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Dr. Kris Gutierrez-Race and Culture

1. Williams, Belinda, Closing the Achievement Gap: A vision for Changing Beliefs and Practices, 2003. The author focuses on closing the achievement gap via research based dynamics that are critical to urban students’ academic achievement patterns and success.

2. National Collaborative on Diversity in the Teaching Force, Assessment of Diversity in America’s Teaching Force: A Call to Action, Washington, D.C. National Collaborative on Diversity in the Teaching Force 2004. This report emphasizes the importance of diversity in reference to cultural competency and ethnicity and how they correlate to successful student achievement via pedagogical strategies developed and predicated on cultural differences.

3. Chen, Jie-Qui, Krechevsk, Mara, and Viens, Julie, Building on Children’s Strengths: The Experience of Project Spectrum, 1998. This book presents the history of Project Spectrum, a 10-year research project dedicated to developing an alternative approach to curriculum and assessment that respects the diverse interests and abilities that children bring to the preschool and early elementary classroom. This book focuses on curriculum and assessment in respect to cultural diverse interest and abilities that early childhood students bring to the classroom and school setting.

4. Ferguson, Ronald, Necessary Practices and Policies to Close the Student Achievement Gaps, Presentation to NEA Symposium on Critical Issues to Educators, Washington D.C., 2004. This presentation focuses on professional development of educators in terms of understanding the importance of knowledge of cultural differences and collegiality and support in focusing on cultural differences in developing pedagogical strategies in closing the student achievement gaps.

5. Lustig, Myron W., Koester, Jolene, Intercultural Competence: Interpersonal Communication. Across Cultures 2003. This book focuses on significant cultural patterns and how one can be successful in the multicultural environment that exists today. The book also emphasizes ethical and social issues that are paramount in relating and understanding intercultural communication.

6. Hofstede, Geert, Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, 1991. This author explores the in depth nature of various cultures and their complexities in terms of what one must reach in understanding the true meaning of culture.

7. Dresser, Norine, Multicultural Manners: new rules of etiquette for a changing society, 1996. The author focuses on the uses of correct understanding of communication and behavior to be used in a wide range of cultural interactions and situations pertaining to etiquette, body language, word choices, religion and the like.

8. Samovar, L.A., and Porter, R. E., Communication Between Cultures, 1991. The authors focus on the meaning and impact of culture of individuals in their daily living in regards to their respective beliefs, expressions, personality, values and the like.

8. Samovar, L.A., and Porter, R. E., Communication Between Cultures, 1991. The authors focus on the meaning and impact of culture of individuals in their daily living in regards to their respective beliefs, expressions, personality, values and the like.

9. Texin, T., Survey: Who Do You Save? 2002. The author focuses on the differences in the various cultures in terms of their perspectives, beliefs, values, reasoning and the like that are taken into account in resolving problems.

10. Dweck, Carol and E. Elliott, E., “Achievement Motivation,” 1983. The authors focus on achievement motivation through the process of learning where achievement can be recognized by the learner or group, and not on outcomes, thus seeing mistakes as part of the learning process as opposed to failure.

11. Corbett, Dick, Wilson, Bruce, Williams, Belinda, Effort and Excellence in Urban Classrooms: Expecting—and Getting—Results With All Students, 2002. The authors focus on closing the achievement gapfor low-income students by focusing on capabilities of students, thus creating intrinsic motivation that fostering success in students leads to motivation for achieving more success by students.

12. Lumsden, Linda, S., “Student Motivation to Learn,” 1994. The author focuses on students’ beliefs and attitudes concerning learning as a result of modeling, communication, socialization, direct instruction and socialization by influential people in their lives such as teachers and parents.

13. Flannery, M.E., “A new look at America's English language learners”, 2009. The author focuses on the growth and myths of English Language Learners in the United States, and the successful stories of how barriers were successfully eliminated in achieving success in education.

The most important and beneficial information that I have learned from this study is the understanding and importance of culture and how it impacts student achievement. Successful student achievement and communication occur when cultural differences from all ethnic groups are understood, respected and valued. Educators must make it a priority in professional development to not only understand cultural differences, but focus on developing strategies for implementation in curriculum and pedagogy for students to reach their highest level of achievement and academic success. The individual and not the group in terms of one size fit all, must be emphasized. We must approach our teaching from the relevancy of culture in terms of what is valued by the student and how he or she is motivated in learning as a result of his or her beliefs, make up and cultural traditions. We must eliminate stereotypical assumptions, and labels for ethic groups and cultures in achieving success in regards to teaching, learning and communication. Successful communication and relationships with parents of different ethnicities are enhanced when we are more knowledgeable, understanding, and receptive to their cultural differences as well. All in all educators must become aware of the trends of diversity in the classrooms and schools and adapt our views, curriculum, and teaching to accommodate these trends. This is in essence the most important and beneficial information that I gleaned from this study of Being a Culturally Competent Educator. 

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