Culturally Proficient Practice
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Culturally Proficient Practice
Supporting Educators of English Learning Students

Foreword by Donaldo Macedo



© 2012 | 208 pages | Corwin

Help your English learning students achieve academic success!

U.S. demographics are quickly shifting, and it is more important than ever to reach and teach English learning students. Designed to empower educators to become agents of change in their classrooms, schools, and communities, this guide introduces the principles of Cultural Proficiency and how they can help improve educators' ability to effectively teach English language learners. This book features:

  • Activities that build core Cultural Proficiency skills and promote personal transformation
  • A chapter-by-chapter rubric for working effectively with English learning students
  • A conversation-starting case story featuring the River View School District
  • Strategies for using action research to improve the success of English learning students

By focusing on Cultural Proficiency—and the underlying causes of EL achievement gaps—educators can uncover ways to break down academic barriers and use students' cultural background as educational assets.

"This is a valuable resource for staff developers creating culturally proficient learning environments to close the achievement gap. This work focuses on English learning students with the same 'inside out' approach as the authors' previous work. A perfect asset for a professional learning community book study!"
—Linda Fisher, Staff Development Coordinator
Lincoln Unified School District, Stockton, CA

"The book provides the school leader with the tools to engage themselves and others in making English learning students a priority. It is a must read for educators to get those hard and healthy conversations started and to examine our school practices and policies."
—Lori Henderson, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services
Manitoba, Canada

 
Foreword by Donaldo Macedo
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
Introduction
 
Part I. The Context and Tools for Educating English Learning Students
 
1. Setting the Context
Getting Centered  
Going Deeper  
 
2. The Tools of Cultural Proficiency
Getting Centered  
Going Deeper  
 
3. Educators' Rubric for Support of English Learning Students and Their Communities: Changing the Conversation
Getting Centered  
Going Deeper  
 
Part II. River View School District: A Context for Educating Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students
 
4. Assessing Cultural Knowledge: You, Your School, and Your Community
Getting Centered  
Assessing Cultural Knowledge  
Using the Rubric: Assessing and Developing Your Cultural Knowledge About Self, School, and Community  
River View Case Story  
Professional Learning for General Educators Who Teach English Learning Students  
Going Deeper  
 
6. Managing the Dynamics of Difference: You, Your School, and Your Community
Getting Centered  
Managing the Dynamics of Difference for Me, My School, and My Community  
Using the Rubric: Managing the Dynamics of Difference for Self, School, and Community  
River View Case Story: The Middle School in Conflict  
River View Case Story: The Clash of the Coteachers  
Professional Learning Through Inquiry Helps Manage the Dynamics of Differences  
Going Deeper  
 
7. Adapting to Diversity: You, Your School, and Your Community
Getting Centered  
Adapting to Diversity for Me, My School, and My Community 101 Mindfulness  
Using the Rubric: Adapting to the Diversity of Your School and Community  
River View Case Story: Confronting Barriers to a Community in Transition  
River View Case Story: Parents as Change Partners  
Professional Learning for General Educators Who Teach English Learning Students  
Going Deeper  
 
8. Institutionalizing Cultural Knowledge: You, Your School, and Your Community
Getting Centered  
Institutionalizing Cultural Knowledge for Me, My School, and My Community  
Using the Rubric: Institutionalizing Cultural Knowledge About Your School and Community  
River View Case Story: Benchmarking Along the Way  
Professional Learning for General Educators Who Teach English Learning Students  
Going Deeper  
 
Part III. Next Steps
 
9. Guiding Your Own Research That Leads to Action
Getting Started  
Action Research: A Model for Improvement of Practice for You, Your School, and the Community Served by Your School  
Educators as Practitioner Researchers in Support of English Learning Students  
Action Research Through a Culturally Proficient Practitioner Researcher Lens  
Action Research Cycle Rubric for Culturally Proficient Practitioner Researchers  
Action Research Getting Started Protocol  
Closing Thoughts  
Questions for Reflection  
 
Resource A. Professional Learning Activity - Assessing Cultural Knowledge
 
Resource B. Professional Learning Activity - Valuing Diversity
 
Resource C. Professional Learning Activity - Managing the Dynamics of Difference
 
Resource D. Professional Learning Activity - Adapting to Diversity
 
Resource E. Professional Learning Activity - Institutionalizing Cultural Knowledge
 
Resource F. Recommended Books on Instructional Strategies
 
Matrix: How to Use Cultural Proficiency Books
 
References
 
Index

“An excellent guide for a school district working to improve instruction for English learners by promoting the cultural proficiency of teachers, administrators, and paraprofessionals. The book provides a succinct overview of historical issues related to the education of English learners. In addition, it employs a model that can be used with school staff as educators engage in a process to consider how they are educating these students and how they might improve on their practice. An important and valuable feature of the book is the use of a case study of a school district as it engages in such a self inquiry process.”

Irma M. Olmedo, Associate Professor Emerita
College of Education, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL

“The book provides compelling rationale for working to improve instruction for English Learners and offers practical advice to new teachers, administrators and paraprofessionals.”

Diana Garrido, In School Resource Teacher
San Diego Unified School District, San Diego, CA

“The book provides the school leader with the tools to engage themselves and others in making English learning students a priority. It is a must read for educators to get those hard and healthy conversations started and to examine our school practices and policies. It is about intentional change for the benefit of all our students.”

Lori Henderson, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services
Manitoba, Canada

"Cultural Proficient Practice: Supportive Educators of English Learning Students provides a valuable resource for staff developers who are on the journey of creating culturally proficient learning environments to close the achievement gap. This work narrows the focus to English learning students with the same 'inside out' approach as the authors' previous work.  As the reader reflects with 'mindfulness' you actually feel like you are in a workshop with the authors themselves! A perfect asset for a professional learning community book study!

Linda Fisher, Staff Development Coordinator
Lincoln Unified School District, Stockton, CA

"This book offers a unique set of tools for teachers and administrators, encouraging them to work cooperatively in identifying negative 'institutionalized' beliefs that are barriers to creating healthy teaching practices and cultural competency. The authors have creatively included a historical background on English Learner issues, frameworks, rubrics, and vignettes that invite educator participation. The authors offer a comprehensible plan of action for schools, administrators, and teachers to become culturally competent in order to most effectively work with English Learners AND each other."

Carmen E. Quintana, Educator and Board member
McGill School of Success, San Diego, CA
Key features
  • Applies the Cultural Proficiency framework and tools to the challenge of narrowing achievement gaps between ELs and their non-EL counterparts.
  • Presents an asset-based approach to working ELs that counters the perspective that students from non-English speaking backgrounds come to school with certain deficits that prevent them from learning
  • Provides educators with the knowledge and skills to maximize educational opportunities for all students, independent of students' primary language.
  • Includes a running case story of cultural identity exploration and discovery as a guide for the reader to consider themselves within the context of the classrooms, schools and communities they serve.
  • Features an English Learner Instruction Rubric that illustrates ineffective-to-effective instructional approaches and ineffective-to-effective supporting coaching and leadership approaches.
  • Introduces action research as a model for leaders, coaches and teachers to utilize their own school districts, schools, and classrooms as centers of research on best practices to increase the academic achievement of English language learners.  

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