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The Achievement Gap and School Counselors: Preparing School Counselors to Play a Role in Culturally Responsive Education

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Title: The Achievement Gap and School Counselors: Preparing School Counselors to Play a Role in Culturally Responsive Education


1
The Achievement Gap and School Counselors
Preparing School Counselors to Play a Role in
Culturally Responsive Education
  • Blaire Cholewa, Ph.D Kean University
  • Ellen Amatea, Ph.D Cirecie West-Olatunji, Ph.D-
    University of Florida

2
Chronic Underachievement
  • Persistent differences in academic achievement
    between low income, culturally diverse students
    and their White peers
  • (Planty et al., 2008 U.S. Department of
    Education, 2007)
  • Discrepancies in drop out rates between
    culturally diverse students and their White peers
  • (Planty et al., 2008 U.S. Department of
    Education, 2007)
  • Disproportionate referrals for special education
  • (Blair Scott, 2002 Skiba et al., 2008)
  • Disproportionate number of discipline referrals,
    suspensions and expulsions
  • (Gordon et al., 2000 Skiba et al., 2002)

3
Cultural Dys-synchronization
  • U.S. education is based on the norms and values
    of White, middle and upper class
  • (Boykin, 2001 Foster et al., 2003)
  • Cultural discontinuity theory examines the
    disconnection between the education system and
    the students home (Irvine, 1990 Gay, 2000
    Ladson-Billings, 1994 Moll Gonzalez, 2004)
  • Failure of some educators to recognize culturally
    diverse students ways of knowing, speaking, and
    interacting (Moll Gonzalez, 2004 Nieto, 2004)
  • Cultural dys-synchronization has been linked with
    psychological distress in culturally diverse
    students (Brody et al., 2006 Fisher et al.,
    2001 Murdock, 1999 Wong et al.,2003)

4
Culturally Responsive Educational Practices
  • Culturally responsive educational practices
    bridge the existing disconnection between the
    school and home
  • These practices combine
  • culturally based pedagogical and instructional
    methods (Gay, 2000 Ladson-Billings, 1994 King,
    2005 Nieto, 2004a)
  • culturally responsive classroom management and
    teacher-student interactions (Brown, 2003, 2004
    Bondy, et al., 2007 Weinstein et al., 2003,
    2004)

5
The Impact of Culturally Responsive Educational
Practices
  • The research suggests the low-income, culturally
    diverse students of teachers who implement these
    practices are related to
  • significant academic gains (Foster, Lewis,
    Onafowora, 2003, 2005 Foster, 1997 Gay, 2000
    Ladson-Billings, 1994 Pransky Bailey, 2002
    Vogt, Jordan, Tharp, 1993)
  • Positive increases in aspects of psychological
    well-being (Cummins, 1996 Diaz-Greenberg, 2001
    Howard, 2001 Ladson-Billings, 1994)

6
Relationship among Cultural Dys-synchronization,
Psychological Distress and Academic Outcomes
Cultural Dyschronization Education
Psychological Distress
Academic Outcomes
7
21st Century School Counselor
  • ASCA calls for school counselors to serve as
  • Leaders,
  • Advocates
  • Consultants (ASCA, 2003)
  • School counselors work toward equity and social
    justice (Bemak Chung, 2005)
  • Consultant role is increasingly important with
    low-income, culturally diverse students. (Amatea
    West-Olatunji, 2007 Bemak, 2000 Brown
    Trusty, 2005).
  • School counselors receive extensive relational
    and multicultural training and yet are often
    absent from conversations regarding teacher
    instruction. (Cholewa West-Olatunji, 2008 Sue,
    Arredondo McDavis, 1992 ).

