Title

Sink or Swim: Socio-Cultural Immersion for Preservice Teacher Understanding

First Presenter's Institution

Dalton State College

Second Presenter's Institution

NA

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Poster Session (Harborside)

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

This presentation describes Socio-Cultural Perspectives on Diversity: a course which prepares Teacher Candidates to critically examine the social, cultural, political foundations of current approaches in public education and how they impact the culture, acculturation, and academic achievement of children from diverse backgrounds. Through deep and extended immersion in a culture or community that is specifically chosen to be different from their own, Teacher Candidates begin to demonstrate understanding and acceptance of the different elements of the cultures/cultural identities they may encounter in their future classrooms, as well as being able to link the experiences to thoughtful comments and reflection as they apply to their future teaching, and incorporate that reflection into their lesson planning so that their plans become more diverse and inclusive, and student outcomes indicate gains in learning.

Brief Program Description

Challenged to "teach outside the box", I passed the challenge on to my Teacher Candidates, sending them into the field for a sink or swim cross-cultural immersion experience. This presentation offers details of their experiences, with answers about how this benefits TCs and their future students provided by the TCs, and benefits for current teachers/administrators in schools with high student populations that are at risk.

Summary

On redesigning my course Exploring Socio-Cultural Perspectives on Diversity to meet the criteria of being “taught outside the box” as requested by the Vice President of the college, I still needed to meet the requirements of the standard. Thus, the course still needed to equip future teachers with the fundamental knowledge of understanding culture and teaching children from diverse backgrounds. Specifically, this course needed to prepare Teacher Candidates to critically examine the social, cultural, and political foundations of these approaches in public education. To this end, TCs were expected to participate in two or more of 18 field experience or community research options which provided insights into understanding diversity and culture in education and society. The TCs selected, for example, an environment or setting where they could observe a cultural community, and become culturally immersed in, a culture other than their own, or elected to participate in activities or events that were designed for LGBTQ people. Although there was no written paper required for this project, the field experience activity was the Critical Assignment for this course, and the Field Experience activities were the major basis for student classroom presentations. Presentations required the use of technology, were graded using a rubric, and evaluation included whether students creatively incorporated elements of the cultures/cultural identities in which they immersed themselves. Students had to clearly demonstrated understanding and acceptance of the differences they had observed in their field experiences, as well as being able to link the experiences to thoughtful comments and reflection as they applied to their future teaching. Commentary as to the efficacy of the course will be provided by students who took the course and will be on hand to answer attendee questions. While this course redesign could be easily duplicated in any higher education setting, specific suggestions will be provided for modifying it for use as a Youth at Risk training module in a K-12 setting for diversity or multicultural awareness. Specific strategies will be offered for addressing the needs of youth from diverse backgrounds.

Evidence

For over a decade quality research has been conducted both in the U.S. and other countries that has confirmed the benefits of not only recognizing, but incorporating and legitimizing the cultures, languages, and traditions of the many student races and ethnicities that occupy our classrooms and have traditionally been marginalized. Researchers such as Shodavaram, Jones, Weaver, Ma᷇rquez, and Ensle, (2009), explored the success of high school students of non-European ancestry compared to that of their peers of European ancestry when cultural supports were/were not included in the equation. Quinones, and Kiyama, (2014) investigated the differences in outcomes for urban youth of Latino heritage when their fathers took an active role and maintained an active presence at their schools. French, Seidman, Allen,and Aber, (2006) researched the development of ethnic identity in children of immigrant and minority status during adolescence and it's impact on their academic and social success. All of these researchers found that when students' heritage languages and cultures were honored and accepted in the school setting, the students' achieved at higher levels academically and socially. In my classroom on Dalton State Campus, students who participated in my cultural my Sink or Swim: Cultural Immersion class have written better, more inclusive lesson plans, have a better grasp of diversity issues, and are more aware and willing to embrace diversity situations within the classroom and school-wide setting.


Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Harriet L. Strahlman holds a B.A. in French, a Masters in Business Administration, an Ed.S. in Curriculum and Instruction, and a Ph.D. in Exceptional Learning with a concentration in Literacy from Tennessee Technological University. Dr. Strahlman spent over 13 years working as a Foreign Language and English as a Second Language Teacher while completing her higher education degrees and five years of research in Latin America and the Caribbean. On completing her research and Ph.D. in 2015, Dr. Strahlman accepted a position as an Assistant Professor at Heritage University on the Yakima Nation Tribal Lands in Yakima, Washington. An unexpected twist of fate brought Dr. Strahlman back to the East coast in 2016, where she accepted a position as a lecturer at Dalton State College.

Keyword Descriptors

diversity, education, culture, identity, community, Equitable, Multicultural, inclusive

Presentation Year

March 2019

Start Date

3-5-2019 4:00 PM

End Date

3-5-2019 5:30 PM

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

Sink or Swim: Socio-Cultural Immersion for Preservice Teacher Understanding

Poster Session (Harborside)

Challenged to "teach outside the box", I passed the challenge on to my Teacher Candidates, sending them into the field for a sink or swim cross-cultural immersion experience. This presentation offers details of their experiences, with answers about how this benefits TCs and their future students provided by the TCs, and benefits for current teachers/administrators in schools with high student populations that are at risk.