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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.
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
Posted June 1, 2008
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.