About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2113-2122
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain

OBSERVATIONS OF CUBA’S HOLISTIC APPROACH TOWARDS EDUCATION: IMPLICATIONS AND STRATEGIES FOR EDUCATIONAL RENOVATION

L. Schulz1, L. Hirata2

1University of North Texas (UNITED STATES)
2Seattle Pacific Universtiy (UNITED STATES)
Access to education and to a dignified life has been a priority of the social policies of the Cuban government since the Revolution in 1959 (Dominguez, 2007). Cuban youth have full access to education that is public and free, with equal opportunities for all children, regardless of gender, race, the economic situation of the family, religious affiliation, or the region of the country in which they live (Dominguez, 2007).
Howard (2010) notes five characteristics for effective schools for socially and economically diverse populations: (a) visionary leadership; (b) teachers’ effective practice; (c) intensive academic intervention; (d) the explicit acknowledgment of race; and (e) the engagement of parents and community. The process of not acknowledging cultural and racial identity with intent of equity promotes a cultural deficit model strategy (Howard, 2010). Banks (2004) noted dimensions for multiculturalism as being content integration, knowledge construction, equity pedagogy, prejudice reduction, and empowering school culture.
Cuba’s educational framework reflects Cochran-Smith’s (2003) value of research and policy in the processes of teacher preparation, recruitment of mentor teachers, and re-training of new qualitative and quantitative based research curriculums and methodology. Cuba’s culturally responsive pedagogy reflects the five pedagogical standards for transformative teaching (Dalton, 2008) as teachers and student communities engage in joint activities, develop language and literacy competence across lessons, link learned experiences in school to learned experiences at home and within the community, teach critical thinking and critical consciousness, and teach the art of conversation – active listening with outcomes of mutual exchange of knowledge and opinion.
The concepts and practice of culturally responsive education as defined by Gay (2000) and Ladson-Billings (1992) grounds practice in the development of students’ intellectual, social, emotional, and political learning by accessing cultural referents to reveal knowledge, skills, and values. The cultural capital referred to by Bourdieu (1998) is a commodity based on skill, education, and experience to be invested as cultural responsive pedagogy. The nurturing of critical consciousness and commitment to social justice, where students understand the social, historical, and political issues (Howard, 2010) can in turn result in the process of identifying and problem solving inequities and marginalization of groups. This approach seeks to develop classroom climates of emotional warmth, consistent expectations for quality academic performance, time to establish positive relationships with peers, extends relationships for students beyond the classroom, and communication with non-verbal cues, including the kinesthetic feeling of closeness (Schulz, Tiner, Sewell, & Hirata, 2011).
The progression of the Cuban educational system from a “caring state” to a Pedagogy of Tenderness offers pedagogy and practice that lends itself to global aspirations to create meaningful and effective school, family, and community partnerships. The four components of the Cuban educational system are described through example and research. The holistic, multidirectional learning approach and practices shared by Cuban educators is discussed. Additionally, suggestions and resources regarding culturally responsive educational practice and strategies are shared.
@InProceedings{SCHULZ2011OBS,
author = {Schulz, L. and Hirata, L.},
title = {OBSERVATIONS OF CUBA’S HOLISTIC APPROACH TOWARDS EDUCATION: IMPLICATIONS AND STRATEGIES FOR EDUCATIONAL RENOVATION},
series = {4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-3324-4},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {2113-2122}}
TY - CONF
AU - L. Schulz AU - L. Hirata
TI - OBSERVATIONS OF CUBA’S HOLISTIC APPROACH TOWARDS EDUCATION: IMPLICATIONS AND STRATEGIES FOR EDUCATIONAL RENOVATION
SN - 978-84-615-3324-4/2340-1095
PY - 2011
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2011
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2011 Proceedings
SP - 2113
EP - 2122
ER -
L. Schulz, L. Hirata (2011) OBSERVATIONS OF CUBA’S HOLISTIC APPROACH TOWARDS EDUCATION: IMPLICATIONS AND STRATEGIES FOR EDUCATIONAL RENOVATION, ICERI2011 Proceedings, pp. 2113-2122.
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