Saturday, January 2, 2016

IJME is very alive at although this blog has not been updated recently. Keep visiting the journal.  We will return to the Blog in 2016 with new staff.

Heewon Chang, PhD
Editor-in-Chief, IJME
Professor, PhD in Organizational Leadership, Eastern University

Monday, May 5, 2014

Challenging Anti Immigration Discourses in School and Community Contexts

by Martha Allexsaht-snider, Cory Buxton and Ruth Harman

As the guest editors of IJME Vol 14(2), Theme Issue on Challenging Anti Immigration Discourses in School and Community Contexts, we have continued to research, write and engage in projects that support immigrant students and families and the teachers who work with them within the context of new Latino/a diaspora communities in the Southeastern United States.
In our work, we explore how Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) can help educators and researchers rethink how the representation of immigrants in the popular media and in public policy is influencing classroom contexts. We also consider how Critical Race Theory (CRT), and corresponding resource pedagogies, can support inquiry into race, identity, and power issues, using community voices and participatory approaches to shift classroom and social discourses away from deficit perspectives on race and identity.
In Ruth Harman’s work with local youth groups and educators in Georgia, a critical discourse analysis approach has informed her action research design in working collaboratively on social equity issues with youth. For example, in a participatory action project with adolescents at a middle school, the team use arts-based critical performative approaches (CPP) with emergent bilingual learners to investigate and challenge social equity issues; they also engage with the teachers and local district policy makers to support a shift from reductive teaching-to-the-test instructional practices to a more inquiry-based approach.  As Fairclough (2005) highlighted in his paper on transdisciplinary research, a multilayered CDA approach focuses on the dialectic between individual meaning making events and the social structures and practices on which they rely.  By engaging in critical arts-based participatory approaches in addition to working with teachers and local policy makers, we can perhaps lend support to students and teachers grappling with local power relations that are dialectally connected to broader institutional and societal practices that marginalize students and teachers based on race, class, gender, and other markers of difference (Nieto & Bode, 2008).
Our use of Critical Race Theory provides a lens for exploring the significance of race and racism as it currently operates in educational institutions and policies. We use our understanding of CRT to highlight how the work of many critical educators across the globe is gradually shifting the educational positioning of the cultural and linguistic “other” from deficit to difference to resource. In recent years, many teacher educators have adopted various resource pedagogies to replace the cultural and linguistic deficit and difference perspectives.
Resource pedagogies highlight the need for teachers to build on the linguistic, cultural, and literacy tools that all students bring to the classroom. These resources can be used advantageously to develop the knowledge and skills that are most valued in academic settings. From a CRT perspective, however, teachers much focus on more than just academic achievement, also valuing the teaching of cultural competence, and critical consciousness as essential to the success of all students who will live in a multicultural society (Ladson-Billings, 1995).
Some resource pedagogies focus more explicitly on the linguistic strengths and resources that English learners (including immigrants) bring to the classroom (e.g., Lee & Fradd, 1998), while other models focus on the cultural knowledge and skills that students bring from home (e.g., Gonzalez, Moll, and Amanti, 2005). More recently, Paris (2012) proposed a model of culturally sustaining pedagogy with a focus on explicit steps to maintain the linguistic and cultural resources that all students bring to school. When taken together, resource pedagogies are meant to support linguistic and cultural pluralism as a goal of democratic education.
In our own work on the Language-Rich Inquiry Science with English Language Learners (LISELL) project we have been collaborating with teachers to develop and test both a pedagogical model and a professional learning framework to support all students, and particularly Latino/a immigrant students, in developing science inquiry practices and academic language skills. The LISELL pedagogical model is composed of six language-rich inquiry practices that are meant to simultaneously build on students’ experiential and linguistic resources while channeling those resources toward developing ownership of the language of science. These practices range from exploring language needed to describe how observations can serve as evidence to evaluate a hypothesis, to explicit study of how the functional grammar of science is used to create authoritative scientific voice. The LISELL pedagogical model is meant to help teachers build on the linguistic and cultural resources that all students bring to the science classroom.
The LISELL professional learning framework has five components that support the positioning of participants in different ways for different purposes. For example, in the LISELL Steps to College through Science bilingual family workshops, the positioning of the teachers foregrounds their roles as participant observers, Spanish language learners, and advocates for their students in partnership with parents, while the positioning of the parents emphasizes their roles as learners, sharers of personal experiences, concerned with and engaged in their children's educational success. The positioning of the students highlights their roles as bilingual learners using the language of science to enact science practices, sharers of personal educational experiences, young people on the path to success, and the focal point for our collaborative work. We are currently studying how our resource-focused approach to professional learning makes new identities possible and supports participants in gaining new insights about themselves and about members of the other groups based on our work together.
As we continue to work on our various projects under the theme of Challenging Anti Immigration Discourses in School and Community Contexts, there are a number of questions and concerns that we continue to grapple with. We list a few below, and encourage readers to respond to these questions, as well as raising additional questions that are triggered by these reflections.

