Why Culture Counts-Teaching Children Of Poverty – Book Review

The book ‘Why Culture Counts: Teaching Children of Poverty’ has broadened most people’s perspectives about education especially me, the book introduces readers to various new concepts as well as strategies for ensuring success to all children in a school environment. The authors therefore argumentatively inform people that education is possible to all. From the book, I, therefore, perceive education to be dependent on many aspects such as the culture of the child, poverty issues and general social background of the child. This new perspective is, therefore, different from the initial one where I believed that education was self-dependent and associated with uniformity in all aspects of the instructional materials and methods.

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The book has many relations to the trend of the future of education. The future of education refers to those educational practices that guarantee future success of better quality of teaching (Peterson, 1968). The authors suggest various approaches to education and their significant roles in enhancing the final quality of teaching. For example, different from the traditional practices that involved teachers teaching their learners uniformly in a classroom using stipulated instructional strategies, the authors exposes us to the need and relevance of assessing the students to establish their educational baselines and future success in the educational fields.

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In chapter three of the book, the authors dwell much on differentiating for economically and culturally diverse learners (Tileston et al., 20080. The authors clarify the role of establishing both the cultural and economic impacts on education. To ensure the future of education, the authors are encouraging teachers to be “turnaround teachers.” According to them, teachers should take it upon themselves to adequately provide conditions in school that ensure success among all the children in a school. Secondly, to ensure the future of education, the authors suggest ways of planning for the needs of all those children living in poverty. These children left unconsidered will miss their educational chances coupled with success, as we know consistent failure among children always leads to their dropouts. The author, therefore, outlines the considerations that help teachers plan for these children.

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Analysis of the current educational processes reveals the ongoing incorporation of special needs education whereby learners’ individual needs get attended to by the special needs teachers. In the leading public universities, special needs teachers are currently trained for the same purpose. The authors’ ideas of modification of instructional strategies, re-teaching of essential vocabulary, contextualization of the content for learner’s particular culture and many more are all elements of special needs education where before teaching a concept, the teacher has to create a condition or an environment conducive for the learner putting considerations of the learners baseline factors like the both cultural and economic educational implications.

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The authors’ perspectives or theories that address the current educational practices are such like their suggestions for the need for differentiating assessment in chapter eight, the differentiating context in chapter five among other chapters. The primary current educational practices that are addressed by the authors include the school counseling programs, the family units and cultural school days. Through these programs, a comprehensive school is created (Villa & Thousand, 2005), insights about issues affecting the child educational progress are pursued by professional teachers in the various schools, especially through the counseling programs.  In the book, especially in the fifth chapter, the authors talk about ‘the inclusion of students’ languages, cultures, and daily experiences into the academic and social context of school’. Most of these aspects are discussed in school counseling programs by teachers with extensive training.

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The teachers show guidance and alternatives that incorporate the learners’ indifferences. During the cultural school days, cultural songs, as well as other practices, are integrated into the social and academic context of the school. Additionally, in the last chapter of their book, the authors dwelt much on ‘bringing it together to build resilience in diverse students’. It implies the different ways the teachers daily strive to associate success with all students despite their particular difficulties and barriers. In the current educational practices, there is also an evidenced profound teachings on most dominant cultures and expectations coupled with evidence-based teaching methods (Moran & Malott, 2004) as suggested by the authors. These lessons are relevant for the learners to know what to anticipate.

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Current educational practices also encompass the differentiation of the content to suit best the individual student. It is the topic of considerable discussion in chapter six of ‘Why Culture Counts: Teaching Children of Poverty’. The authors, primary focus in on the relevance of the available content to the learners both cultural and economic aspects of education. Today, teachers are encouraged to assess the relevancy of the content to the learners’ appropriate age, class, and individual differences. In general, the focus of the theme of the book is to promote equal access to quality education to all children irrespective to their economic or cultural backgrounds.

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