ERIC Number: ED285963
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Cultural Incongruities and Inequities of Schooling: Implications for Practice from Ethnographic Research? Occasional Paper No. 117.
Zeuli, John S.; Floden, Robert E.
Schools have been accused of being insensitive to students' cultural backgrounds, and thus of failing to serve some populations because instruction and curricula are designed for middle class children. But teachers should be cautious about applying the findings of ethnographic studies which address this problem. Although ethnographic studies sometimes reveal ways in which cultural incongruity contributes to inequity, the existing research does not imply that teachers should always promote cultural congruity. For example, Au and Jordan's well-known study demonstrates how cultural differences hindered the learning of Hawaiian students, and how the improvement of classroom communication fit better with student background increased learning. But it is difficult to extract implications for preservice teachers from this study, and there is apparently no straightforward link between research studies and teachers' classroom practice. Furthermore, there are substantial costs in making curricula continuous with students' everyday lives. The examination of analytic studies of everyday experience, learning theory, and empirical studies in science education reveals that attempts to connect curricula to everyday life can impede students' understanding of disciplinary concepts and may restrict their range of vision. Ethnographic studies can have value in helping future teachers to reflect on how their actions are culturally influenced and how individual differences do not imply deficiencies, but prospective teachers need intellectual tools and adequate practice to profit from ethnographic research. (KH)
Descriptors: Classroom Communication, Cultural Awareness, Cultural Differences, Educational Anthropology, Ethnic Groups, Ethnography, Higher Education, Learning Problems, Research Utilization, Teacher Education, Teaching (Occupation)
Institute for Research on Teaching, College of Education, Michigan State University, 252 Erickson Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824-1034 ($3.00).
Publication Type: Reports - General
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of Education, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Michigan State Univ., East Lansing. Inst. for Research on Teaching.