·      How do the pressures of teacher, school and student assessment systems influence teachers’ perceptions of immigrant students?
·      How can teachers enact resource pedagogies within the constraints imposed by standards and accountability frameworks?
·      How can immigrant parents/ communities play a more active role in shaping educational policies and practices in their children’s’ schools?
·      How can we support immigrant students in cultivating their voices and participation in dynamic learning opportunities that disrupt the ‘teaching-to-the-test’ mandates?
·      What strategies do we need to cultivate that can help us challenge and speak back to policy makers who insist in creating an increasing battery of tests that position second language learners in deficit ways?
·      How do political and policy developments regarding immigration and immigrants (and lack of reform) at a national level in the U. S. and México impact families and frame the schooling and learning experiences of immigrant students?

·      What proactive roles can educators and researchers take to continue to challenge anti-immigration discourses in school and community contexts?

      Martha Allexsaht-Snider is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice at the University of Georgia. Her research interests include: family-school-community interactions in diverse settings including Latino communities and rural México; professional development and equity in mathematics and science education; and creative approaches to teacher education in diverse contexts. She has worked with national and international grants in the areas of science and math education for immigrant students and families and teacher education for rural and indigenous teachers in México.​

     Cory Buxton is a Professor of Educational Theory and Practice at the University of Georgia. His research interests include the teaching and learning of science in multilingual and multicultural contexts, the language of science, place-based science, and the integration of science and social studies to support social problem solving. Buxton was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala and a middle school and high school science and ESOL teacher in New Orleans and Colorado before completing his PhD and beginning to work in university settings.

Ruth Harman is Associate Professor in the TESOL and World Language Education Program at the University of Georgia. Her research, teaching and service focus on exploring how best to support the literacy and language development of emergent bilingual learners in K-12 classrooms, especially in the current climate of high stakes school reform and anti-immigration discourses. She has published and developed courses in three overlapping areas that relate to this focus: systemic functional linguistics (SFL) and SFL-informed genre pedagogy; critical performative pedagogy (CPP) in multicultural teacher education and K-12 education contexts; and critical discourse analysis (CDA) She has used these approaches as tools to research and challe social inequity in schools. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

From Lesson to Lifestyle: Raising our Kids in a Multicultural World

**Portions of this article was first posted by Managing Editor, Tiffany Malloy, on her blog, Play Eat Grow.**

I recently read a popular book that mentioned how incredibly important it is to travel with your kids around the world in order to expose them to the places, people, and spaces that exist beyond America. When kids see the world, they begin to understand that life isn't just about them, and that there are lot of different ways to live. And while this all sounds really great, it isn't a reality that my husband and I will be traveling the world with 4 little ones in tow. To be honest, that experience at this stage of life would probably be a little bit awful. :)

It did get me thinking, though. How can we help our children to get outside of themselves while staying put? How can we help our children to embrace the multi-cultural world that we live in without always making it a "lesson", but more of a lifestyle? 

