PRISCILLA HELM WALTON
OK. It’s Priscilla Helm Walton, OK, and that’s Priscilla Helm and the Walton, Walton.
I usually do Priscilla H. either one is fine, no preference. (Wind chimes) I’m with the University of California at Santa Cruz as a visiting adjunct professor, and a, a research associate with a, Creed. (There is a lot of bird singing and wind chimes in the background throughout this whole interview.)
Um, in terms of the competencies that teachers need to have, a for the classroom today, a their, their whole range of them that a, and I, I would sort of a, link them into what I would call knowledge domains. And a, the first one is considerable a background in language acquisition: how languages are acquired, how first languages are developed, and second languages. A, very a, good understanding of contrast of analysis, between languages, and um language acquisition and, and, and development. Secondly, that they have good a, a courses in, or, or have competencies that teach them methods for a specifically English language development, a, and helping students access content in English when they’re trans-a-transitioning from the first to the second language. A, and now I’m speaking primarily about teachers that might be a mainly ESL. If they’re going to be bilingual, I think they need that in addition. A, they need um methodology for primary language instruction, specifically for literacy in the first language and academic content in the first language, which then really means that you have to have people who are very skilled linguistically to be able to do those things. And third, culture of the specific language groups that they are addressing, and I, and I don’t want to keep it singular, but actually the cultures of, because I think one of the mistakes we’ve made in the past, in addressing issues of a linguistic and cultural diversity, that we’ve homogenized other cultures and not addressed the variation within all of the different linguistic groups. And that’s a, a very important issue. And I’m going back to the a, to a, teachers who would be working primarily to teach children English, and help them a transition into content areas in English. The other thing they need to be is culturally competent, and have a really a good understanding of the interplay between language and culture, and the historical, social, a economic issues related to specific cultural groups, and again, variations with them. And um, I would wanna add to that also, that because the preparation of teachers is limited in terms of the time that you’re given to prepare them in either preservice education, a, or even in staff development, because time is always competing. Um, that I believe it’s very difficult to make a teacher competent in the range of all of the variations of culture that are out there. And so I think a real central question we have to ask is how we build in teachers the ability to become, in a sense, a researchers in their own classroom, to acquire the cultural data from the students that are in the classroom, a with them, and in a sense, make that classroom the context in which cultures are learned and shared. A, the teacher, as well as the student, I don’t think it’s possible to make a person culturally competent in a, if we, we take California as an example, a hundred and fifty-six languages, it’s not going to happen. So we really need to equip them with good ethnographic skills, good, a teaching skills, um and, and, and good, um acquirers of the knowledge kids themselves bring and use that as the base for creating the classroom and enlarging a, both the students and the teacher at the same time. And that way, as a teacher gets new classes, they continue to enlarge their own repertoire of cultural knowledge, and also the classes that they teach. So I think those six areas are critical.
All right, it is essentially is having the teacher, a-teacher’s researcher in the classroom, and collecting cultural data about the children that are in the classroom. And it, you know, that can be done in, I think, in a variety of ways that you can address themes that have to be covered in the curriculum, but you’re going to focus them on the children. So, you know, in your standard curriculums that move from, you know, your immediate to the larger universe, you begin with the children and their homes, the things that are important. A, you can begin with something simple as a understanding the nature of family, and how it varies by the different children in the classroom. What are the family structures, you know, who are the significant individuals within the families. A, what are the roles and statuses of the individuals, and in that sense, you begin to a broaden the notion that a there are variations in family structures, and a than that varies across culture. And so teachers begin to understand, and that again is just one level, you, you could take into a whole range of other areas, a, a you know, a, how they a, a, how they learn in their cultures, are, are their preferred ways, um, and if so, then how, how can you duplicate them, use them. And in fact, enhance, again, other children’s understanding. I think the value of having a diversity in the classroom is that it really does allow you to pull knowledge that you might not go after in the typical curriculum, and so each child presents the opportunity to do that for the teacher. So they have to look at that child as something they want to understand, a, and, e, e, e, you know, you would use, I mean, the new, the kinds of tools that I, I use now when I want to learn about something is: I listen, I write, I research about them, and a I provide opportunities for the children to also a, you know, give me that information, and a, and, and also take note of it and make it part of my repertoire, because each child can give information, a to me about how it works out in