Greater Expectations: Teaching Academic Literacy to Underrepresented Students

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Overview

While the population of Hispanic/Latino and African American students in the United States continues to grow, the rate at which they attend college remains alarmingly small. These students, who are often defined as "educationally underrepresented," are a bellwether of a shortcoming in our nation's educational system that has serious implications for the future. In Greater Expectations, Robin Turner, a high school English teacher from Anaheim, California, offers pragmatic, proven methods for better preparing underrepresented students for higher education.

The book is grounded in Robin's experience as a leader in the Puente Project, a college preparation program started in California high schools over twenty years ago. Since 1981, Puente has proven highly effective in producing positive change by improving academic performance, standardized test scores, and college admission rates for underrepresented students.

Forming the book's foundations are the ideas of família and cariño, or family and caring. The first, família, asserts the importance of establishing a sense of community among adolescents and tapping into student culture—ethnicity, music, sports, neighborhood and so on in the language arts classroom. The second concept, a pedagogy of cariño, contends that too often, underrepresented students possess attributes that are overlooked and are viewed with a deficit-model paradigm. Building on this foundation, Greater Expectations shows how to effectively teach different modes of academic discourse—literary analysis, autobiographical/biographical, persuasive research, and community-based writing. Offering a combination of personal narrative, how-to lesson plans, and student samples, Robin Turner challenges readers to approach their underrepresented students with greater expectations and be equipped with specific lesson plans to enable their classes to meet them.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Jennifer Miskec
Robin Turner almost did not go to university. Having completed lower level work at a community college, he put off enrolling. It was not because he was not smart enough or because he did not want to continue his education, but because he did not know how to apply for admission or to register. As a first-generation college student, Turner did not have a support system to guide him. Against the odds, Turner succeeded and is dedicated to helping young people gain the academic and practical skills to thrive in college. Part idealist, part pragmatist, Turner offers ideas and methods for teaching English to high school students who are often marked "at-risk" and who are, in turn, traditionally underrepresented in the university system, Latino and African American students in particular. From analyzing literature to teaching argument and research strategies to building a community-or familia-in the classroom, Turner works to help English teachers bridge the gap between students' cultural capital and the reality of what it means to be prepared for the rigor of higher education. Turner's experiences as a high school English teacher in Puente, a college preparatory program that serves the traditionally underrepresented, informs his ideas and the methodologies he presents. It is not just educators teaching this particular demographic, however, who will benefit from his resources. The text includes handouts, scoring guides, sample writing, anecdotes, statistics, and lesson plans that English teachers will find innovative and useful. Turner's serious but conversational tone makes the text highly accessible as well. Reviewer: Jennifer Miskec
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571107404
  • Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/20/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,010,581
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Why focus on underrepresented students? 1

Ch. 2 Familia and classroom culture 15

Ch. 3 Literary analysis : reading and writing strategies 34

Ch. 4 Autobiographical and biographical writing strategies : using students' lives to engage them in writing and school 67

Ch. 5 Teaching argument and research writing strategies 99

Ch. 6 Exploring culture-based writing 127

Ch. 7 Reflection : the key to growth as a reader, writer, and person 155

Ch. 8 Puente : the bigger familia 171

Ch. 9 Conclusion 182

App. A Scoring guides for students 187

App. B Scoring guides for teacher use 197

App. C Handouts 215

References 219

Index 222

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2008

    A reviewer

    American public education has been in crisis for decades. Everyone is crying out for change but nothing is ever being accomplished. Finally, one educator has designed an outstanding viable solution that addresses a great part of the problem. Essentially working form the premise that everyone has a brain and that they all function in the same manner, Robin Turner demonstrates, through teaching techniques and documented results, that all American students can excel academically regardless of their ethnic or cultural background. Greater Expectations goes beyond simply being an academic treatise of the situation. Turner supplies the reader with constructive tools. This book should be mandatory reading for every teacher and student.

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