1. If possible, choose a childcare or school that is diverse.
Our kids' (public) school is culturally and socioeconomically diverse and we (and they) love it. I think we love it more than them because, to them, it's ordinary. Compared to our experiences growing up, it's radical. It's not unusual for the kids to learn about different traditions, customs, holidays, foods, etc. in their classrooms. While some of it is formally taught, a lot of it just happens because … well, how can it not? In our kids' worlds, it's absolutely normal to spend their whole day learning and playing beside kids from Brazil, Korea, China, India, Nepal, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Turkey. If you have this option, jump into it. 

2. Have some dolls that don't look like your child.
It's normal for children to gravitate towards dolls that look like them. However, consider purchasing some dolls that do not. Our girls have some dolls that look like them- lighter skin, matching hair and eye color, etc. But, we also have some that don't. Some of our favorite doll sets represent various cultures, genders, and disabilities

3. Read widely.
A quick pinterest search can give you hundreds of book selections that are great to learn about various cultures from around our world (and in our cities). It's also important to read books that show differences in abilities, ethnicities, gender issues, etc. In our house, we keep all of our library books in a basket on the floor in our living room, which reminds us to pick up a book and read throughout the day. Have a few minutes before we have to leave? Go pick out a book! About to take a nap? Why not choose a book to read first? Feeling a bit cranky? Cozy up on the couch and read a book or two (it works well for our readers!). I could list some of our favorites, but I think instead I'm going to send you over to the CCBC's list of 50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know. Another fun list of books can be found on the Jane Addams Peace Association website.
The Jane Addams Children's Book Awards are given annually to the children's books published the preceding year that effectively promote the cause of peacesocial justiceworld community, and the equality of the sexes and all races as well as meeting conventional standards for excellence. 
4. Listen, watch and create broadly.
Mix up the music at home. Grab some CDs from the library. Watch videos and songs on Youtube. Free resources abound; make use of them! The key is not to frame this different things as lessons, but simply a natural part of the day.
  • Listen to opera music and pretend to be opera singers.
  • Have kids view a chinese new year parade while they wait for you to make lunch.
  • Grab anything by Putumayo and listen while the kids play in the bath.
  • Watch Disney's It's a Small World after nap time. 
  • Ever heard of a didgeridoo? Youtube it!
  • Visit on a regular basis to find art projects from different countries to do together.
5. Learn a language.
Whether it be a lot of one or little bits of several, just learn other languages. We teach our kids ASL vocabulary from a young age (we have all of the Signing Time series-- love them!). We expose them to other languages- spanish, chinese, and a few simple words in a few others. Sometimes we watch familiar short movies in spanish or french with english subtitles. The value of this is to help them realize that English is just one of many languages spoken in the United States, and that it is out of love that we learn other languages so that we can talk to people from all over the world! "Why should everyone learn English? Why can't we learn their language?!" The public library has CDs, DVDS, books, etc. that help kids learn lots of different languages, so don't feel like you need to buy anything to start this!

5. Complicate things.
Challenge stereotypes. Ask questions. Point out situations where things are not status quo. Introduce your children to people who have changed the world in regards to civil rights, unjust laws, gender barriers, etc. Once a child hits a certain age, challenging their thoughts on race is helpful-- emphasize that we can't always look at someone and know their race or ethnicity, something that our culture loves to do, but a practice that is actually not very helpful at all. Finally, discuss social injustices and dream as a family about what it would look like for every person to be treated fairly, no matter their income, gender, ethnicity, orientation, religion, etc. What needs to happen for that dream to become a reality? What can we do NOW to start making those changes?

While there's a ton more to say (and not say) surrounding this subject, I think these are good places to start. Nothing beats just being real friends with people, people who are similar to and different from us in many many ways. 

What are some of your best practices in raising kids well in a multicultural world? 

