Bridging Culture

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Bridging CulturesTeacher Education Module

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Bridging CulturesTeacher Education Module

Carrie Rothstein-Fisch



Camera-ready copy for this book was provided by the author.


Copyright 2003 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by photostat, microform, retrieval system, or any other means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers 10 Industrial Avenue Mahwah, NJ 07430 [ Cover design by Kathryn Houghtaling Lacey Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Rothstein-Fisch, Carrie. Bridging cultures : teaching education module / Carrie Rothstein-Fisch. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-8058-4207-1 (alk. paper) 1. TeachersTraining ofUnited Sates 2. Multicultural educationUnited States 3. Home and schoolUnited Sates I. Title. LB1715 .R59 2003


2002026350 CIP

Books published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates are printed on acid-free paper, and their bindings are chosen for strength and durability. Printed in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


TABLE OF CONTENTSPrefaceOrganization of the Module Readings for the Bridging Cultures Teacher Education Module Acknowledgments

ixxi xii xiii

Chapter 1 Introduction to Bridging CulturesCulture and Education What is the Bridging Cultures Project? Validity of the Bridging Cultures Framework and Module Cultural Caveats

11 1 4 5

Chapter 2

Facilitator's Script

77 7 8 8 9 10 10 11 11 11 12 12 13 13 15 17 21 26 27 27 29 29 31 33

Overview Objectives Optimal Use of the Module Learning to Bridge Cultures Takes Time Creating Trust and a Sense of Safety Many Ways of Learning Guide to Using the Script Presentation Tips Prepare the Materials Invite Others Check the Room and Equipment Use of the Readings Further Reading Connecting the Readings to Learning Script Introduction Jobs Scenario: Solving a Classroom Dilemma Description of Individualism and Collectivism Seven Sources of Home-School Conflict Independence versus Helpfulness Classroom Applications Personal Property versus Sharing Whose Blocks? Crayons in the Classroom Classroom Applications


Cognitive Skills and Objects Out of Context versus Social Skills and Objects in a Social Context How Would You Describe an Egg? Bridging Discourses of Home and School Classroom Applications Child as an Individual versus Child as Part of the Family School Breakfast and School-Wide Cross-Cultural Misunderstanding Parent-Teacher Conference Classroom Applications Parents' Role versus Teacher's Role Teachers Giving Parenting Advice Classroom Applications Praise versus Criticism The Concept of "Burro" Mocking the Praise Rethinking Academic Award Activities Classroom Applications Oral Expression versus Listening to Authority Checking for Understanding Guilt in the Principal's Office Classroom Applications You Are the Bridge Evaluation

34 34 35 37 38 38 42 43 45 46 47 48 49 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 57 59

Chapter 3

Effect of the Module on Pre-Service Teachers

6161 62 63 68 71

The Course Bridging Cultures Module Assessment Results Evaluation 1 Exit Evaluation of the Bridging Cultures Module Evaluation 2 Midterm Exam Evaluation 3 Final Exam


Chapter 41. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Overhead Transparency Masters

7577 79 81 83 85

Bridging Cultures Workshop Agenda The Bridging Cultures Project Initial Training The Bridging Cultures Project Shifting Roles Solving a Classroom Dilemma: The Jobs Scenario Jobs Scenario: School One


6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

Jobs Scenario: School Two The Cost of Home-School Conflict Individualism-Collectivism Features Hofstede's Individualism Ratings Risk: Overgeneralizing Benefit: Understanding Seven Sources of Home-School Conflict Whose Blocks? Crayons in the Classroom Shared School Supplies How Would You Describe an Egg? Science from Stories School Breakfast School Sign School Letter Parents' Role versus Teacher's Role Group Homework Practice Praise versus Criticism Oral Expression Versus Respect for Authority Guilt in the Principal's Office You Are the Bridge

87 89 91 93 95 97 99 101 103 105 107 109 111 113 115 117 119 121 123 125 127

Chapters1. 2. 3. 4.

