Date of this Version
Culturally relevant pedagogy uses students' home cultures as a resource, both to teach the standard curriculum more effectively and to develop students' pride in those home cultures. This article describes how culturally relevant pedagogy gets appropriated in practice by teachers and students. The second author designed and ran an ESL room for three years, as part of a pull-out bilingual education program for a small group of Latino high school students in rural New England. She organized this room to match the more fluid spatiotemporal boundaries around activities that she had observed in many Latino homes. Her innovations succeeded in making Latino students feel more at home, but she only sometimes managed both to help her Latino students master the standard curriculum and to reinforce their pride in their home culture. Other school personnel, and some of the Latino students themselves, often perceived these as mutually exclusive options: either the Latino students would learn the standard curriculum in standard ways, or they would participate in the "less academic" culturally relevant practices. The article draws two conclusions: first, in some cases teachers, students and policymakers may be faced with hard choices between the conflicting values embedded in mainstream schooling and in the students' home cultures; second, educational policy gets appropriated in varied ways in practice.
Date Posted: 02 July 2007