their family. I think one of the things that a, we also have to be very cautious about when dealing cross-cultural a, groups, is that we don’t teach teachers a stereotypes about different groups. And I think that becomes a real danger, and I know that in my own classrooms, the one thing I want teachers to understand is that each child brings to the setting a range of experiences and differences and that we can’t make a too many assumptions a, about quote ‘a group’ because they can vary tremendously. So, a, as you know, in terms of a, just exposure to language that you can have the range of students a from those who have a come from preliterate cultures where they haven’t developed literacy fields in their own language. They’ve never been in schools and a, in a sense, have not been socialized into the institution. Um, they may have come from rural, urban, a they may be poor, middle class, or professional class, and a, and they have their own definitions of their own sense of ethnicity and identity, and who they are, and a, and I think that we need to understand that, rather than impose, some homogenous concept of how to group on any of the children that we have in our classrooms. So, you know, I think, specifically that you, you know, you have a child a, and, and I’ll refer to it back in the past, lets say during the Salvadorian War, who would have come through all kinds of a personal traumas related to the war that was going on. And another child in the classroom who’s emigrated from a rural area a, of Mexico, and a, and has come partly as an economic emigrant. And, and those are two very different experiences. And so we have to get to know what those are, and we can’t get to know what those are unless we get to know each child. And then we can develop a profile for our class, ethnic-graphically. These are the kids in our class, this is what it looks like, this is the culture of my class.
(The chime is talked about and is dismissed as not being a problem.)
I, I think that um, it’s a lot easier for individuals to focus on the issue of language a, because I believe that teachers and, and individuals in general, can a sometimes tend to look at language a and disassociate it from culture, so a it becomes sort of a mechanistic way of saying: well I can work with these children um, if I know what all the right um methods are for teaching them English. And a, I think the more difficult thing is the whole issue of culture, and understanding the complexity of culture. And in particular, teachers own attitudes toward the different cultures. And so, a, a, I mean, in terms of the field, and teachers I’ve worked with, um I think some of the larger issues are their own attitudes and how they want to address a, the children. Because they can teach them English, but a, I’ve seen that done in context of great contempt, (laughs) as well as a in context where you know the teacher really appreciates where the children are a coming from, what the-their family values are, and a, and the, and the, the way that their language is imbedded in a whole way of living, and have an appreciation for that. So, you know, it’s easy to isolate language and look at it mechanistically as something you teach a child, I think the culture part is the far more difficult piece of it. (Chair squeaking)
Well, in the national study we’re trying to (interrupted)
Currently I am a co-principle investigator in a the National Study of a Effective Teacher Preparation for Linguistic and Cultural Diversity. And a, essentially what we’re trying to do, there’s a two levels to this study, and this is part again of the Creed Research Agenda, of a, programs that are effectively preparing teachers a to work with linguistically and culturally diverse students. Particularly at risk students and in urban areas as well. And um, so, we’re looking at the programs with a trying to identify within them, now what are the elements that they have, what’s the content of the curriculum, how it is arranged, what are they cover, what are they give emphasis to a, in, in, in looking at that. And then in conjunction with that, what kind of cultural experiences a, the students have, a what’s the composition of the faculty, where the composition of the students in these programs, and does that have any impact on a the kind of effectiveness the program a has. A, we’re looking at the impact of national and local and state standards on the preparation of teachers. To what extent are these standards part a, of the program, are they designed around them, you know, what real impact do they have in the actual carrying out, because we talk a lot about standards, and a, getting really concrete about how they shape and form programs is something particularly with respect to linguistic and cultural diversities, I think, that we need to know a more about. Well, what kind of field experiences are developed um, and what’s, what’s the sort of structure of the way teachers go through programs. Are they in cohort groups, a, are they in a viewing themselves as learning communities, um, you know. So all of these a pieces, I think, are very important, and what kind of professional development do faculty need in order to work with the teacher preparation programs to ensure that the teachers are well trained. So that’s sort of a nutshell, some of the major research questions that we had. And so we’re collecting data both at a survey level, trying to develop a typology of the kinds of programs that exist and what specifically is done in them. (Static) So we will have this typology with what we’re calling diversity indicators and they’ll include some of the things I’ve just talked about. You know, what, what, what kinds of course work, the kinds of placements in linguistic, culturally and diverse settings, um the kind of recruitment practices, the ki-for both faculty and students, and a and so forth.
