Title

Building Relationships: Strategies for Getting to Know At-Risk Families and Students

First Presenter's Institution

Winthrop University

Second Presenter's Institution

Diana Murdock

Third Presenter's Institution

Selected Winthrop Undergraduate Students

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Harborside East & West

Strand #1

Family & Community

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

This proposal directly connects to Strand 5; Home: Family and Community because it focuses on ways teachers and instructors can intentionally support and connect with at-risk families and students. Additionally, this proposal connects to Standard 3; Social and Emotional Skills because it focuses on ways teachers and instructors can build community in the classroom.

Brief Program Description

Building relationships with at-risk youth and families is essential for student success (Allen, 2007). In this presentation, we share strategies designed to help teachers get to know and connect with ALL students and families. Participants with learn about ways to implement these strategies and benefits for using them in their classrooms. The target audience is early childhood through post-secondary teachers and instructors.

Summary

Honoring the experiences and voices of ALL students is an important goal for multicultural education within teacher preparation programs. With the changing demographics of classrooms across the United States, preservice teachers must be prepared to provide a just and equitable education for all students (Edwards, McMillon, & Turner, 2010; Villegas, 2007). In this poster presentation, two teacher preparation educators and their students will share possibilities for practical classroom strategies that support teachers in making connections with their students and families. Such strategies may include Family Stories, Family Interviews, Family Artifact Museum, and Interest Inventories. A brief description of each strategy follows:

  • Family Stories: Students interview family members and construct a family story that depicts an experience which encapsulates their families’ culture, values, and/or traditions (Short, Harste, & Burke, 1996). This project includes written, visual, and oral modes of storytelling. Each story is shared with the class.

  • Family Interviews: Students engage in a face-to-face conversation with a family in an effort to counteract their personal assumptions and uncover aspects of the families’ cultural beliefs, practices, and funds of knowledge.

  • Family Artifact Museum: Students choose 5-6 special artifacts that represent their identity or family culture. The artifacts represent various times (birth through current day) and important aspects of their lives. They present their museum artifacts in a “class museum” (Singer & Singer, 2004).

  • Interest Inventories: Students find or develop their own interest inventories to get to know and learn about their early childhood students and families.

Participants will hear firsthand from the teacher preparation educators and preservice teachers about their experiences implementing and engaging in these strategies in their college courses. A handout will be provided that clearly describes the strategies so that they can be utilized in early childhood through post-secondary classrooms.

Evidence

This proposal is based on known research and promising practices. The field of culturally relevant pedagogy emphasizes the importance of building relationships with families using a strengths-based perspective, one that celebrates, honors, and utilizes the wealth of resources diverse families and children bring to classrooms (Gay, 2010; Ladson-Billings, 2009). Culturally relevant pedagogy also recognizes the notion that teachers’ perceptions of families and their methods for engaging with families are often based upon their own experiences and constructions of family dynamics (Allen, 2007; Graue & Brown, 2003). Because of these limitations, teachers often communicate with families based upon their own assumptions and beliefs about what they consider “normal.” When analyzing behaviors through a lens of what they consider “normal,” teachers position other cultural ways of knowing and doing as “not normal,” therefore creating bias (Lopez-Robertson, Long & Turner-Nash, 2010, p. 100).

Implementing culturally relevant teaching practices challenges teachers to co-create meaningful experiences with families (such as Family Stories, Family Interviews, Family Artifact Museums, and Interest Inventories) so that teachers can work to create more equitable learning environments for their students (Lopez-Robertson, Long & Turner-Nash, 2010, p. 102). When teachers connect with and honor students’ and their families’ funds of knowledge (Gonzalez, Moll, & Amanti, 2005) they make learning meaningful and culturally relevant by utilizing their strengths as tools for learning (Allen, 2007; Gay, 2010; Ladson-Billings, 2009).

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Diana Murdock is an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at Winthrop University. Her research interests include preservice teachers’ perceptions of culture and diversity and relevant and engaging teaching practices for young children.

Dr. Erin Hamel is an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at Winthrop University. She also serves as the Director for Macfeat Early Childhood Laboratory School at Winthrop University. Her research interests include culturally relevant pedagogy, multicultural education and culturally responsive teaching in early childhood education.

Keyword Descriptors

Effective Classroom Strategies; Building Relationships with At-Risk Familes and Youth; Teacher Preparation; Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-7-2017 4:00 PM

End Date

3-7-2017 5:30 PM

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Mar 7th, 4:00 PM Mar 7th, 5:30 PM

Building Relationships: Strategies for Getting to Know At-Risk Families and Students

Harborside East & West

Building relationships with at-risk youth and families is essential for student success (Allen, 2007). In this presentation, we share strategies designed to help teachers get to know and connect with ALL students and families. Participants with learn about ways to implement these strategies and benefits for using them in their classrooms. The target audience is early childhood through post-secondary teachers and instructors.