes, and it’s no mystery why. Griffin, chair of the language department and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language’s 2017 National Language Teacher of the Year, has tossed aside vocabulary memorization worksheets and verb-conjugation quizzes. Instead, with her leadership, language instruction has focused on actually using the language and practicing workplace skills.

Students read, write, and send emails in French, German, and Spanish. They also debate issues, like appropriate video game usage, write persuasive essays, work together on the Internet to research and write school-supply budgets and shopping lists, and discuss in groups meaningful, current questions like: Should new immigrants take on the culture of their new countries, or adhere to their cultural heritages? Their teachers don’t have the answers—their students do.

“What’s unique to our classroom is that it’s the only place where students are taught to communicate. In other classes, students may learn a lot of content, but they may not be learning to look people in the eye, to effectively communicate in spoken and written language,” says Griffin.

Her students rely on “authentic sources,” not textbooks, but the kinds of things their peers might pick up in Austria or Germany. During assessments, they might have to have a real conversation that interprets and incorporates those sources. It’s not like when Griffin started teaching, pre-home Internet, 16 years ago, and she was packing her vacation suitcases full of German magazines.

The students also are staying with languages longer, instead of the typical two to three years. Even though many of North County’s students don’t go to four-year colleges—many do go to two-year colleges, which don’t require language study for admission—they like what they’re learning. She and her colleagues teach every student “like they’re going to be proficient someday, and we tell them, ‘you just don’t know how useful this may be to you.’”