Tiffany Malloy is not only Managing Editor for IJME, but also a blogger, freelance writer, book reviewer, safe water advocate, and stay-at-home mom of 4 children- Asante, Aly, Ada, and Anaya. When she's not changing diapers, getting snacks, or (re)organizing the craft closet, she's dreaming up her next blog post or volunteering at her kids' school. Tiffany has a masters degree in Christian Leadership from Asbury Theological Seminary. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Teaching Tolerance: One Project, Many Perspectives

Organization: Teaching Tolerance, a Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center

At Teaching Tolerance (or TT as it is often referred to), we’ve been supporting educators with free anti-bias resources since the program launched in 1991. A project of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), TT was originally envisioned as the prevention department of the Center, a way to reach young people before they became perpetrators in the types of hate crime-related lawsuits SPLC attorneys were litigating at the time. This foundational goal evolved into our mission: “To promote an appreciation for diversity in schools by reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equity for our nation's children.”

After almost a quarter century pursuing this mission, TT has grown into a highly influential voice in the arena of social justice education. In addition to publishing the magazine three times a year, we produce documentary films, offer professional development resources, sponsor school-based events, write best practices guides for administrators and make available hundreds of mission-aligned lessons and activities. As a program, we at TT remain responsive to the changing landscape of public schools and to the leading experts advocating for educational equity.

One of our most ambitious recent endeavors is the development of a literacy-based, K-12, anti-bias curriculum: Perspectives for a Diverse America. Perspectives is free to use and web-based for easy access. It offers users a selection of rich literary, informational, visual and multimedia texts, as well as strategies to help students engage with the texts and tasks to assess student understanding of the texts. The curriculum is flexible, allowing users to combine the texts, tasks and strategies in ways that are most useful and student-responsive. All Perspectives tasks, strategies and texts are aligned to the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and literature. Perspectives is currently being piloted in six states around the country, and will be available to all schools for the 2014-15 school year.

An exciting element of Perspectives for a Diverse America—and one we hope even educators who do not use Perspectives will take advantage of—is the set of standards upon which the curriculum is based: the Teaching Tolerance Anti-bias Framework (ABF). The ABF is a set of anchor standards and learning outcomes, ideal for teachers who embrace both social justice values and backward planning. Divided into four domains—identity, diversity, justice and action—the ABF provides a common language and organizational structure teachers can use to guide curriculum development and to communicate with professional learning communities about anti-bias teaching goals and practices.

The four domains of the ABF allow educators to engage a range of social issues, and it is this range that makes the standards unique among social justice teaching materials. Often, such materials focus on one of two goals: either reducing prejudice or advocating collective action to change inequitable structures. Prejudice reduction seeks to minimize conflict and generally focuses on changing attitudes and behaviors. A collective action approach, however, utilizes conflict to raise consciousness and catalyze action. The ABF supports learning opportunities that encourage both.

Since developing the ABF, we at TT find ourselves thinking more and more about our work in terms of the four domains. We are conscious of whether our interventions exclusively target youth who belong to dominant identity groups, and we make sure our work also builds agency and opportunities for all students to make change. We design materials that allow children to engage with issues that are relevant to their diverse identities, families and communities, and that create opportunities to learn about a wide range of human circumstances and experiences. And, we look for ways to support justice—both through our actions and partnerships and through many of the publications and lessons we share with educators and students.

To learn more about how TT promotes identity, diversity, justice and action in our work, explore these examples of the materials, programs and publications, mapped to the four domains.

Identity: TT offers 24 different lessons mapped to the identity domain. Many of these lessons focus on building positive self-identity and learning how to talk about identity with others. You can access the lessons here.

Diversity: Mix It Up at Lunch Day is a yearly program that encourages students to break out of their cliques and sit with new friends at lunch. Studies have shown that interactions across group lines can help reduce prejudice. When students interact with those who are different from them, biases and misperceptions can fall away.

Justice: TT has done extensive work to help make educators aware of the injustices of the school-to-prison pipeline. We advocate responsive disciplinary measures over zero-tolerance policies, and offer resources to help teachers do the same.

