California Educator

August 2016

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Culturally Responsive Classroom Management E D U C A T O R S W H O T E A C H through the lens of CRCM have a greater understanding of cultures and accom- panying behavior patterns reflected in diverse student populations. They recognize that because of students' different backgrounds, behavior and best ways of learning vary widely, and take them into account when teaching. Culturally responsive teaching, says Zaretta Hammond, author of Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, leverages the brain's memory systems and information processing structures. Hammond explains that many diverse students come from oral cultural traditions, includ- ing African American, Latino, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander communities. These cultural groups use memory strategies to make learning sticky, such as connecting what needs to be remembered to rhythm or music or by reciting it in fun ways like a poem or riddle. In assisting a sixth-grade science educator who was experiencing difficulty teaching vocabulary to students, Hammond suggested three tips: Gamify it. Most games employ a lot of the cul- tural tools you'd find in oral traditions: repetition, solving a puzzle, making connections between things that don't seem to be related. Make it social. Organizing learning so that students rely on one another and engage in good-natured competition builds on diverse stu- dents' communal orientation. Storify it. Diverse students (and all students) learn content more effectively if they can create a coherent narrative about the topic or process presented. Source: Cult of Pedagogy, cultofpedagogy.com. A few other CRCM techniques: Monitor your discourse style. Indirect requests can confuse some students who are used to receiving explicit directives. Be sensitive to how diverse cultures deal with conflict. While some cultures settle differ- ences openly, others resolve conflict quietly, away from others or through written communication. Emphasize a positive environment, not punishment. Source: Edutopia. Relevance, discipline Daniel Jocz, a high school social studies teacher and 2016 Cal- ifornia Teacher of the Year, has a different view. For the United Teachers Los Angeles member, it comes down to a variety of instructional strategies and a well-prepared curriculum that's relevant to students. "If students find relevance in their work, classroom manage- ment takes care of itself," he says. Still, Jocz is challenged by students who seem apathetic or reluctant to speak out in class. "e struggle I have is, how do I manage those who are shy or disengaged? Some of them have so many walls they've built up," he says. Jocz says he tries to engage those students by continuing to introduce a variety of techniques like small groups, or research/ inquiry process, as well as by realizing that some students will develop their social skills a bit later. To his colleagues, 19-year veteran high school instrumental music teacher Mitch Bahr might seem to have it easy when it comes to classroom management. After all, students aspire to be part of the two concert bands, orchestra, jazz ensembles and drumline that he directs at Foothill High School in Palo Cedro. Bahr says it's anything but easy. "I would say that classroom management is everything," says the Shasta Secondary Employees Association member, who is also a 2016 California Teacher of the Year. "If I don't get them to respect the podium and the baton, I am just a guy standing on a wooden box waving a stick." Bahr readily admits his classes can sound like complete chaos to outside visitors, but when he stands up on the podium, students demonstrate discipline by quieting down and being prepared to make music. "The best fun is when discipline pushes us to a level kids didn't know they could reach," Bahr says. "Music classes add a layer of character and discipline few who are outside ever see." Perhaps in the near future, the same will be said about cur- rent trends in classroom management. Mitch Bahr leads a class at Foothill High School in Palo Cedro. "The best fun is when discipline pushes us to a level kids didn't know they could reach," he says. 38 39 40 41 42 43 Photo: courtesy Jim Schultz/Record Searchlight 31 August 2016

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