I, I believe, the greatest concerns I have about where teacher education is and where it needs to go are, are, are, many. (Laughs) Ok. And, and I wanna start with first: I think one of the major problems, and I see it as a major problem, is that the way that teacher education is evolving currently. Is the focus a still on, what is called, mainstream education? Now I don’t know how it’s gonna vary in all of the other states, but certainly in California, in Texas, in Florida, Arizona, in New Mexico, now when you’re talking about mainstream education and who’s being educated, the mainstream are the diverse students. OK. In California we’re up to nearly sixty percent minority students, forty percent non-English speakers. So if that isn’t central to the discussion of teacher education, I don’t know what is. But, what I see continually occurring at all levels, whether it’s the standards, with the policy makers, um and in a in many, many teacher ed programs is the treatment of a the issues of cultural and linguistic diversity, and the need to train teachers as an add on and periphery agenda. And so it’s a, they still are not central to the discussion, and I think that that’s a very a, a, a very serious problem. Because if, if you, if you read the New York Times (laughs) today and saw the projections a for the next fifteen years, that situation is not gonna change, and in fact it’s gonna become even more complicated and the numbers are going to get higher. And so we really have to begin to a have educators that, in a sense, are setting the broad national policies, and the state policies, begin to seriously see the children a for who they are and as they develop standards um they have to be thinking about them at the same time. And I think a perfect example, you know, for me is, in California, was the whole issue over the debate of the reading standards. And, and we get a set of language arts standards developed for the mo-mainstream students, and then we get another set developed for the English language learners. Now if you look at grades K through 3 in the state, and you look at the percentage of students that are there, across the state, e-over thirty-five percent of the children don’t speak English. So I think this is a real issue, and a, and if you start looking at how they’re distributed statewide, there’s virtually a teacher that is untouched by having English language learners in class. So that’s one issue, and, and that’s only talking about the language issue. If you start dealing with the cultural issue, and the cultural range of students is enormous. So you begin to look at the textbooks that we use, the curriculum, a the school activities, the way the schools are shaped to respond to um the communities in which they’re set, they’re still very much a responding to a population that is actually, rapidly disappearing. (Laughs) And a so I, I, I question the real a efficacy of where some of the movements are going now, if that is not a central theme. An a, an a, an a, as I said it can’t be a side issue, it can’t be a, a special issue, it needs to be integrated and as important as everything else that’s going on in, in the preparation of teachers.
Now um, actually, a, based on some of my own experience of a working with faculty when we instituted a the new standards in California for the, what we call the clad b-clad-b-cleg (?) credential which is the Cross Cultural Language and Academic Development Credential. A, a and if it has a ‘b’ in front of it means bilingual. A one of the greatest a areas of resistance we had were from content teacher who did not see this as their a particular responsibility, and a with some work we were able turn around a people a, in a, in the a, you know, departments of education who held these views by really reminding them if, that the content was basically going to go undeveloped unless they address these issues. Your content is going to be meaningless to students unless you can make it accessible to them. And the classes that they’re teaching will become irrelevant it the children can’t understand them. And so it may be, a, you know, an issue of how much people are willing to change, move out of their comfort zones, but when a period of change, I don’t think any of us are experts in these issues, nobody’s had to deal with the kind of linguistic and cultural diversity that we have right now. And we do have this current um, what are they, ed-th-educational ideology about learning communities and constructivism, and we need to be a part of that and not embarrassed about the fact that we don’t have the answers about all these cultural groups and become to learn the new things that we need to know. Uh, I find it very striking that, uh in our own culture we cannot get children through our school system as mathematicians, scientists, engineers, and we have to import them into our graduate schools um, because they have learned how to speak English uh, somewhere else and come here (laughs) and so, uh that tells me something about what we’re not doing. And if we start providing some really serious um skills to teachers, in language and culture, uh and help children develop the languages that they have, as well as learn English, and help children who only know English learn another language, we would be filling our own graduate schools with competent, content people who have learned in our school systems. We can’t do that right now, we haven’t done it.
