Understanding Culture and Youth within Educational Institutions: Beyond Cultural Definitions to Cultural Change Contexts Martha Montero-Sieburth, Ed. D. Research Fellow Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies University of Amsterdam email@example.com European Conference on Educational Research A Global Society: Implications for Education and Educational Research Invited Symposium - in cooperation with WERA, World Education Research Association Helsinki, Finland, August 26, 2010 Intent of Presentation Intent is to discuss the role of culture as it relates to youth within educational institutions and what this means in terms of changes taking place in different contexts – Tendency to overemphasize formal schooling over the significance of informal learning which takes place in community settings and among peers – “Essentializing” of the concept of culture rather than “contextualizing” concept Intent Discuss ways in which cultural change has been thought of in the education of immigrant children to explain their academic achievement in schools and how such achievement and culture relates to their ethnic or indigenous group 1. Based on a review of secondary literature research 2. Own research in the analysis of explanatory models used for the academic achievement of Latinos in the U. S., which has been researched extensively for close to 80 years 3. Research conducted in Latin American classrooms where the indigenous is compared to the normative schooling culture Intent Identify the explanations currently being used in Europe for academic achievement which focus on: – Culture versus structure in the social mobility and school attainment of immigrants – Structural analysis of second generation research Using own ethnographic research of Dutch second generation high school youth of Turkish descent in the Netherlands undertaken over a 3 year period. Using research of Latin American immigrants in the Canary Islands, Spain where intercultural education is used as a mediating variable Intent Conclude by identifying implications of such explanatory models for youth within educational institutions – In terms of local cultures and identities Ignoring of youth Suppression of youth – Need to examine the reinvention and extension taking place for youth through the creation of multiple identities in their negotiation of cultural change contexts Reviews of Secondary Literature Initial Review: – Montero-Sieburth, M. and M. C. Batt (2001). An Overview of the Educational Models used to Explain the Academic Achievement of Latino Students: Implications for Research and Policies into the New Millennium. In Robert Slavin and Margarita Calderón (Eds.). Effective Programs for Latino Students. Mahwah, N. J. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp. 331-368. Second Review focused on Reform Efforts: – Montero-Sieburth, M. (2005). Explanatory Models of Latino/a Education During the Reform Movement of the 1980s. In Pedro Pedraza and Melissa Rivera (Eds.). Latino Education: An Agenda for Community Action Research, Mahwah, New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp. 99-153. Third review was on an overview of Latino academic achievement explanations and a critique of these: – Montero-Sieburth, M. (2007). Academic Models: Explaining Achievement. In Lourdes Díaz Soto (Ed.). Praeger Handbook of Latino Education in the United States, Vol. 1, Praeger Publishers, pp. 8-23. Present review of research of a comparative nature of explanatory models used n the U. S. and Europe, particularly the Netherlands and Spain. Educational Explanatory Models Explanations based on social science research which has been conducted to identify and find solutions to deal with the attendant problem of why some students fail while others succeed in schools. Educational institutions are held to be the producers of opportunities for success, yet their underlying assumptions have implicit meanings: – About what success is and who decides what it should look like. – About how such success is tied to culture, with the notion of what culture and whose culture? Educational Explanatory Models Such assumptions operate from the stance of normative cultures (dominant/subordinate, majority/minority): – In U. S., explanations abound about: Why Latino students fail in comparison to their White European counterparts or in relation to other ethnic groups – Failure is a code word and antithesis of success. – Academic achievement in attaining specific scores in testing and completion of grades. Explanatory Models – In the case of youth in Latin America, comparisons are often made in terms of social class differences: – Indigenous youth from rural areas are compared to those in urbanized centers thus failure refers to not measuring up to urban, “civilized” status – Indigenous youth from low socio economic class are often differentiated from middle class through schooling – Indigenous youth are compared on the basis of their social capital, while they often experience discrimination in schooling A culture of exclusion rather than inclusion prevails. Research Focus Research focus for explanations about achievement arise from cross group and within group comparisons: – Analysis of Latinos vis a vis White European counterparts – Latinos in relation to African Americans, Asians, Native Americans – Indigenous youth compared to middle class youth in Mexico, Guatemala, etc. – Latin American immigrant youth compared to native Spaniards and other immigrants Such studies tend to be large scale and longitudinal They also tend to generalize disavowing for unique characteristics that are prevalent, differences from urban marginal experiences, gender, education of parents, etc. Culture Concept Culture is often defined in terms of the normative culture’s value of wealth, knowledge, cultural and social capital. Eric Wolf points out that the culture concept is a product of the age of nationalism. Thus cultural incorporation is about becoming like the majority culture/society and in some countries is about: – Assimilation – Integration Power of Explanatory Models of Academic Achievement Such explanations take on not only epistemological power, of being “truths” identified by social scientists, educators, policy makers Assume the power of paradigms that represent: – Eurocentric