Handout Templates

129131 133 141 143

Solving a Classroom Dilemma: The Jobs Scenario Seven Sources of Home-School Conflict You Are the Bridge Bridging Cultures Teacher Education Module Evaluation

Appendices1. 2. Bridging Cultures Project Participants The Hofstede Study and Expanded Data Set

147149 151

References Author Index

153 157

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PrefaceThe Bridging Cultures Project, on which this Teacher Education Module is based, is an outgrowth of empirical research that demonstrated how differences in cultural value systems lead to conflicts in classrooms. These differences, which tend to be invisible, were shown to cause conflict between immigrant Latino families and the schools that serve them (Greenfield, Quiroz, & Raeff, 2000; Raeff, Greenfield, & Quiroz, 2000). In brief, schools tend to reflect the values of the so-called mainstream, which are highly individualistic teaching students to become independent and take care of their own needs. In contrast, immigrant Latino families tend to be collectivisticteaching children to be interdependent with others and to attend to the needs of the family. Although these are broad generalizations that do not apply in all situations, they help us understand why many students and their families come into conflict with schooling in the United States. Lacking knowledge of culture-based value systems, educators often misdiagnose classroom management problems or misinterpret parental behaviors. Mybelieve that

colleagues in the Bridging Cultures Project and I conflicts between these underlying value systems must be considered if we are to improve schooling for a significant number of our students. Acting on this belief, the Bridging Cultures Project researchers joined with teachers of immigrant Latino students in the greater Los Angeles area to explore the usefulness of a framework based on individualism and collectivism for imPaving schooling. The staff researchers included Patricia Greenfield and her student, Blanca Quiroz1, both from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); Elise Trumbull from WestEd (a regional educational laboratory located in San Francisco); and me, Carrie Rothstein-Fisch, an educational psychologist and teacher-educator from California State University, Northridge (CSUN). Seven bilingual elementary school teachers completed the team. They were Marie Altchech, Catherine Daley, Kathryn Eyler, Elvia^s. Quiroz is currently a doctoral student at Harvard.



BRIDGING CULTURES Teacher Education Module

Hernandez, Giancarlo Mercado, Amada Perez, and communities or had extensive formal education Pearl Saitzyk. in their homeland, experiences likely to make for In the fall of 1996, the staff researchers confewer conflicts with mainstream schooling. Likeducted a series of three half-day workshops to wise, understanding students' cultures requires introduce the framework of individualism and simultaneous examination of the mainstream culcollectivism to the teachers and share what had ture if improvements are to be made in curriculum been learned from related classroom research. We and instruction (Finkelstein, Pickert, Mahoney, & asked the teachers to use the framework as a basis Barry, 1998). for observation first and then as a catalyst for Non-Latino cultural groups have also exchange in their own classrooms. At the conclupressed epiphanies based on learning the sion of the three initial workshops, the teachers framework's concepts. For example, following the shifted in their roles from teacher-participants to Module presentation, many of my Korean Ameriteacher-researchers. Over the course of the next can students have commented, "You just described four years, the team of staff researchers and my life!" The case of African Americans is more teacher-researchers met every two to three months complex. According to Hale-Benson (1986) and to share observations, innovations, and reflections, Ladson-Billings (1994), elements of collectivism, deepening our understanding of how culture opexpressed in students' preferences for learning in crates in the classroom. Because the Project is truly groups (versus in isolation) and a sense of family collaborative, much of what is included in this responsibility, are common among African AmeriModule represents the thinking of my colleagues, cans. However, their valuing of individual and therefore I often use the pronoun "we" instead performance and competition with peers contrasts of "I," although I am sole author of this publicasomewhat with the orientation of some other tion, and I am responsible for any omissions or groups that have been described as collect!vistic. errors. Other parallels between immigrants in general and The Module focuses on immigrant Latinos some African Americans have to do with conflicts because the empirical research on which the they may encounter in the discourse norms of Project is based was conducted with that group. classrooms, in which there are expectations for In addition, this population represents a large group separating academic language and content from of newcomers to the U.S., and applied research personal values, feelings, and experiences. Sperelated to Latinos could be of great int