Uh, if the schools--- It’s very important for schools to respond to the local community. The school is a social institution, it is imbedded in communities, and the moment that it begins to a, a act different than a community institution, it ceases to be important to it’s clients. And if we want the public to support schools, if we want to have student care about the schools that they’re in, then they have to be located in the nexus of community. And I think it’s one of the things that a in education we haven’t been real good about is understanding the community and how we develop the programs to respond to community needs, an I, an I, an I, I can cer—view, I think a really good example, for instance is: um if you, if you look at a community demography and you see that a school is set in a community that is ninety percent Hispanic, maybe it’s in a zone of transition, recent emigrants, and then you look at who the store keepers are, who the parents are, and you find they’re all speaking a whatever language, could be Spanish, could be Korean. A, and then you look at who’s teaching in the schools and if they brought in teachers who are primarily speaking in the child’s first language. You have to ask yourself: ‘how is this community different from a middle class community and what kind of a program does it need to have children access and have the opportunity to practice English.’ Because they’re going to be playing with their peers on the playground, in their, in, in their primary language, and this isn’t to the, you know, depreciate in any way a, their own language because that needs to be developed and should be maintained. But it does have implications for what kind of an English language development program you provide in the school and how much you give the children. And I think the other piece (static) that we completely forget is that many communities are now almost cultural enclaves. And if you add, not only to the daily social interactions that people have in their own communities, that the influence of the cable networks and the radios, then the amount of actual time children may spend in actual practice of the language is, can be fairly reduced. They may be in a school where they may get an hour of ESL a day. Now you’re not gonna get great competency in that kind of setting. So it seems to me you need to look at what kind of program belongs in that setting, where as if you look at a different kind of community, it, it may look entirely different, if only ten percent of your students are English language learners. And they’re in a middle class neighborhood, mixed in a neighborhoods, their peers also speak English, their, and they’re involved in other activities, a including thi-this stores that they go to. Th, th, one of the a, I think, main aids in, in, in, obtaining language proficiency is the ability to use it in practical and concrete settings, be they social and, you know, carrying out everyday life. That’s why we all go to study abroad programs so we can be immersed in language use. And so schools haven’t really contextualized the programs in the kinds of communities they have to a help the students maintain both their primary language and really master the language of, of the larger macroculture. So that’s real, I think, real critical, um, knowing about the families, a, I, I, I think that a another area is; we make assumptions about parental involvement. A, and we need to know a little bit more about who, who is the person that is likely, in a particular culture, to be involved in the education of the children. It may not correspond to our notion of the nuclear family and the immediate parents. And, and a, and, and the roles and responsibilities and the way that gets distributed in families varies enormously. So we really have to know who’s out there and what those norms and values are, and how we can adjust, adapt the school so that those parents have access, understand the school culture. And so a, knowledge of local communities absolutely critical. Who’s there, what income, what are their needs, what is the language use patterns and so forth.