Action: Speak Up at School is our response to educators who have sought our advice for how to respond when someone—a student, a colleague, even a parent—uses biased language or stereotypes in school. This guide is appropriate for adults as well as students, and even comes in a useful pocket version.

Finally, offering free, high-quality resources that address the needs of social justice educators has allowed TT to build a strong network of committed, creative individuals who interact with us through social media, letters, online commentary and monthly polls. We’ve also been fortunate to feature many of these talented voices through our blog. We invite you to visit, browse and get in touch. The TT community can never have too many caring members.

Adrienne van der Valk is writer and associate editor for Teaching Tolerance. She has an extensive background in social work, social science research and journalism. Most recently, she was a lead researcher at the Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC) where she specialized in interventions for student populations traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education. Adrienne holds a bachelor's degree in sociology from Grinnell College and master's degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Oregon. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

What does journal-editorship mean to me?

written by Dr. Heewon Chang, professor of multicultural education and 
organizational leadership at Eastern University

This is the third and last post about my experience as a journal editor. In previous posts, I spoke about how I became a journal editor and why I have stuck with open-access journal editing for over 15 years. Here I will talk about what editorship means to me, focusing on personal rewards and challenges.

Fifteen years is a long time to remain as a journal editor because journal editing is an intense work. So without personal rewards, it is difficult to keep up with it.  I found it most rewarding to watch the journals grow and myself grow with it. Comparing the IJME of today with the EMME of 15+ years ago is like looking at a day and a night. Although there is still much room to grow with the current IJME, the journal has become a recognized journal in the field of multicultural education. It has reached a significant number of readers in the world and has published many strong theoretical and empirical research pieces. Interesting new projects such as this companion blog site and several special issues have been added to the journal. The editorial staff has grown and excellent submissions and reviews have strengthened the quality of the journal. I have been able to build relationship with my royal volunteer editors and reviewers.  It is rewarding to know that the journal provides an excellent venue for worthy projects coming from many parts of the world.  It is pleasing to see scholars and practitioners of the world pursue educational equity issues wherever they are. IJME has been a global conduit of knowledge distribution.

Journal editing is also personally challenging. It is “a lot of” work. This means that my own writing and publishing often had to be put aside in the back burner of my professional life to meet publishing deadlines. Time to time, I have wondered how many more articles and books I could have written during the last 15+ years spent on reading submissions and guiding others to publish.  Also, being a messenger of both good and bad news is personally challenging. Especially knowing that some decisions of decline could directly affect the professional career of authors, I found the responsibility of being a bearer of bad news too heavy to carry some times.  It is also heart breaking to see submissions of great content, made by non-English speakers,  battered by insensitive reviews due to its non-conventional communication styles and expressions. I have struggled with the intellectual hegemony of the English language that privileges English speakers and disadvantages non-English speakers. Through an experiment of publishing a Spanish-English bilingual issue, I with our editorial staff tried to counteract this hegemony. Balancing excellence with equity in our acceptance decision will continue to be a struggle to me and the IJME editorial staff.  Despite all challenges and struggles, rewards still outweigh them, thus I will keep going as Editor-in-Chief for a bit longer!

Heewon Chang, Ph. D., is a professor of multicultural education and organizational leadership at Eastern University in Pennsylvania, USA. After completing a bachelor’s degree in education at Yonsei University in South Korea, she came to the University of Oregon to pursue a Master’s and Ph. D. in educational anthropology under the tutelage of Dr. Harry Wolcott. She founded two open-access scholarly journals and currently serves the International Journal of Multicultural Education ( as Editor-in-Chief.  She has authored/edited three books: Adolescent Life and Ethos: An Ethnography of a US High School (1992), Autoethnography as Method (2008), and Spirituality in Higher Education: Autoethnographies(2011, edited with Drick Boyd). Her research agenda includes qualitative research methods including autoethnography, leadership mentoring, educational equity and justice, multicultural education, and anthropology of education.