Young Learners, Diverse Children: Celebrating Diversity in Early Childhood

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For the increasing number of diverse young learners, academic and social success can hinge on a teacher's ability to bridge home and school by making emotional connections with students and their families. This book demonstrates how combining teaching methods with an authentic appreciation of children's backgrounds builds the confidence young learners need to succeed.

Young Learners, Diverse Children offers a research-based instructional model that merges cognition, language, and culture to foster a supportive learning environment for diverse and low socioeconomic status (SES) students. Drawing on her direct experience in establishing a successful laboratory school for diverse preschoolers, Virginia Gonzalez presents examples of best teaching practices and provides lesson plans and alternative assessment tools to help readers

Improve literacy skills through storytelling that reflects students' everyday lives

Collaborate with parents to increase student achievement

Correlate curriculum with TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) standards for young children

Integrate academic standards across developmental levels and content areas

Using this practical handbook, early childhood educators can create richer, more positive learning experiences and help alleviate the real-life challenges of cultural adaptation for newly immigrated or low SES students and their families.

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Editorial Reviews

Yolanda Abel
"This book guides the reader in delivering developmentally appropriate instruction that supports the whole child and facilitates learning and academic achievement. The very detailed case study in Chapter 5 shows how assessment can be administered and how it links with instruction and documenting developmental growth."
Katina Keener
"A resource on this up-and-coming issue hasn’t been available up to this point. It takes a detailed, research-based look at a diverse population of children across the country and can be used by classroom teachers, school divisions, and colleges.”
Danielle Waldrep Rich
“This book provides many real-life examples and strategiesthat haveworked fora practicing teacher, from implementing an appropriate curriculum to including the family in discussions about their child’s education. Thecharts at the end of the chapters really help the reader synthesize all of the information.”
Lauren Sand
"An extremely valuable resource for early child educators of young diverse children. Not only does the book include alternate forms of instruction for diverse young children, but it also provides alternative forms of assessment. The ethnic educator philosophy endorsed by the book is one that can be applied to any classroom setting. All early childhood teachers, whether they have been teaching for twenty years or are just beginning their career, should read this book."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412968140
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 9/15/2009
  • Pages: 223
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Virginia Gonzalez has an interdisciplinary professional and academic background (BA in psychology, 1986, from the Catholic University of Lima-Perú; MA in bilingual special education, 1988, and Ph D in educational psychology, 1991, both graduate degrees from The University of Texas at Austin). One of Gonzalez's major areas of expertise is the development of multidisciplinary models explaining sociocultural and linguistic factors influencing alternative assessment, learning and developmental processes, and instructional programs in bilingual/ English-as-a-second-language (ESL), low socioeconomic status, Hispanic children. Gonzalez has conducted multiple research studies that have been published in the form of books and journal articles, have been disseminated at national/international conferences, and have been applied for the assessment and instruction of diverse learners in the public school setting, and of international ESL students in higher education. These studies have generated alternative models and research methodologies, with important educational applications for the assessment and instruction of ethnic minorities.

In light of this scholarly work, Gonzalez has been recognized as an outstanding and prolific scholar by major professional organizations in the interdisciplinary fields of second language learning, bilingual education, and cognitive and language development. Among the many recent recognitions that Gonzalez has received for her scholarly and service work are: she was elected to serve as a member of the Executive Special Interest Group (SIG) Committee, and the Program Committee for the American Educational Research Association (AERA) for a three-year term (2007-2010); she was presented with a Service Award by the AERA Bilingual Education Research SIG in April 2007; she served as a chair and discussant for an Invited Presidential Symposium, entitled "Socio-Historical Factors Affecting ESL US Immigrant Public Schools Students' Academic Achievement," presented at AERA 2008 Annual Meeting in New York City; and she was selected by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) as a recipient for a Fulbright Senior Specialist Grant with the University of Costa Rica, December 2008.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables vi

Foreword Eugene E. Garcia viii

Preface: A Letter to the Reader xi

Acknowledgments xx

About the Author xxiii

Part I Ethnic-Educator Philosophical and Theoretical Framework 1

Chapter 1 The Ethnic-Educator Philosophy 2

Examples of Principle 1 7

Examples of Principle 2 11

Examples of Principle 3 15

Examples of Principle 4 17

Chapter 2 The Ethnic-Educator Pedagogical Model 20

How Teachers' Personalities Affect Their Assessment and Instructional Decisions 20

A Socioconstructivistic Pedagogical Model Supporting the Ethnic-Educator Approach 24

The Four Pedagogical Principles for Learning and Academic Achievement 28

Part II Educational Applications of The Ethnic-Educator Approach 37

Chapter 3 Teaching Strategies 38

Strategies Supporting the Ethnic-Educator Approach 38

First Cluster of Pedagogical Strategies: Thematic Curriculums 39

First Cluster of Pedagogical Strategies: Holistic Developmental Curriculums 45

Second Cluster of Pedagogical Strategies: Stimulating Critical-Thinking Skills 48

Second and Third Clusters of Pedagogical Strategies: A Pluralistic Pedagogy Stimulating Connections to Prior Sociocultural Knowledge and Real-Life Experiences 51

Fourth Cluster of Pedagogical Strategies: An Advocacy Position for Teachers 55

Suggestions for Applying the Strategies 58

Chapter 4 Linking the Teaching Strategies with Academic Content Standards 60

Linking Assessment to Instruction Through Classroom-Based Observations 60

Instructional Purposes of Assessment 86

Integration of Teaching Principles With TESOL Academic Content Standards in the Curriculum 87

Linking Assessment to Instruction ThroughClassroom-Based Observations 92

Chapter 5 Developmental Tasks for Linking Assessment to Instruction 115

Case Study Introducing Individual Developmental Tasks 116

Discussion of Paula's Overall Performance Across Developmental Tasks 137

Chapter 6 Storytelling 140

Research-Based Knowledge Supporting Storytelling as an Alternative Assessment 141

Storytelling as an Assessment Method of First-and Second-Language and Cognitive Development 142

Developmental Stages of Narrative and Semantic Development in Children 143

Socioconstructivist Perspective for Language Development 145

Sociocultural Perspective for Language Development 145

Application of Research-Based Knowledge to Actual Assessment Strategies 147

Recommended Strategies for Clustering Coded Responses 155

Four Recommended Strategies for Interpreting Evaluation Results 165

Conclusions 169

Chapter 7 Alternative Reading Instruction 170

Introduction 170

Theoretical Framework Supporting Reading Instruction in Young, Diverse Children 171

Guided-Reading Approach for Developing Reading-Comprehension Skills 174

Application of the Guided-Reading Approach 175

Application of the Schema Theory 176

Repetition and Practice Make Perfect 178

Activities for Increasing Reading Abilities 181

Family Involvement for Increasing Reading Skills 183

Bridging the Gap Between School and Home Cultures Through Parental Participation 184

Conclusions 186

Chapter 8 Conclusions and Recommendations for Educating Diverse Young Children 187

Introduction: The BPDC as a Learning Context 188

Interviews With Teachers Participating in the BPDC Project 192

Interviews With Diverse and Mainstream Parents Participating in the BPDC Project 197

Overall Conclusions 208

Appendix: Alignment of Philosophical and Pedagogical Principles and Pedagogical Strategies Endorsed by the Ethnic-Educator Approach for Young, Diverse Children 211

References 213

Index 218

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