Teaching Across a Cultural Chasm

Young teachers — fresh out of college and eager to save the world — often find themselves in large, metropolitan public schools, where they inherit students with significant learning deficits and whose cultural backgrounds look very different from their own. If colleges don’t reform their education-school curricula to prepare these teachers to be culturally responsive — aware that students’ cultural backgrounds can and should play a role in how they learn — the consequences are twofold: student achievement will suffer, and teachers will leave the profession within the first few years — a significant problem, because the United States already faces a shortage of teachers.

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