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Pay Attention to Cultural Ways of Learning
May 29, 2018
One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin...
-Franklin Thomas (in Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, 1983)

Sandra Heidemann, Beth Menninga and Claire Chang, authors of the book, The Thinking Teacher: A Framework for Intentional Teaching in the Early Childhood Classroom, discuss how important it is to pay attention to the cultures of the children and families in each classroom.

"An intentional teacher explores and values all the cultures children bring with them," they explain. "He understands that unless he does this, he will not be providing optimal learning conditions for all the children…Think about the languages you use in class, the pictures you display, the books you read to the children, and the toys you include. Emphasize both similarities and differences. (For example, all families eat; some families use chopsticks, while others use forks and spoons.)"

The Thinking Teacher:
A Framework for Intentional Teaching
in the Early Childhood Classroom

This essential professional development resource provides advice for early childhood teachers who are navigating demands and changes in their careers, helping them see these challenges as growth opportunities. Through in-depth self-assessment and reflection, educators reexamine their teaching philosophy, integrate new knowledge and strategies into their practice, and strengthen the impact of their teaching on students. In the midst of a constantly changing education landscape, educators will learn to teach with intention and rediscover their unique purpose and passion for teaching young children.


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Comments (2)

Displaying All 2 Comments
Francis Wardle · May 29, 2018
Denver, CO, United States

I really struggle with the phrase, "international teaching" What's "unintentional teaching?" Surely, by definition, teaching is international. I think a much more constructive approach would be to deconstruct the very activity of teaching, and discuss aspects of the behavior that we see as important - in this case responding to children's ecological systems (I do think we need to be very careful with culture as too many people equate race with culture, which is obviously inaccurate). I also think the use of the word "intentional" to justify the recent trend to more teacher-directed activities and approaches, which is a problem.

Arlene DeCicco · May 29, 2018
McKor Shalon Nursery
Cherry Hill, NJ, United States

Very interesting writing in the importance of teaching children respect and a positive attitude for all the differences and their cultures of people throughout the world.

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