Learning Assistance Often Ignores Impact of Culture on Learning of Students

Too often learning assistance and developmental education conferences and publications treat the issue of cultural and ethnic diversity as only an issue of demographics and not of pedagogy. Decades ago it was believed that sensitivity in this area was observing and honoring cultural events and including people of various cultures in class materials. This was a good start after that the previous focus only on dominant culture examples.The next step is required in learning assistance, teach multiculturally. WHile this has been widely adopted in education, the learning assistance community is far behind. Following is a good reader to illustrate practical ways to meaningfully engage students of different cultures in the classroom, honor their expertise, and make the classroom a richer and more productive environment for students of all cultures and backgrounds.

Higbee, J. L., Lundell, D. B., & Duranczyk, I. M. (Eds.) (2003). Multiculturalism in developmental education. Minneapolis, MN: Center for Research on Developmental Education, General College, University of Minnesota. Retrieved July 4, 2004, from: http://tinyurl.com/2e5wa23

The first three chapters of this monograph provide models for integrating multiculturalism in developmental education. The remaining chapters focus on conversations related to multiculturalism in developmental education, reported by our colleagues in the General College of the University of Minnesota. The work of these authors reflects the General College's efforts to implement its multicultural mission. The following chapters are included in this monograph: The Centrality of Multiculturalism in Developmental Education (Karen L. Miksch, Patrick L. Bruch, Jeanne L. Higbee, Rashné R. Jehangir, and Dana Britt Lundell); Walking the Talk: Using Learning-Centered Strategies to Close Performance Gaps (Donna McKusick and Irving Pressley McPhail); Creating Access Through Universal Instructional Design (Karen S. Kalivoda); Multicultural Legacies for the 21st Century: A Conversation with James A. Banks (Patrick L. Bruch, Jeanne L. Higbee, and Dana Britt Lundell); Is there a Role for Academic Achievement Tests in Multicultural Developmental Education? (Thomas Brothen and Cathrine Wambach); The Triumphs and Tribulations of a Multicultural Concerns Committee (David L. Ghere); MultiCultural Development Center (MCDC): Sharing Diversity (Ghafar A. Lakanwal and Holly Choon Hyang Pettman); Summary Report on the Third National Meeting on Future Directions in Developmental Education: Grants, Research, Diversity, and Multiculturalism (Dana Britt Lundell); Report of the Future Directions Meeting Multicultural Themes Track (Jeanne L. Higbee and Holly Choon Hyang Pettman); and appendices.