Today in the New York Times was an article about the changing composition of the a, you know, future students. And by the year 2015 nationally a, white students will make up about sixty-three percent and the remainder will be minority students representing a whole range of cultures. Now that’s just by the, you know, in fifteen years. And um, if you think about the rapidity with the demographic changes have happened in, and use California as an example because it’s good bell weather of what the nation can look like. In 1985 we were just beginning to get an understanding of the dramatic impact, and within fifteen years our population is now sixty percent minority. So that, it may even be a low estimate if you start looking at a any shifts in the emigration rates, increases in them, a, you know, fertility figures within those populations, it could conceivably be more than that. So, the question isn’t really, or the issue isn’t really just localized to California, but I think California provides us with a blueprint for how to begin to think about this nationally. So that we have something in place, and we don’t muddle through as we have for the last thirty years, a in, in the way we’ve tried to implement programs. We have had neither the resources nor the teachers well trained. And again, um, and this is where I’d like to say something a little bit about a, the whole issue of a how bilingual education has been implemented. Because I truly believe that the issue a, or the debates about whether bilingual a education is good or bad, has been pretty much resolved by the research, and that students a do achieve academically over a other students who are not bilingual. So knowing two languages does not harm a students a, at all. But the problem has been that the debate has remained at that level of the abstract discussion and politiation of the issue. And in reality what has been implemented a in most states a are programs that do not have the resources a-or the well designed programs that they should have for students. And examples of that are: districts that yo-cull, pull out ESL program’s bilingual programs. And that’s done regularly by districts, and um, and I find that really, you know, disturbing. Or teacher preparation programs that have preparation for bilingual credentials a who don’t teach academic content in the primary language, or methods in the primary language. A, many of them teach those courses in English, and I think that’s problematic. The whole assumption of bilingual education rests on the components being addressed. That you have people that are competent and skilled in both knowing English for literacy, English for content, primary language for literacy and primary language for content. And we’ve had those pieces missing in California alone, a, and the State Department will tell you this in their more frank moments, (laughs) that probably five percent of the thirty quote percent of programs that are designated bilingual, actually have all the necessary elements. And most of those tend to be the dual language immersion programs. So, we really need to look at implementation. And implementation raises the issue of: we’re going to have to address how we begin to prepare the people that come into teaching to know more than one language. Um, because thus far, we’ve had a shortage of twenty thousand every year in California, and it’ll be that nationally, it’s not going to be different. We haven’t emphasized or valued learning another language in our curriculums. We’ve taken it out a, as a requirements, sometimes required to get into college, um but frequently not to graduate from college. And a, how are you going to equip teachers who don’t have a second language. And so we need to begin thinking about that at much earlier stages, and to really shift and change the whole paradigm of how we’ve viewed the notion of bilingualism and language learning. And we have basically seen it as a deficit model; we’ve basically seen it as something we do for those children who need to be brought into the mainstream. But we haven’t really seen it as a resource that we need to develop them, from them, and a resource that will help us, perhaps, a begin to a help non-speakers of other languages. English only speakers to also become competent in a language, and a, and wouldn’t it be marvelous if we could have high schools that offered classes in chemistry in science and a social studies that could be delivered in a multitude of languages. A, it’s very important, if we’re really serious, about the whole issue of the global economy, and a wanting people to work within this world a of multiple kinds of languages. And if we want to have people who are occupying the positions, both in government, a our ambassadors, a and our people who serve abroad in all those functions, who many times don’t have language skills. That’s a one example. But also in, in, in business and in carrying on a this, quote, global economy. While we’re in a serious disadvantage in terms of the low level of linguistic skills and the lack of appreciation a for those abilities. And we need to develop them as a major resource by saving the resource we have and enlarging it to the rest of, of, of the students.
Well, I, I, think that if you’re really going to get serious about creating a society that, quote, is multicultural, multilingual, and has those broad kinds of skills, then you need to be thinking about it at several, you know, levels, I think, at once. A, one is; working with the children as they come in, in the early stages of, of schooling and maintaining, developing the languages that they have a, and a attempting to also provide language choices for um English students to learn other languages, and make them an integral part of the curriculum. A, a, other countries do it, a, we’re supposed to be terribly advanced, I, you know, fail to understand why we can’t do it except for a real lack of will. I think financially we have the money to do that. But then it also means that we have to start thinking about changing the requirements at the university level. Um and, and reinstituting, in some ways, things that were once part of graduate schools. A, it was not a uncommon, in fact it was more than norm, for people going through a PHDs to have to take exams in two languages. Spend some time knowing