Bilingual and Multicultural Education

My rating scale:
***** A well-deserved classic in the field, or just so good that it is a must read!
**** One of my favorites. An important book in the field.
*** A worthwhile read.
** Maybe some worthwhile ideas, but overall not so hot.
* Just plain bad.
(actually, if it’s below 3 stars, I probably haven’t bothered to include it)

Baker, Collin. (1995). A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism. Multilingual Matters. 240pp.
This is a good basic guide that answers questions about bilingualism and bilingual education in an accessible format and language. (***)

Ballenger, Cynthia. (1999). Teaching Other People’s Children: Literacy and Learning in a Bilingual Classroom. Teachers College Press. 108pp.
A teacher of Haitian immigrants in Boston describes her experience and thoughts on teaching children from another culture. Full of the rich details that only one in the field can evoke. Thought provoking in regards to the issues of being of the dominant culture when teaching those of a minority group. (***+)

Berlak, Ann. and S. Moyenda (2001). Taking it Personally: Racism in the Classroom from Kindergarten to College. Temple University Press. 204pp.
This is the story of a teacher education class on multiculturalism and how a an African-American teacher’s visit as a guest presenter forced the class to confront difficult issues of prejudice and racism. It is told by both the While University instructor and the African-American guest speaker, with excerpts from the students interactive journals as well. The particular story is used by both authors to discuss their views on multicultural education and the issue of white teachers working with students of color. (***)

Crawford, James. (2004). Educating English Learners: Language Diversity in the Classroom, 5th edition. Bilingual Education Services. 422pp.
Crawford takes a critical look at the history, politics and practice of teaching language minority students. His biases are mine, i.e. pro bilingual, and he keeps up on all the latest in research, theory, politics and news. A little too detailed on some historical ins and outs at times, but those can be skimmed. (***)

Cummins, Jim (2000). Negotiating Identities: Education for Empowerment in a Diverse Society, 2nd Edition. California Association for Bilingual Education.
This is a powerful book on the theory, practice and research around teaching second language learners. While focused on the issue of bilingual education and second language learning, it very much is based on the premise that learning and schooling is about identity. One of his conclusions is that successful education for minority children must deal directly with issues of empowerment. (****)

Darling-Hammond, Linda, Jennifer French, et al., Eds. (2002). Learning to Teach for Social Justice. Teachers College Press. 224pp.
This book contains essays written by Stanford teacher education students regarding their experiences as student teachers and new teachers around issues of social justice and teaching students of color. They raise important questions, a give one a sense of how these issues are seen from the field. As these are mostly young inexperienced teachers, their answers are not particularly profound. A worthwhile read for those wanting to know more about the actual experience of working in schools and confronting issues of social justice. (***)

Delpit, Lisa (1995). Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom, New Press. 206pp.
A book of essays on the topic named in the title. Delpit’s conclusion that we need to include minorities in discussions of education are good. She also raises issues about certain dangers of the Rousseauian version of progressive education. The first two essays, “Skills and Other Dilemmas of a Progressive Black Educator” and “The Silenced Dialogue” are worth the price of the book, even if one doesn’t agree with everything in them. Some of the essays feel repetitive, and in other ways her analysis does not go deep. However, Delpit is considered one of the most important African-American voices in public education, and therefore worth being familiar with. (**+)

Gibbons, Pauline. (2002). Scaffolding Language, Scaffolding Learning: Teaching second language learners in the mainstream classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
An excellent text on how to teach second language learners. gibbon’s gives both the theoretical groundings and how to apply the theory in practical ways in the classroom. She gives lots of examples of actual strategies and what those strategies look like in action. (***+)

Hakuta, Kenji (1986). Mirror of Language: The Debate of Bilingualism. Basic Books. 288pp.
One of the best reviews of the theory of bilingualism and research by a very balanced researcher. Well written. (***)

Kohl, Herbert (1994). I Won’t Learn from You. The New Press. 153pp.
This book contains the classic title essay which explains that some ‘failure’ among minorities is a choice not to join in a relationship with the ‘oppressor’ as well as other well written essays by one who has continued to challenge our thinking on teaching and learning for four decades. (****)

Krashen, Stephen D. (1996). Under Attack: The Case against Bilingual Education. Language Education Associates. 108pp; (1999) Condemned Without a Trial: Bogus Arguments Against Bilingual Education. Heinemann. 110pp.
These are both short simple defenses of bilingual education, based solidly on research finding, by the expert on second language learning. (***)

Ladson-Billings, Gloria (1994). The Dreamkeepers. Jossey-Bass. 187pp
Eight teachers are profiled in this book about how to effectively teach African American children. Within are also narratives of the author’s our education. She constantly weaves in the themes of what she sees as most important to reaching these students. (***+)

Landsman, Julie (2001). A White Teacher Talks About Race. The Scarecrow Press. 166pp.
Landsman describes her teaching in an alternative high school in Michigan, using it to also explore the issues of working with students of color as a white teacher, and in general issues of race in America. She uses her actual classroom experiences and stories of her students to tell her story. Moving. (****)

Lessow-Hurley, Judith (2009). The Foundations of Dual Language Instruction. Longman. 186pp.
An excellent short text on bilingual education. If you want to become an instant expert, this is the book. (***)

Nieto, Sonia (1996). Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education. Longman. 422pp.
Chapter by Chapter Nieto addresses different issues of multicultural education, then follows with case studies and analyses to illustrate those issues. Overall a well written book. The case studies are the strong point. (***)

Paley, Vivian G (1979). White Teacher. Harvard University Press. 140pp.
Paley tells of struggles dealing with issues of race and difference as a kindergarten teacher. While the book tells stories of her transformation over her career, most of the book focuses on one particular school year. A brilliant book. (****)

Sadowski, M. (Ed.). (2008). Adolescents at school: Perspectives on youth, identity, and education. Harvard Education Press.
Each section deals with a different identity issue–such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and disability, social class–and includes an essay and then a profile and/or commentary on the issue. It is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather offer perspectives on these issue that inform and open up one’s thinking. Each is powerful in its own way, and include the voices of the students themselves. Authors include Pedro Noguera, Beverly Daniel Tatum and Sonia Lee among others.
(****)

Sapon-Shevin, M. (2007). Widening the circle: The power of inclusive classrooms. Beacon.
The subtitle is “The Power of Inclusive Classrooms,” which is the theme of this book. It makes the argument that there is no place for separating students based on any quality, but specifically this book is aimed at separating student labeled for Special Education. She makes the argument mostly on what type of society we want to build–only by modeling and doing inclusion can we have an inclusive society where we do not grow up to divide people into “other.” She also argues that it is better educationally for all. She explains what types of changes would need to occur to make it work on the school and classroom level, and gives lots of examples from real schools and classrooms. Written with passio and clarity. (****)

Tatum, Beverly Daniel (1997). Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? HarperCollins 320pp.
Very interesting and enlightening analysis about prejudice and racism and how it effects the individual. (***)

Valdés, Guadalupe (2001). Learning and Not Learning English: Latino Students in American Schools. Teachers College Press. 177pp.
Focusing on the lives and experiences of four Latino children in Bay Area middle schools, Valdés examines both the policy and the instructional dilemmas of immigrant children in this country. She shows how well meaning teachers and schools fail to meet the needs of these students. In particular she focuses on how they are segregated from native speaking peers, from appropriate instruction in English, and access to content instruction. Her point is that this is a complex issue that needs to be addressed as such. In the end she brings up the larger sociopolitical aspects. (***)

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