Validating culturally diverse students

Validating culturally diverse students

By studying multiple generations of Black families in the Northeastern Albemarle region of North Carolina, I search for family knowledge that can transfer into teacher education.I explore historical and contemporary family struggles and hopes regarding school desegregation.Culturally relevant teaching is a term created by Gloria Ladson-Billings (1994) to describe “a pedagogy that empowers students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and politically by using cultural referents to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes.” Participating in culturally relevant teaching essentially means that teachers create a bridge between students’ home and school lives, while still meeting the expectations of the district and state curricular requirements.

Teachers must to accept the reality that many of their students will come to their classrooms with cultural, ethnic, linguistic, racial, and social class backgrounds that are different from their own.One of the most prominent student retention theorists is Vincent Tinto.Tintos theory, first published in 1975, focused on 4-year institutions, but his findings are also applicable to community colleges.Families uphold a spiritual faith that learning to read and write is directly relevant to leading a holistic spiritual life.Families also tell stories of struggle and share hope-filled stories of how even in the face of adversity, members of their family were able to survive and succeed within the educational system that was not initially created to benefit Black families.

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Understanding student retention theory and how it can be applied in the classroom can improve student retention by helping faculty make better decisions regarding planning and teaching their courses.

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