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Writing About Culture: Empowering Our Marginalized Students

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Writing About Culture: Empowering Our Marginalized Students Creed Hansen Teaching Demonstration - Jan. 2008 Creed.Hansen_at_pisd.edu What is culture? In a small group of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Writing About Culture: Empowering Our Marginalized Students


1
Writing About CultureEmpowering Our
Marginalized Students
  • Creed Hansen
  • Teaching Demonstration - Jan. 2008
  • Creed.Hansen_at_pisd.edu

2
What is culture?
  • In a small group of 3-4 people, brainstorm a list
    of possible answers to the question above.
  • Lets share! What did your group have to say?
  • Now what characteristics of culture did we all
    have in common?

3
My students answers
  • music
  • traditions
  • foods
  • history
  • religion/beliefs
  • tools
  • language
  • writing
  • heritage
  • family
  • location
  • skills
  • colors/flags
  • style/clothing
  • holidays
  • pride

Well come back to this. But first
4
Why write about culture?
  • it helps students explore their personal
    backgrounds and beliefs
  • it promotes individuality
  • it encourages acceptance and even appreciation of
    diversity
  • it empowers otherwise marginalized students to
    write meaningfully about who they are

5
Why do marginalized students need to be empowered?
  • Delpit (1995) argues that
  • marginalized studentswhich primarily includes
    minority, female, and low income studentsdo not
    possess the culture of power
  • they must be taught the culture of power and its
    rules in order to understand societal
    inequalities and thus gain power

6
How can teachers help?
  • Ladson-Billings (1994) encourages teachers to
    engage in culturally relevant teaching
  • have high expectations of marginalized students
  • make culturally relevant curricular decisions

7
How can teachers help?
  • Gonzalez et. al. (1993) recommend a shift in how
    teachers conceptualize culture
  • culture is more than simply holidays and
    traditions it is dynamic and complex
  • household cultures can be utilized if teachers
    indicate that they are valuable

8
How can writing help?
  • Once teachers make the shift to culturally
    relevant teaching, they can use writing as a tool
    for empowerment
  • teach them how and when to use culturally
    relevant languages and the language of power
    (Standard English)
  • use writing prompts that allow students to think
    meaningfully and critically about their own
    cultures

9
What TEKS would be covered?
  • (1)  Writing/purposes. The student writes in a
    variety of forms, includingpersonal, for various
    audiences and purposes.
  • (B)  write in a voice and style appropriate to
    audience and purpose

10
What TEKS would be covered?
  • (3)  Writing/grammar/usage/conventions/spelling.
    The student relies increasingly on the
    conventions and mechanics of written English,
    including the rules of grammar and usage, to
    write clearly and effectively.

11
How can we integrate reading?
  • Cai (2003) recommends
  • choosing literature written by marginalized
    authors about their own marginalized groups
  • using texts to expose inequalities present in the
    relationships between dominant and marginalized
    groups

12
How can we integrate reading?
  • Fox Short (2003) suggest two main criteria for
    choosing culturally authentic literature
  • accuracy of cultural details
  • absence of stereotyping or misrepresentation

13
What TEKS would be covered?
  • (7) Reading/comprehension. The student
    comprehends selections using a variety of
    strategies. The student is expected to
  • (B)  draw upon his/her own background to provide
    connection to texts

14
What TEKS would be covered?
  • (9)  Reading/culture. The student reads widely,
    including world literature, to increase knowledge
    of his/her own culture, the culture of others,
    and the common elements across cultures. The
    student is expected to
  • (A)  recognize distinctive and shared
    characteristics of cultures through reading and
  • (B)  compare text events with his/her own and
    other readers' experiences.

