Care and Working Together: A Case Study of a School where Spanish-speaking English Language Learners Succeed.
Abstract: This case study examines the proposition that caring teachers and
culturally-relevant pedagogy can have an impact on the positive academic outcomes of
Spanish-speaking English Language Learners (SPELLs). For this purpose, an urban school
where SPELLs achieved higher educational outcomes than similar children in similar district
schools was studied using an interpretive, phenomenological ... read moreframework. Findings confirmed
extant literature that caring is entwined with culturally-relevant practice. Findings also
showed that caring and culturally-savvy administrators held strength-based conceptions of
students' differences, and made programmatic and policy choices designed to address all
students' learning needs. Administrators also used "working together" as an educational
strategy aimed at both students and teachers. Working together had many of the
characteristics of joint activity (Cole, 1996, Gallimore & Goldenberg, 2001, Rogoff,
2003). Students, especially those at risk, worked together with expert adults in small
support groups, and had access to adult mentors. Teachers, in turn, were involved in joint
activities with administrators and coaches who guided their professional development. The
study suggests that joint activity between experts and novices was a mechanism linking
caring and cultural relevance to positive student outcomes, as well as to changes in school
culture. Theoretical and practical implications for school reform are
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2012.
Submitted to the Dept. of Child Development.
Advisors: Calvin Gidney, and Jayanthi Mistry.
Committee: Jayanthi Mistry, Miren Uriarte, and Eleonora Villegas-Reimers.
Keywords: Bilingual education, Teacher education, and Hispanic American studies.read less