Saturday, May 24, 2008

Urban Schools Articles and Citations

Calderon, Margarita. “Staff Development in Multilingual Multicultural Schools. World of
Education Library. July 1997 May 22, 2008
The article describes the increase in multiracial and multicultural students in classrooms, while the majority of teachers remain white; it also states that teachers should learn how to deal with these students in order to foster a healthy environment. It explains the gap and lack of understanding that has emerged between bilingual and mainstream teachers; the lack of assistance in the development of a better program for bilingual teachers and their accountability in bilingual student’s education. Most importantly it discusses the needs of bilingual teachers, their knowledge, and change in methods and pedagogy that would be needed for improvement.

Desimone, Laura. “The Role of Teachers in Urban School Reform.” World of Education Library.
July 2000 May 22, 2008
This article speaks of the need for a CSR (complete school wide reform) to change both teaching and learning; one that should have the participation of teachers for its selection, development, and evaluation as well as implementation. It also refers to the time that is needed for effective planning and development of curriculum and lessons; mentioning the success of teachers who are provided with more time versus those that struggle with the time they have.

Schwartz, Wendy. “Family Diversity In Urban Schools.” World of Education Library.
September 1999 May 22, 2008
This article described the differences in students’ homes, which are no longer the traditional models. Children’s families may consist of only one parent, divorced parents, same sex parents; children may be in foster care or living with a grandparent or other member of the family and may come from multiracial backgrounds. Its main purpose is to educate teachers to be considerate and attentive in addressing student’s homes; rather than the traditional “father” and “mother” denominations. Additionally it is important for the teacher to acknowledge the family’s or caregivers wishes whether that home can become public knowledge or not.

Weiler, Jeanne. “Girls and Violence.” World of Education Library. May 1999 May 22, 2008
This article cited examples of girls’ violent acts, distinguished them from the typical acts committed by boys and commented on the increase in violence among girls as well as an increase in arrests and punishments for these crimes. The article proposes a correlation between violent women and their troubled home environment; as well as one between girls who come from different ethnicities, races, and lower income backgrounds. One finding that I was not aware and that was cited was the possible correlation between girl’s lower achievement in school and their tendency to violence as opposite to boy’s behavior, where higher grades lead them towards “acting out.” The article ends with a brief description of programs that aid girl’s tendencies towards violence.

Schwartz, Wendy. “The Schooling of Multiracial Students.” World of Education Library.
November 1998 May 22, 2008
This article centered on the definition of what is considered “multiracial” and what educators can do to make their subject matter to multiracial students. It begins by mentioning the increase in the number of “multiracial” students and families in the US and indicating that the term multiracial will be used to define “individuals of mixed racial, ethnic, or cultural ancestry whose lives reflect multiple heritages.”

The article explains that some multiracial students may or may not identify themselves as multiracial, in fact, they may either opt for only one race, culture or ethnicity, or as the article blatantly states the student may opt simply to be “classified solely as human, asserting that any designation other than ‘white’ relegates them to a lower status, given existing racism.” On the other hand, there are those students whose parents teach them to be proud of their heritage and demonstrate such pride openly.
Although the article was not as “illuminating” as I had hoped, it did shed light into how educators should conduct themselves, how they should assist all of their students regardless of their background and how they can ensure a safe, tolerant and respectful classroom environment. Most importantly it instructs educators not to group students because of their appearances or ethnicity since everyone has different cultures, aspects which may or may not be observed; additionally a student, his/her parents may choose not to demonstrate that ethnicity. Educators should speak to students and their parents/guardians; find out more about them, their ways of coping with stressful, racial situations, rather than assuming.
As I had mentioned before I am originally from Brazil but I came here when I was 10 years old. Until my first year in high school I lived in the Ironbound section of Newark, which was then predominantly Portuguese, with some Brazilians and even fewer Hispanics; where my experiences were passable since many of the teachers were also Portuguese and familiar with our culture and of course language. I then moved to Belleville, a predominantly Italian town, where resistance, skepticism and rudeness was unfortunately not limited to students, but openly engaged in by teachers as well. I know that the view on non-American families in general has changed somewhat with the increase in immigration, but racism is still very much a part of our lives. It is sad that even after reading this article, after attending several classes in the education department, there is so much that could be done for all students regardless of their race, ethnicity, culture that is not done because of the system and because of those who could make a difference but stand in the sidelines instead.

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