15
How do we use reading and writing together to
empower marginalized students?
  • use diverse pieces of literature as models for
    how and when to use culturally relevant language
    and Standard English
  • use these models, too, as mentor texts for how to
    integrate students cultures into their personal
    writing

16
Back to the list
  • Again, these were the characteristics of culture
    my students came up with
  • music
  • traditions
  • foods
  • history
  • religion/beliefs
  • tools
  • language
  • writing
  • heritage
  • family
  • location
  • skills
  • colors/flags
  • style/clothing
  • holidays
  • pride

17
Debriefing the list
  • Now try discussing the following questions with
    your secondary students
  • Why is culture significant?
  • Do you ever find that different parts of your
    culture conflict? Why or why not?
  • What are the most important characteristics of
    your personal culture?

18
The Personal Culture Chart
Define and determine specific examples of your four most important cultural characteristics. Define and determine specific examples of your four most important cultural characteristics.
Cultural Characteristic Examples Cultural Characteristic Examples
Cultural Characteristic Examples Cultural Characteristic Examples
19
Model it for them!
  • Show your students that you, too, possess
    important cultural traits

Cultural Characteristic my Danish heritage Examples - Grandmas cooking decorations (ebelskevers, lefsa, artwork) - two visits to Denmark (Hansens on the news, my nose) childrens stories (Hans Christian Andersen)
20
A student sample
21
Cultural groundwork
  • Youve now laid the cultural groundwork for much
    of your students personal writing
  • Youve also shown them that you value their
    cultures and that you have important cultural
    characteristics of your own

22
Reading, then writing
  • Before embarking on a writing exercise, its
    important to provide models for how skilled
    authors write about culture
  • Seek out culturally relevant and culturally
    authentic texts tailor your choices to your
    student population

23
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Choose a passage from a relevant, authentic text
    to read aloud
  • Ask your students to listen for ways in which the
    author writes about culture and ways in which the
    writing style reflects his or her culture
  • Ali and Baba grew up together (25)

24
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Discuss in depth the passage youve just read
    with your students
  • You might hold a whole group discussion, or you
    might break your students up into small, diverse
    groups
  • Your guiding question Where do you hear the
    authors or narrators culture reflected in his
    or her writing?

25
Enrichment - Conventions
  • Anderson (2005) recommends using mentor
    textspowerful, relevant literatureto teach the
    conventions of English to secondary students
  • Look for common problems your students are having
    in their writing conventions and utilize your
    current mentor text to address them

26
Nowwrite!
  • Using their Personal Culture Charts, ask students
    to address one of the following prompts in a
    paragraph or essay (depending on the ability
    level)
  • Where is your culture reflected at home?
  • How is your culture reflected in your
    relationships with family or friends?
  • How is your culture reflected in your beliefs?

27
A student sample
28
A time for discussion
  • Guiding questions
  • How might this work in middle school classes?
  • How have you built cultural empowerment into your
    classrooms?
  • How can we build entire units or curricula around
    cultural empowerment?

29
References
  • Anderson, J. (2005). Mechanically inclined.
    Portland, ME Stenhouse Publishers.
  • Cai, M. (2003). Multiple definitions of
    multicultural literature. In D. L. Fox K. G.
    Short (Eds.), Stories matter The complexity of
    cultural authenticity in childrens literature
    (pgs. 269-283). Urbana, IL National Council of
    Teachers of English.
  • Delpit, L. (1995). Other peoples children
    Cultural conflict in the classroom. New York
    The New Press.
  • Fox, D. L., Short, K. G. (2003). The
    complexity of cultural authenticity in childrens
    literature Why the debates really matter. In D.
    L. Fox K. G. Short (Eds.), Stories matter The
    complexity of cultural authenticity in childrens
    literature (pgs. 3-24). Urbana, IL National
    Council of Teachers of English.

30
References
  • Gonzalez, N., Moll, L., Floyd-Tenery, M., Rivera,
    A., Rendon, P., Gonzalez, R., et. al. (1993).
    Teacher research on funds of knowledge Learning
    from households (Educational Practice Report 6).
    Santa Cruz, CA National Center for Research on
    Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning.
    (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 360
    825)
  • Hosseini, K. (2003). The Kite Runner. New York
    Riverhead Books.
  • Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The dreamkeepers
    Successful teachers of African American children.
    San Francisco Jossey-Bass.
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