From altered perceptions to altered practice: Teachers bridge cultures in the classroom.

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Immigrant students and their families sometimes experience conflict or alienation in U.S. schools owing to differences between the collectivistic values of home (focused on the well-being of the family and group) and the individualistic values of schools (focused on the well-being of individuals) that drive instructional practices and school policies. The research project discussed here explored whether professional development based on cultural theory and research could support experienced teachers in creating culturally responsive classrooms for their primarily Latino immigrant students. Seven experienced, bilingual Spanish–English teachers from Southern California participated in professional development based on theory and research related to the cultural concepts of individualism and collectivism. The professional development approach was nonprescriptive and engaged teachers in collaborative inquiry and problem-solving. As a result of the training, teachers’ proposed solutions to classroom and home–school conflicts shifted from primarily individualistic solutions on pretests to more collectivistic solutions and solutions that integrated both cultural perspectives on posttests. Gains in teachers’ understanding of and respect for both cultures led to a more mutual stance toward parents, altered classroom organization, improved classroom management, and stimulated the use of instructional practices that were more harmonious with the values of their students.

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About This Study:

Intervention(s): Teacher Professional Development
Intervention Duration: Unknown
Relevant ORR Program: Refugee School Impact Program
Study Type: Suggestive evidence
Full Text Availability: Free
Direction of Evidence: Positive impact
Strength of Evidence: Suggestive
Population(s): Other
Gender(s) of Participants: All
Age(s) of Participants: Adults
Region(s) of Origin of Participants: North America

Relevant Evidence Summaries:

The evidence was reviewed and included in the following summaries: