ERIC Number: EJ916846
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: 8
Beyond the Textbook: Building Relationships between Teachers and Diversely-Structured Families
Norris, Katherine E. L.
Multicultural Education, v18 n1 p48-50 Fall 2010
It has been no secret that today's schools are faced with many challenges. U.S. schools are struggling with low test scores, high drop-out rates, and unequal quality public education. These schools are also struggling to meet the needs of an ever changing population of students. The changing demographics in schools present challenges to teachers and administrators. In addition to working to improve grades, schools are faced with the challenge of building relationships with families to ensure that the needs of all students are met. Schools that strive to create better learning environments for children strive to empower "all" parents--not just ones from traditional families. In order to build successful schools it becomes crucial for schools to build partnerships with diverse families. Teacher education programs have the unique challenge of training students interested in becoming teachers (pre-service teachers) to build partnerships with "all" families including those from diverse structures. Many who teach pre-service teachers struggle with ways to go beyond the textbook with the goal of providing quality, memorable learning experiences for their students. This article describes a project that examines the effectiveness of moving beyond the textbook and bringing families and pre-service students face-to-face in an effort to begin to build a much needed understanding and to allow for perspective taking. Results proved that the panel discussion format is a powerful tool that can be used to teach pre-service teachers to appreciate and respect diverse family structures. More than a lecture or reading a book, the panel discussion allowed students to actually meet the families and hear their true life stories. This hands-on strategy allowed students to hear and understand the perspectives of others and to appreciate the differences.
Descriptors: Preservice Teacher Education, Teacher Education Programs, Textbooks, Perspective Taking, Public Education, Family School Relationship, Cultural Pluralism, Teaching Methods, Family Structure, Discussion
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A