Literature Review Chapter: Culture Classroom Effects

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Classroom Diversity Lit Review

The purpose of this essay is to review the literature pertinent to a proposed research question. The research is intended to answer how culture can affect teaching styles and how multi-culturalism may influence the ability for successful communication within the classroom. This essay will describe the literature relevant to the hypothesis that there is a significant influence that culture plays within the classroom.

Race Dynamics in the Classroom

To understand the potential problems about intercultural communication within the classroom it is important to realize the dynamics themselves. Causey et al. (2000) realized that a significant cultural difference between the mostly white, middle -- class teaching profession and the mostly racially and ethnically mixed classroom. By recognizing this fact a new paradigm is presented to look at the ways that culture and the teaching profession are intermixed and the way that these educators are including their culture into the dynamic

The authors wrote that it is of extreme importance that the mindset of the teaching profession is optimistic and positive if any real or significant changes should be expected to happen. Beliefs and attitude are central components to a strong acumen that can address cultural issues. They suggested that "radical restructuring can lead to the discover of new paradigms, identification of new core concepts, and/or the creation of new schematic structures. In other words, dramatic changes or reorganization of one's belief structure can be viewed as a radical restructuring of one's world view, " (p.34). This is a reasonable argument and is reveals the power that our own attitudes can carry, especially into the classroom where there is much room for improvement across the board.

The author's used a longitudinal study to examine their premises and found some very interesting conclusions in regards to culture and the classroom. By instituting some real changes of the mind the education profession could flourish by using multi-cultural influences into the classroom and throughout their own personal development. " teacher education programs, in collaboration with school system educators, should address the career needs of teachers as they face the joys and challenges of diverse classrooms," (p.43).

This literature is useful to my research as it addressed some key factors in understanding some of the problems that are happening as a result of cultural differences. This article is also helpful due to the fact that real and practical solutions are offered that urge the profession to take responsibility for their attitudes and begin making internal changes before external ones can be realized.

Whiteness as a Problem

Sleeter (2001) revealed a more negative and problematic aspect of the culture issues that are present in many modern day classrooms. The author of this article understood the problem has being the teachers are too white. The entire basis for his argument is that white teachers do not enjoy very rich experiences in their lives and are severely depleted in character. He wrote " students of color tend to bring richer experiences and perspectives to multicultural teaching than do most white students, who dominate numerically." This racially charged statement conflates whiteness as having little value in the classroom.

The article, despite the logically fallacies and unsupported premises, holds value within the research question presented because of the obvious bias that resides within the education profession. It appears that a large wave of white guilt has permeated the system and many whit people feel embarrassed about their culture and their own views of themselves. This attitude can be used for positive purposes as it shows that guilt and fear are problematic emotions that need to be transmuted for the better.

Teacher Cultural Development and Education

Bredia & Chait (2011) report provided another aspect of the literature in a more data-based form. Their report which aimed to improve the teacher workforce through the implementation of new strategies that focus more on communicating through cultural barriers. Their report centered around the idea that there are not enough minority teachers in the country and this shortage is having a negative effect on the classroom and its ability to learn. The report also signified diversity training as a missing piece in the ability to cross -- train young educators into being able to adapt to a multicultural environment.

The report stated that "increasing the number of teachers of color is not only a matter of a philosophical commitment to diversity in career opportunities. Teachers of color provide real-life examples to minority students of future career paths. In this way, increasing the number of current teachers of color may be instrumental to increasing the number of future teachers of color.

This report in its push for more people of color to enter the teaching profession, ignores the needs of the white student. White culture is being ignored in this report for minority culture and demonstrates the need for the education profession to adopt new attitude on race and its impact on the classroom. This report ultimately concluded that black teachers are good for both black and white students, but white teachers are not good for black students and may be only marginal for white students. The apparent anti-white tone is consistent in much of the literature regarding this topic and is an important aspect of my research question and subsequent investigation into the topic.

Gao (2011) presented some key facts about the preparation that teachers are afforded in their careers in related to diversity issues. The article he wrote suggested that preconceived notions from preservice teachers are artificially distorting the cultural communication. This article documented a study that was statically interpreted to reveal behavioral attitudes from preservice teachers. The results revealed some important aspects. The author wrote " since teacher's perceived sense of efficacy, teachers' attitudes towards inclusion, and their beliefs about school diversity are positively associated with one another, improvement on any one of these three aspects may bring positive impact on the other two, " (p.16).

This literature is valuable to the research question at hand for many reasons. First, this article has many valuable statistics that relate directly to the question and can be used as a primary resource to help define and identify the problem. Secondly, the results support my hypothesis that attitudes are more important that other factors when relating to culture. Here, the literature suggests that once again teachers, as professionals can impact their situation simply by readjusting their mental framework and begin operating under new assumptions due to the old assumptions being irrelevant or over distorted.

New Global Citizens

Since public schools are essentially government organizations, the idea of citizenship within these schools is an obvious impulse that should be followed. The concept of citizenship and its relation to culture is explored as Banks (2001) argued that teachers, educators and faculty need to assist students to identify and develop a balance between cultural, national and global identifications. The article suggests that teachers need adapt and appreciate these qualities before they can be passed on to their students.

The article argued for balance which appears to be a key concept in achieving any sort of success. There is an imbalance in much of the western world, and especially in America and new concepts of what it means to be a citizen can help place some useful guidelines on teachers who can become overwhelmed with this extremely difficult balancing act. The author wrote " to develop clarified cultural and national identifications, teacher education students must be helped to critically analyze and rethink their notions of race, culture and ethnicity and to view themselves as cultural and racial beings." (p.12).

This argument is helpful to the research question at hand because it allows for teachers and students to embrace and redefine their ideas on culture and race. Often times, there is too much blame to be placed on… [END OF PREVIEW]

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