Bridging Cultures Between Home and School
A Guide for Teachers
Routledge – 2001 – 200 pages
Bridging Cultures Between Home and School: A Guide for Teachers is intended to stimulate broad thinking about how to meet the challenges of education in a pluralistic society. It is a powerful resource for in-service and preservice multicultural education and professional development. The Guide presents a framework for understanding differences and conflicts that arise in situations where school culture is more individualistic than the value system of the home. It shares what researchers and teachers of the Bridging Cultures Project have learned from the experimentation of teacher-researchers in their own classrooms of largely immigrant Latino students and explores other research on promoting improved home-school relationships across cultures. The framework leads to specific suggestions for supporting teachers to cross-cultural communication; organization parent-teacher conferences that work; use strategies that increase parent involvement in schooling; increase their skills as researchers; and employ ethnographic techniques to learn about home cultures. Although the research underlying the Bridging Cultures Project and this Guide focuses on immigrant Latino families, since this is the primary population with which the framework was originally used, it is a potent tool for learning about other cultures as well because many face similar discrepancies between their own more collectivistic approaches to childrearing and schooling and the more individualistic approach of the dominant culture.
"The book is optimistic, well written, carefully documented, and studded with appropriate examples and suggestions. Teachers working with immigrant students will find useful cultural theory as well as suggestions for improving the nature of school-to-home communications and for interacting more effectively with parents."
"The book highlights the importance of parents and teachers working in concert to ensure that all students receive a high-quality education. The significant feature of this book is that it offers practical advice for parents and teachers to bridge the cultural divide that diminishes learning opportunities for students. This is a must read for all educators interested in ensuring culturally inclusive schools."
"The example of cooperation in educational research set by the Bridging Culture project is inspiring. The specificity of the book's focus on immigraant family culture is relevant to schools all around the country that are experiencing tremendous growth in numbers of students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. It would not be surprising if the training materials based on this book become widely-used by educators struggling with school improvement issues. The individualistic/collectivistic framework is accessible to teachers and easily applied, and Bridging Cultures Between Home and School has great potential value in the effort to increase school effectiveness by building stronger partnerships between families, students, and their schools."
"…even if you are satisfied with the home-school relationship in your school, Bridging Cultures will challenge you to make it even better. In short, everyone concerned with making public education work with families instead of against them should read this book."
"Bridging Cultures offers an antidote to many of the problems that plague U.S. public schools. But instead of advocating a one-size-fits-all, universalistic reform, such as nationwide standards or standardized testing (both of which they caution against), the authors advocate changing teachers' ways of thinking, one teacher at a time, and how teachers relate to their constituents, one constituent at a time. After all, the authors suggest, education occurs within human relationships. Shouldn't the focus of reform be on those relationships?"
Contents: Preface. The Bridging Cultures Framework. Parent Involvement: Recommended But Not Always Successful. The Cross-Cultural Parent-Teacher Conference. Learning What Works. Teachers as Researchers. Conclusion: The Challenge of Coming Together. Appendix: The Bridging Cultures Project in Brief.