20 SES 07 B, Indigenous And Minority Groups’ Pathways Into Intercultural Education: International Perspectives On Innovative Learning Environments
This symposium presents different international perspectives of research conducted with indigenous and minority communities aiming to examine innovative learning environments for culturally relevant teaching and learning. Particularly, research discussed here has been conducted in a set of diverse contexts (socio-demographically, culturally, etc.) whereas sharing a common approach: they focus on traditionally underserved populations such as indigenous communities and other culturally and socially disadvantaged groups worldwide.
Different theoretical contributions support the importance of creating culturally appropriate or culturally relevant teaching to benefit all the students, particularly those who are not a part of the middle-class mainstream (Ladson-Billings, 1994). Discourse and language play a crucial role on it, particularly with regards to the discontinuity between what students experience at home and what they experience at school when interacting with the teachers. Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory (1962, 1978), emphasized the role of language and human interaction on development and pointed out the importance of adult guidance to move children toward higher levels of development. Building on this seminal work, research on the cultural dimension of the adult guidance has provided more evidence on why diversity of adults support children’s learning (Rogoff et al, 2001; Gonzalez, Moll & Amanti, 2005). These studies have supported instruction that draws on the cultural knowledge associated with ethnic/racial identities to increase student engagement and learning (Flecha & Soler, 2013; Lee, 1995) and have claimed for consistent culturally relevant teaching (Mehan, Hubbard & Villanueva, 1994; Ladson-Billings, 1994). However, it has remained relatively unexplored the potentiality of indigenous knowledge and their ways of knowing to create intercultural learning environments for every single child to succeed in education. Consequently, this symposium aims to explore innovative learning environments that support children’s learning and identity formation, and promote opportunities for intercultural understanding and social cohesion in Taiwanese, Quechua, Roma and minority ethnic groups in Cyprus.
The contributions presented in this session are based on the results of various international research projects involving different methodological approaches (ethnographic methods, communicative methodology, among others). Specifically, the first paper explores the literacy development of Taiwanese students belonging to indigenous groups, through a comparative study between young people from urban and tribal contexts using the ethnographic methodology. The second study examines the transformation of the expectations regarding learning among students, family members and teachers in rural schools in Peru with high concentrations of Quechua students. The third paper presents an experience of family and community participation with Roma population, one of the most marginalised communities in Europe, based on the study of different schools in Spain. The last paper focuses one experience study of dialogic reading in schools in United Kingdom, which is helping minority students to make meaning regarding learning.
Overall, this symposium sheds light on cultural knowledge and identity development in learning environments that include indigenous communities to support culturally relevant teaching and learning. This challenges the ‘deficit thinking’ (Valencia, 2010) historically applied to vulnerable populations. Regarding implications for the design of innovative learning environments, this study points to the benefits of involving diverse forms of knowledge and ways of knowing in order to create effective, meaningful and culturally relevant learning environments for all students.
Flecha, R., & Soler. M. (2013). Turning difficulties into possibilities: Engaging Roma families and students in school through dialogic learning. Cambridge Journal of Education, 43(4), 451-465. doi:10.1080/0305764X.2013.819068 Gonzalez, N., & Moll, L. C., & Amanti, C. (Eds.). (2005). Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The Dreamkeepers: Successful teaching for African-American students. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Lee, C. D. (1995). Signifying as a scaffold for literary interpretation. Journal of Black Psychology, 21(4), 357-81. Mehan, H., Hubbard, L., & Villanueva, I. (1994). Forming academic identities: Accommodation without assimilation among involuntary minorities. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 25, 91-117. Rogoff, B., Goodman Turkanis, C., & Bartlett, L. (2001) Learning together: Children and adults in a school community. New York: Oxford University Press. Valencia, R. (2010). Dismantling contemporary deficit thinking: Educational thought and practice. New York: Routledge. Vygotsky, L. S. (1962). Thought and language. Cambridge: M.I.T. Press Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
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