Tag Archives: Culturally Responsive Education

The Whiteness Project

POV Interactive Shorts are a new digital series allowing audiences to engage with documentaries on a deeper level using new technologies and new paradigms in storytelling. Find out more »

Whiteness Project: Inside the White Caucasian Box is the first installment of a multiplatform investigation into how Americans who identify as “white” experience their ethnicity. Director and Producer Whitney Dow discusses the making of this collection of 24 interviews filmed in Buffalo, NY in July 2014.

 

view at ……  http://www.pbs.org/pov/blog/povdocs/2014/10/pov-interactive-shorts-qa-with-whitney-dow-whiteness-project/#.VEkZGovF-Jb

FacebookGoogle GmailLinkedInEmailShare

Why Asian Americans hate hearing “Where are you from?”

This has been a good week for sometimes contentious but bracing conversations on Facebook. The latest one started when I posted a link to an excellent Forbes article by Ruchika Tulshyan titled “‘Where Are You From?’ And Other Big Networking Racial Faux Pas”

The article raises the oft-aired complaint by Asian Americans that asking “Where are you from?” (sometimes linked to the even more irritating “You speak English so well…”) is a social, racial no-no.

I certainly can’t argue with that. I’ve written plenty about this very topic. I once criticized Martha Stewart for pulling the “Where are you from?” card, and in the post also included the conversation from my book, “Being Japanese American” that so many Asian American are all too familiar with, which starts with “You speak English so well” and veers off into “where are you from?” territory.

The Forbes piece quotes a South Asian news producer making a point that many Asian Americans should learn by heart and recite whenever we’re asked the question:

“I’m American – just like our president is American, just like the actress, Mindy Kaling is American, just like Abraham Lincoln is American. I am also American. I think once people realize that being American doesn’t mean being white, then we can move the conversation forward and we can have a better dialogue about race.” says Shefali Kulkarni, digital producer at PRI’s The World.

Tulshyan offers these suggestions for more appropriate ways to learn about someone’s ethnic heritage (I generally ask people “What’s your ethnic heritage?”):

read more…..

FacebookGoogle GmailLinkedInEmailShare

Norway government recognizes multicultural education advantages

A mere 4.7% of teachers in primary schools are immigrants or born to immigrant parents, 2012 data from Statistics Norway shows. The new bi-Partite coalition intends to improve this teacher percentage.

The figures also reveal 40% of the students have a mother tongue other than Norwegian or Sami.
Joke Dewilde, at eastern Norway’s Hedmark University College teacher education faculty, states a higher number of bilingual teachers will be good for students, and good for Norway.

“Norway is part of a global world and getting more teachers with a different background to a Norwegian one will be reflected in tuition. In turn, it will be easier for students from different backgrounds to find their place,” she told Aftenposten-run website osloby.no.

Neither SSB nor the Ministry of Education have a list of teachers’ backgrounds, but the government intends to increase the proportion of teachers from minority groups.
“We need talented people with diverse backgrounds in the teaching profession, and we want a teacher capable of reflecting society and students in the classroom. The school system currently has 11 per cent of pupils from immigrant backgrounds. This therefore makes intercultural competence important in schools,” said the Conservatives’ (H) Deputy Minister of Education, Birgitte Jordahl.

read more …..

FacebookGoogle GmailLinkedInEmailShare

Been in a Saloon Lately?

Source: http://quschoolofeducation.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/been-in-a-saloon-lately/

Been in a Saloon Lately?

By: Dr. William Howe, Adjunct Professor of Education

WOMEN AND PEOPLE COLOR OFTEN BEAR THE BURDEN OF HAVING TO SPEND A LIFETIME  MAKING OTHERS FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH THEM.

saloon (1)
Those of us who grew up in the 60s probably remember spending hours watching Westerns on television. A common scene is a noisy saloon filled with people. There are classes clinking, loud arguments, a honky-tonk piano, and the occasional gunfire. Suddenly, a stranger comes to the saloon doors and the place falls silent. People gaze in awe or contempt at the person entering.

Have you ever had that experience yourself? I had that experience this week and numerous times in my life. Today, I entered a room to join a new committee and quickly realized that among the 35 people present, I was the only person of color.

Some of you may know quite well what I am talking about – being the only person who is different and receiving uncomfortable looks from others in the room. Women experience that when they enter into a room filled with men only. People of color feel this when they walk into a room and suddenly the room falls quiet. For the person entering the room, they had several choices – turn around and leave, go into the room and disappear into a corner, or learn to work the room.

Of all the lessons that we can give to women and people of color, perhaps most important is to learn how to cope with this situation. I have had people obviously uncomfortable with me present. One person blurted out that they love Chinese food. Another, for some reason, had to tell me about eating at a Chinese restaurant in the Midwest and asking if I knew the owners. We know what it’s like when people are uncomfortable with us, when people are uncomfortable with diversity. It is critical then that we teach women and students of color seven key social skills that they will need in order to learn how to fit into the current world of work. For they will have two overcome the facts that people like to hire people that they like and that they are comfortable with and unfortunately there are many who do not have enough experience with women or people of color to have a comfort level. Therefore, we must teach these key skills valued in the American world of work but often, the opposite of what is taught and valued in other cultures.

1.  Speaking Up – people who speak softly are often viewed in the American culture as being insecure and weak. This is however a cultural trait often taught to people from other cultures as a demonstration of their modesty and humbleness. It is important to teach that although this skill is appropriate and valued in the culture, in order to succeed in the American workplace we must learn to speak out in a louder voice.
2.  Small Talk – people are comfortable with people who are able to engage them in conversation. People who are good talkers or storytellers are able to make others feel at ease. This is a skill that must be learned by women and people of color in order to help others for comfortable with them.
3.  Smiling – I once had a group of teachers from Azerbaijan asked me why American smile so much. Smiling is not culturally a common practice in other countries. Americans like people who smile because they look much more approachable. People who have great smiles, not only look better, but look more friendly and sincere.
4.  Being Assertive – assertive, not aggressive, is something that we should teach students. In the American workplace, assertiveness is valued. It is seen, in other cultures as being impolite or rude.
5.  Hand-Shaking – we talk about shaking hands to close the deal. We shake hands in order to judge a person. A good firm handshake sends a message of confidence and sincerity. For those from other cultures or handshaking is not a common practice, it is important to teach this skill.
6.  Eye Contact- so often we hear about how quaint it is that Asians and Latinos look down to show deference to elders or their superiors. This is true. But it is not seen as a strength in the American world of work. Good eye contact must be taught.
7.  Self-Promotion – most of us were probably raised being taught not to be a showoff or to brag. However, there is a time and a place when we must learn to sell ourselves. We must learn to state our skills and experiences without hesitation.

One may ask whether this is fair to ask people to fit into a culture which they obviously do not find comfortable. The reality is that until the “minorities” become the “majority” we must learn to play the game. The positive message that we must sure is that we are not giving up our culture or denying our culture, we are learning how to be multicultural. We have earned how to survive and succeed in our home culture as well as the American world of work. This is a strength. Having a degree from a reputable college is often insufficient for women and people of color. They must learn the key social skills in order to get the job and to flourish in the organization. Once they rise to the top they can begin changing the culture of the organization.
_______________________________________________________________________

Dr. Bill Howe is an adjunct professor of education at Quinnipiac University. He is the co-author of the recently published, award-winning textbook by Sage – Becoming a multicultural educator: Developing awareness, gaining skills, and taking action. (Howe & Lisi, 2014).

FacebookGoogle GmailLinkedInEmailShare