8
Three Recommendations for Counselor Educators
  • Creating School Counselor Trainee Buy-in and
    Commitment
  • Preparing Trainees to Deal with Potential Teacher
    Resistance
  • Curricular Activities

9
Creating School Counselor Trainee Buy-in and
Commitment
  • Stress the significance of school counselors
    indirect service roles leader, advocate,
    consultant
  • Increase trainees awareness of cultural
    dys-synchronization
  • Provide basic knowledge of culturally responsive
    educational practices
  • Provide knowledge and skills around leadership
    and consultation
  • Foster trainees agency

10
Preparing the Trainee to Deal with Teacher
Resistance
  • Emphasize the collaborative nature of
    consultation and the importance of partnering
    with teachers
  • Facilitate trainees empathy towards teachers-
    putting themselves in the teachers shoes
  • Provide examples of collaborative interventions
    with teachers including
  • Story Circle
  • School wide readings with reading groups
  • Online discussions
  • Examples of Outcomes Paige Allison

11
Curricular Activities
  • Conscious Raising Activities for Trainees
  • Story Circle (Clay, Olatunji Cooley, 2001)
  • Circles of Diversity
  • Horatio Algiers By the Bootsraps (DeRosa, 1994)
  • Create opportunities counselor trainees to
    practice the implement culturally responsive
    strategies in their own large group counseling.
    This will
  • Solidify the concepts of culturally responsive
    educational practices
  • Facilitate trainees ability to consult with
    teachers on this topic having actually done so
    themselves.

12
Curricular Activities
  • Partner with teacher education and educational
    leadership departments and create
    interdisciplinary assignments
  • Create and implement in-class role plays around
    consultation skills
  • Require counselor-teacher consultation
    experiences in practica/internships

13
Future Research
  • Further inquiry into the psychological impact of
    culturally responsive teachers on their students
  • Evaluate existing leadership training initiatives
    that have been incorporated into school counselor
    education programs
  • Intervention studies to examine ways to
    facilitate collaborative partnerships between
    school counselors and teachers

14
Selected References
  • Amatea, E., West-Olatunji, C. (2007). Joining
    the conversation about educating our poorest
    children New leadership roles for school
    counselors in high poverty schools. Professional
    School Counseling, 11, 81-89.
  • Cholewa, B. West-Olatunji, C. (2008).
    Exploring the relationship among cultural
    discontinuity, psychological distress, and
    academic outcomes with low-income, culturally
    diverse students. Professional School
    Counseling, 12, 54-61.
  • Clay, L., Olatunji, C., Cooley, S.  (2001).
    Keeping the story alive Narrative in the
    African-American church and community.
    Educational Resource Information Clearinghouse,
    ERIC No ED462666, pp. 1-9.
  • DeRosa, P. (1994). Diversity training In search
    of anti-racism. Peacework, 240, 1-4.
  • Foster, M., Lewis, J., Onafowora, L. (2003).
    Anthropology, culture, and research on teaching
    and learning Applying what we have learned to
    improve practice. Teachers College Record, 105,
    261-277.
  • Fisher C. B., Wallace S. A., Fenton R. E.
    (2000). Discrimination distress during
    adolescence. Journal of Youth Adolescence, 29,
    679695.

15
Selected References
  • Irvine, J.J. (1990). Black students and school
    failure Policies, practices, and prescriptions.
    New York Praeger.
  • Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The dreamkeepers
    Successful teachers of African American children.
    San Francisco Jossey-Bass.
  • Nieto, S. (2004). Affirming diversity The
    sociopolitical context of multicultural
    education, (4th ed.). Needham Heights, MA Allyn
    Bacon
  • U. S. Department of Education, National Center
    for Education Statistics. (2007). The Condition
    of Education 2007 (NCES 2007-064). Washington,
    DC U.S. Government Printing
  • Wong, C. A., Eccles, J. S., Sameroff, A.
    (2003). The influence of ethnic discrimination
    and ethnic identification on African American
    adolescents school and socioemotional
    adjustment. Journal of Personality, 71,
    11971232.

16
Contact Information
  • Cirecie A. West-Olatunji, Ph.D.
  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Counselor Education
  • University of Florida
  • 1204 Norman Hall
  • PO Box 117046
  • Gainesville, FL  32611
  • 352-273-4324
  • cwestolatunji_at_coe.ufl.edu  

Blaire Cholewa, Ph. D Assistant
Professor Department of Counselor Education Kean
University 306 Hennings Hall 1000 Morris
Ave Union, NJ 07083 (908) 737-3859 bcholewa_at_kean.e
du
Ellen Amatea, Ph.D Professor Department of
Counselor Education University of Florida 1202
Norman Hall PO Box 117046 Gainesville, FL
32611 352-273-4322 eamatea_at_ufl.edu
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