The authors in this edited volume reflect on their experiences with culturally relevant pedagogy_as students, as teachers, as researchers_and how these experiences were often at odds with their backgrounds and/or expectations. Each of the authors speaks to the complexity and difficulty in attempting to address students' cultures, create learning experiences with relevance to their lives and experiences, and enact pedagogies that promote academic achievement while honoring students. At the same time, every author shows the clashes and confrontations that can arise between and among students, teachers, parents, administrators, and educational policies.
Lisa Scherff —
Lisa Scherff is currently associate professor of English education at the University of Alabama, where she teaches courses in adolescent literacy/literature, writing, methods of teaching, and teacher effectiveness. Her research focuses on teacher preparation/induction/mentoring and opportunity to learn. Previously, Scherff taught high school English and reading.
Culturally relevant pedagogy: clashes and confrontations, ed. by Lisa Scherff and Karen Spector. Rowman & Littlefield, 2011. 195p bibl index afp; ISBN 9781607094197; ISBN 9781607094203 pbk; ISBN 9781607094210 e-book. Reviewed in 2011nov CHOICE.
Editors Scherff and Spector (both, Univ. of Alabama) and their contributors bring added contextual flavor and rich practical examples to the theoretical underpinnings of culturally relevant pedagogy. Essays composed by academics and practitioners show that such teaching can be both messy and courageous. The essays discuss a wide array of factors such as critical consciousness, identity, bodily images, race, ethnicity, urban education, and formal versus informal learning in chapters such as "Reading Romeo and Juliet and Talking Sex: Critical Ideological Consciousness as Ethical Practice" and "Unpacking the Critical in Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: An Illustration Involving African Americans and Asian Americans." The volume is a handy companion to Gloria Ladson-Billings's The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children (2nd ed., 2009; 1st ed., CH, Jul'95, 32-6346) and Geneva Gay's Culturally Relevant Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice (CH, Jan'11, 48-2812). Scherff and Spector's book contributes more to the practical aspects of the literature than to the theoretical side, but it is surely a welcome supplement.
Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. -- J. L. DeVitis, Old Dominion University