perspectives a) Native Dutch interests over non-natives (allochtone versus autoctone) b) Majority Spanish cultural norms over foreigners – Majority Culture power dynamics based on: c) Social Class differences as seen throughout Latin America d) Dominant WASP culture in relation to newcomers and immigrants Culture Concept Hans Vermeulen (2000) alludes to the ways of speaking about culture as “culturalistic” and uses the idea of culturalistic fallacy to refer to: “…those ways of speaking and writing about culture which depict cultures as sharply bounded, homogenous and relatively unchanging entities, transmitted on from generation to generation” (p.2). Culture is often used to explain behavior for which there is no explanation and alludes this to certain groups. In research, we refer to this use of culture as essentializing Attributes within Educational Explanatory Models Measured in the U. S., Latin America, and Europe by competences achieved in: Language Learning: – Standard versus non-standard – Passing of language examinations that are often part of national testing programs – Achieving Language communication for the job market Adaptation of social and cultural behaviors and attitudes – “Un American to speak Spanish in certain contexts” – “Enjoying privileges in the Netherlands requires learning the Dutch way of life” – “If they want to enjoy their livelihoods in Spain, they have to act as Spaniards” – “Love it or leave it” Civic responsibilities – Induced by strong coercive policies, “you must be a responsible citizen” – Characterized by using economic gains for process of democratization Culture Linked to Explanatory Models Explanatory models are historically and socially embedded and are linked to the social and cultural integration and normative cultural reproduction often spurned by policies. In the U. S., identified during these time periods: 1920s: Great wave of immigration (melting pot ideology) 1930s: Nationalistic trends (cultural pluralism) 1940s: War time 1950s: Suburban expansion, “white flight” 1960s: War on Poverty, the Great Society (cultural deprivation) 1970s: New immigration (cultural differences) 1980s: Reform waves (NCLB) 1990s: Neo-liberalistic trends (cultural adaptation to economic structures) 2000s +: Globalization and transnational influences (cultural resilience, multiple identities) Culture Linked to Explanatory Models in Latin America Historically embedded in pre-Colombian, Conquest, and Post-conquest ideologies of social, cultural, and racial class differences for Latin America – Mignolo (2008) attributes much of the post- colonialist thought to capitalism and which serves to devalue the humanity of competitors and those who offer low cost labor. Culture Linked to Explanatory Models – He argues that social class differences were set up during the colonization process of Latin America and persist to the present. Christians Christians/Spaniards Moors Jews Indians Zambos Blacks Analysis of Dutch Explanatory Models for Turkish Youth in Schooling Analysis of secondary data: Research studies conducted by social scientists in the Netherlands over the past twenty years on immigrant youth of second generation and their academic achievement have focused on: motivation, attitudes towards learning (psychological adaptation) ethnic identity, (cultural identity) acculturation patterns, (cultural identity) engagement and tracking trajectories from elementary to secondary and higher education. Culture has been treated in terms of specific ethnic groups but also psychological, and adaptation factors Dutch Analysis Growing numbers of qualitative studies in the Netherlands (Bowen Paulle, Yvonne Leeman) Research regarding attitudes of native Dutch towards Turkish and Moroccan students Meykel Verkuyten (2005) during the past 20 years as well as with his colleagues, Peary Brug (2001), Thijs (2001) has yielded some understanding of the enormity of this issue. They indicate the need to find alternative ways to study history, culture, ideology, power and contexts as well as discourse analyses and social representation theory. Dutch Analysis Research of the second generation in Europe and particularly the Netherlands – One of the most prolific researchers has been Maurice Crul and his associates, TIES Project, comparative analysis of second generation schooling Focus has identified: 1) Access to pre-school, 2) opportunities for Dutch language development, and 3) limited available opportunities for learning within schools, especially segregated schools. Dutch Analysis Own research during past three years in a “zwarte” (Black) high school due to concentration of Turkish and Moroccan students but which is an “elite” school because of its high academic programs and student outcomes in science and mathematics (ecological programs, Roboticus, science fairs, math fairs). Findings: issues of cultural dissonance between cultures of youth and expected academic schooling expectations Dutch Policies towards Educating Working Class and “Minorities” Policies aimed at reducing educational disadvantage of working class students (Driessen, 2002; Rijkschroeff, R. G. ten Dam, J. W. Duyvendak, M. De Gruijeter and T. Pels, 2005). – 1960s: as part of democratic and tolerance process, focus is on working class children – 1970s: arrival of guest workers and changes in reunification laws for families – 1980s: growth of children of 1.5 or 2nd generation in schools, however no official policy towards “immigrants” was warranted (Driessen, forthcoming). Bilingual and intercultural education were promoted. Dutch Policies – 1985: Weight factors applied to ethnic and minority children and used by schools to provide homework assistance, reading, tutoring, etc. – 1990s: Focus on minority children and less so on Dutch working class, support programs (Driessen, forthcoming). – 1994: minorities policy replaced by integration policy towards “active citizenship” with mandatory laws for newcomers to learn Dutch – 2000s+: Evaluation of effectiveness of disadvantage policies and movement towards decentralization, reduction of funding except for parental education – Paul Scheffer’s Multicultural Drama critique – Aim is towards more restrictive practices including stricter separation of church and state and more restrictions on religious freedom Dutch Policies – Present: Focus on what Driessen refers to as shared citizenship, replacing active citizenship, and this requires moving away from focus on differences towards focus on common core values – Onus is on the immigrant taking charge of integrating. Shift in responsibility of the state towards greater decentralization and decision making at the local level Closing of multiculturalism as a failed experiment towards greater accountability Comparison of Educational Explanatory Models Analysis of Latinos Analysis of Dutch- – Cultural deprivation Turkish Students and culture deficit – Cultural disadvantage explanations – Compensatory focus – Cultural differences in schooling, – Voluntary versus remediation involuntary immigrants – Bilingual education – Bilingual education (pillarization idea) model – Intercultural education – Economic explanatory in schools models (social/cultural – Additive resources capital) Comparisons Analysis for Latinos Analysis for Dutch-Turkish – Co-Ethnic Peer – Awareness of Second Communities Generation through dropout analysis Explanation – Extensive research on – Dual Reference Model failure of “minorities” – Academic “At Risk – Structural analysis of Model” how system operates, analysis of tracking, – Success Factor analysis of counselors, – Transnational etc. Adaptation – Models of polarization become evident – Comparative Analysis – Re-ignition of language factors (structural, focus, of bilingual institutional, etc.) education Comparisons Focus on resilience of – Strong emphasis on language skills, students social participation membership in Analysis of funds of associations, community political participation, voting, knowledge cultural participation, Use of H. Trueba’s museum visits theory of mestizaje – Focus on labor insertion as active towards multiple basis of education identities – Culture is “minoritized” Research in Spain Research of high schools conducted in situ in the Canary Islands, Spain show: – Although well intended policies abound regarding the integration of immigrant children via intercultural education, gaps in the professionalization, training, and extension of intercultural experiences are evident Reception programs appear to work but tend to often be the product approach to culture and not the process approach Onus is on cultural mediator Research in Spain Targeting of immigrant children as in need of change, deflects from the purpose of intercultural education to create collective experiences for co- existence of all children in Spanish schools. Geographic concentration of immigrants tends to create so called “ghettos” and an increase in “ghetto schools.” – Intent of intercultural education is lost from its dialogical and interactive purpose and its internalization of the non-differentiation of “foreigners” from Spaniards. Implications of Explanatory Models • Parallels between explanations about failure “as pathological, endemic” • Explanations focus heavily on youth and their community including parents as in need of being changed and compensated for – The U.S.: in terms of ethnic differences based on cultural deficits and race Culture is an issue to be remedied – The Netherlands: based on narrowing gap of economic differences Disadvantages can be surmonted through economic attainment Implications Both cases, the issue of pathways towards academic achievement are varied – In the U.S.= segmented assimilation of upward and downward mobility and structural analysis persists, strong focus on peer culture and segregated schools, teacher normalization of failure – In the Netherlands=schooling is defined through tracking and insertion into programs. Segmented assimilation is considered by Crul and others to be pessimistic. Research explanations are national country analysis based on age of entry in school, pre school, tracking system, decisions made through counselors and stagnation with a longer academic path Implications – Explanations currently are about polarization, with some succeeding within the current system, and with others trailing behind Variations between those in school and those who have left, bifurcated situation, segregated schools (zwarte schools) – Strong structural focus and analysis situating the need for pre school, mentoring programs, coaching, tutoring, community schools, additive resources, etc. – Understanding the length of movement through different tracks for Dutch Turkish students who are Dutch nationals, yet have Turkish backgrounds, speaking and using Dutch is one of the critical obstacles to be overcome Local Culture Issues Identities may be ignored through misunderstanding of youth context – Ignoring of youth – Suppression of youth Cultural codes being applied to youth – U.S. Spanish is a code word for differences that surmount to being a challenge-represents ethnicity and race often related to the us and them – Netherlands: Islam as religion has become a cultural code that is essentialized Aristide Zolberg and Long Litt Woon (1999).Islam is Like Spanish: Cultural Incorporation in Europe and the United States. Politics and society, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 5-38. Need for Re-invention towards Cultural Change Contexts Refocusing on what is meant by the success of youth in and out of schools and what is being labeled as failure, and whose failure it is Detracking of schooling and promoting the advantages of youth over the disadvantages Understanding language stands for much more than linguistic communication, and for the power dynamics it entails Identifying the ways that curriculum is organized Identifying the ways that academic engagement take place Need for Re-invention Focusing on the education of parents and their pre migration standing and working collaboratively with them as partners in education Understanding educational contexts from which 1.5 generation youth come from, and for 2nd generation, their access to pre-school Identifying social, cultural, and linguistic capital resources of these youth and their development Implications Finding the resilience of Dutch Turkish students, immigrant youth in Spain or elsewhere despite the odds they face Acknowledging their adaptive, multiple identities as part of the changing contextual landscapes, they too are changing.
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