include them. When attempts at inclusion are not considered relevant to education, awkward encounters between parents and schools can occur. Patricia Greenfield described the experience of a Mexican American family that, as a group, accompanied one of their children to the first day of school. The teacher greeted their arrival by stating, “Oh, another spoiled child,” altogether missing the expression of family unity and celebration of the child's entry into school that this behavior signified.


The empirical base supporting the efficacy of adjusting classroom practices so that they are more compatible with children's cultural backgrounds is relatively thin. In contrast, the vast literature documenting sound educational practices for young children in general would appear to be very well-suited to instruction for culturally and linguistically diverse groups of youngsters. These best practices typically include substantial opportunities for tailoring classroom practices to children's individual styles and approaches to learning. The workshop participants explicitly cautioned against losing sight of these universal educational practices in the search for culturally compatible instructional methods.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement