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Educators generally agree that education takes place in a specific sociocultural context. But we are not always clear and precise about the myriad ways that cultural factors influence the process of schooling, teaching, and learning. More often than not, our insensitivity to and lack of knowledge regarding the role of culture in education lead to unsound educational policies, ineffective school practices, and unfair assessment of learners. Accordingly, the primary purpose of this book is to examine education as a cultural phenomenon and the implications of this perspective for schooling, multicultural education, educational development, and the process of teaching and learning.
Cultural Foundations of Education is designed to provide educators and prospective educators with knowledge essential to making decisions about teaching and learning. It is not a methods textbook; rather, as the title implies, it is intended as a foundation for thinking about curricula and pedagogy. This is a time of sociocultural as well as educational change, and educators must be equipped with the knowledge and understanding necessary for effective analysis of educational issues. Teachers cannot close their classroom doors on cultural influences on education. It is our intention that this book contribute to more thoughtful dialogue about education in its cultural context.
Uses of This Text
Most of the concepts, theories, and issues presented in this text, along with their educational ramifications, will require further probing and elaboration; therefore, instructors are encouraged to introduce their own materials, experiences, andinsights to these topics as well as to the influence of political, economic, and religious variables on education and schooling.
For Reflection items involving African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, Native American, and white American groups are presented at the end of each chapter. The contents of individual chapters will help readers analyze the items; also, additional sources in anthropology and education, opinions of other students, and the instructor's guidance will be useful in gaining varied and alternative insights.
New to This Edition
Various significant changes have been introduced to this third edition. The book begins with a brief "story" illustrating the importance of culture in educational reform to reflect the motif of the text. A list of key concepts has been added to each chapter, with a Glossary of Key Concepts at the end of the book. The section on core values in chapter 2 has been updated, and chapter 3 contains updated and revised discussions of minority languages in the classroom, bilingual education, and IQ-related issues. A new look at approaches to multicultural education as well as such current reform efforts as charter schools and the use of vouchers have been added to chapter 4. An examination of the influence of technology on the postmodern concept of childhood and its educational implications has been introduced in chapter 6. Completely new sections dealing with communication styles, learning styles, and intercultural competence in chapter 7 should help students understand what skills and attitudes are necessary in working with culturally different individuals. Most of the end-of-chapter For Reflection items have been replaced with newer examples. Other modifications and updates, while changing the text in only minor ways, are aimed at keeping the text connected with current trends and theories, as well as with the experience of readers.
Our thanks to Ah-Houk Sia for her help in obtaining permission for the use of excerpts from other published materials and to our colleagues at the University of Missouri-Kansas City for their ongoing support and their reviews of this work. Comments and suggestions by the following reviewers have been most helpful in enhancing the depth and breadth of the book: Malcolm B. Campbell, Bowling Green State University; Stephanie Evans, California State University; Rosa Castro Feinberg, Florida International University; John Marciano, State University of New York at Cortland; and Linda Shadiow, Northern Arizona University.