About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5062-5067
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain

CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE PEDAGOGY IN THE CULTURALLY HOMOGENOUS CLASSROOM

M. Funes

University of Maine Farmington (UNITED STATES)
This presentation examines the experience, goal/s and outcome/s of teaching so-called diversity courses in a culturally homogenous setting. Beyond the institutional discourse of so many diversity initiatives, I argue for the incorporation of culturally responsive pedagogy in the classroom: how to engage students in a learner-centered classroom to become aware and respectful of cultural and racial differences presented in the age of global immigration and terrorism, and to be mindful of their own role as consumers of images and producers of stereotyping, all while maintaining the academic rigor of a course.

The case study is a course on representations of US Latinos in Film and Television in a rural, culturally homogenous area of the United States (Northern New England). A challenge to culturally responsive pedagogy in this particular demographic is its lack of ethnic diversity. In the absence of this diversity, the instructor must navigate through issues such as varied socioeconomic background, limited exposure to other cultures, races and nationalities, and racism, while at the same time respecting students’ own cultural background. When students are ignorant about the differences of other groups, there is a greater probability of conflicts. In order to promote student achievement in this setting, the strengths that students bring to school need to be identified, nurtured and utilized. In addition, an atmosphere of trust and acceptance of students’ backgrounds results in greater opportunity for student success.

The course incorporates critical theory in the areas of Latino/a Studies, popular culture, film theory and theories of difference. The material is based on cultural production in the American film industry based in Hollywood, California, as a model of dominant representations of difference that has historically relied on narrow formulae of mainstream American preferences in film and television. A historical point of departure was US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy of the 1930s because of its efforts to foster an idealistic pan-American sense of unity that ultimately oversimplified specific national identities into cartoonish stereotypes such as Carmen Miranda. The shortcomings of the Good Neighbor Policy and its legacy in Hollywood led to a discussion on stereotypes and stereotyping in order to show that stereotyping is a natural, human process of categorization about which we are often unaware.

In a general sense, this course sought not only to improve students’ proficiency in film language through discussion of general, technical aspects of film-making and still analysis, but to promote greater critical awareness as cultural readers. The course was concluded with a discussion and analysis of science fiction and fantasy, and Border Theory. Particularly engaging was a discussion of Ridley Scott’s classic science fiction film Bladerunner, which we read as a metaphor for illegal immigration and border patrol. Ultimately, I show that courses such as this can be a productive and fruitful exercise in theories and mass representations of difference. Furthermore, instead of developing a sense of injustice at Hollywood’s participation in generating images of difference for mass consumption, students can become aware of both their own participation as consumers of images, of their critical ability to deconstruct and read these images, and thus become active participants and in their own learning.
@InProceedings{FUNES2010CUL,
author = {Funes, M.},
title = {CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE PEDAGOGY IN THE CULTURALLY HOMOGENOUS CLASSROOM},
series = {2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN10 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-9386-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {5-7 July, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {5062-5067}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Funes
TI - CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE PEDAGOGY IN THE CULTURALLY HOMOGENOUS CLASSROOM
SN - 978-84-613-9386-2/2340-1117
PY - 2010
Y1 - 5-7 July, 2010
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN10 Proceedings
SP - 5062
EP - 5067
ER -
M. Funes (2010) CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE PEDAGOGY IN THE CULTURALLY HOMOGENOUS CLASSROOM, EDULEARN10 Proceedings, pp. 5062-5067.
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