Publication Date: November 16, 1998
Series: Practitioner Inquiry Series
What happens when a teacher does not share a cultural background with her students? In this thoroughly engaging account, one North American teacher describes her three years teaching Haitian children in an inner-city preschool. Using classroom research, Cynthia Ballenger explores how teachers who listen closely to children from other cultures can understand the approaches to literature that these children bring with them to school. Practitioners will identify with Ballenger, who struggles to find the academic strengths of children whose parents do not read them bedtime stories or otherwise prepare them for school in ways that are familiar to her. Focusing on three areas crucial to early childhood education (classroom behavior, concepts of print, and storybook reading), this book will challenge many widely held assumptions and cultural perspectives about the education of young children.
Cynthia Ballenger is an Early Childhood Specialist currently on staff at the Cheche (add accent) Konnen Center, A National Science Foundation-funded center for science education reform and linguistic minority students.
“(A) remarkable book….Together, these observations and conversations add up to a far more powerful example of ‘professional development’ than many activities dignified and justified by that easy name.”
From the Foreword by Courtney Cazden
“An important and unique contribution to the ‘New Literacy Studies’….This work is situated, practice-centered theory at its best.”
James Gee, University of Wisconsin, Madison
“This book takes us on a wonderful journey into a community of Haitian-American learners and what their teacher learned from them.”
Josiane Hudicourt-Barnes, Boston Public Schools’ Office of Bilingual Education