another language. That’s, I mean, disappeared almost wholly from our training, a, in advanced higher ed. And I think that’s important, especially in the field of education, OK. So, as, as part of what we ask our own teachers e, e, e, our own faculties, that they begin to become um, skilled as well. I think we also need to look at the opportunities that are inherent in a, many of the study abroad programs that, particularly for teacher education, could be used as a way to um, a-it’s a word in Spanish to capacitate, um the a, the faculty and staff in the U.S. A, by having also exchange, you know, programs with scholars from other countries. Having them come and initially help, you know, develop these content classes, and teach our teachers in those and having faculty go and become proficient in the languages themselves. As well as in, in teacher preparation programs a, sending students to teach abroad and to teach in the content areas and to a, have those cultural immersion experiences. Um, and, a, for instance there’s a very good cultural program that comes out of San Diego State, and it’s what we call the international b-clad program. And, students go down there for the whole year, and they take some of their courses in San Diego, but they’re placed in schools in a Querepero (?) Mexico. And um, they really learn to understand the language, the culture, and to take courses in the language. Now when those teachers come back they’re far more prepared to teach content a, to our students here than ones that don’t have those kinds of experiences. So we have to think of it from what we’re doing in K through 12 um, and a, a, and, and really putting a primary value on language, and then beginning to look at all the spectrum of education, where it needs to occur. And including staff development for teachers who are already in the schools, staff development that focuses, not only on learning and a, second languages, but also to overcome some of the um, attitudes that a, we have a, you know, toward the students and toward other cultures. And, and so I think that’s really critical, you, you can’t talk about a global society with a, a, within a context that has become increasingly ethnocentric and monolingual. And um, unless you plan to a, enforce English as the world language (laughs) you’re gonna, I think, a have some serious issues in every single aspect of a, international domains, whether it’s politics, businesses, and so forth. So we gotta get really serious about that, and invest.
Well, first of all, I think that a, in order to, you know, achieve educational reform in this area, that you really need to be very deliberate and thoughtful about it because it’s been encased in such a heated politics for so long. And a, and so I think, a, at least, a, and I’d like to use the case that we have in California as we develop this particular credential. A, we began to look at what the credentials look like for bilingual teachers, ESL teachers, and a we just found a very incomprehensible system that was causing everybody problems. So we decided we were going to scrap what we had a start all over again. And the first we needed to do was to find out um, you know, what were the competencies that were needed. What do teachers need to know? And in order to do that we brought in a, a constituencies of individuals who could help us a, determine those things. And so we had membership of a, we created a statewide panel, and this was with the, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, which was a separate agency in California. And a, and, and, and in those panels we included members of the different organizations, like the California Association for Bilingual Teachers, a, the a, California Association for Teachers a, of Speakers of Other Languages. A, we brought in the Korean Educators Education, a group, the Filipino Education tha-uh, a Asian Pacific Islander groups. Then we had representatives from the Teacher Unions, we had a, members of the different state agencies that work with education. And a, and representatives from higher ed. as well as practitioners from the school who worked with a, culturally diverse students. And really began the dialog about what we needed. And it was a very tough dialog in the beginning, because, when we started, the bilingual teachers in both universities, and in the um, schools, you know, we’re usually at the trailer at the far end of the campus unattached to anything else that was going on. And ESL was in another place, a usually somehow associated with the other linguistics, or language departments, and, even though, these two a, elements of teacher preparation were both addressing the same child, they had very little dialog, and the politics between them were very heated. And any-within bilingual community a one of the issues that we had was: there was a great deal of resentment among the other different language groups about the dominance of Spanish um, and an inattention to their language issues. And so, we had ESL for all other languages except Spanish, and for Spanish we had bilingual. And these constituencies were as interested in having those programs as well. So we had to bring all these people to the table and begin to negotiate a history of great animosity a, you know, between them, and a hostilities. And that took approximately, I would say, almost two years before we really were able to say; okay, you know, these are the domains and everybody felt they were getting something from it. And so, a, that was critical, and one of the um, strategies that we used, a, and this group developed, it was almost like a family, because we worked together from a, 1989 until 1996. I mean, we met almost every other month, working on this system that we were developing. And part of our strategy was that; each cons-each member that was representing a constituencies responsibility was to go back to them and, and to begin to help people understand what we were doing to get by and, and so forth. So when that when we came up with, a, the credentialing system that we wanted, we would have the support of those con-constituencies and wouldn’t be having to fight these old political battles. Now, I think that, we were very successful, but I think one of the reasons that we were very successful about that is that we did go out into all of those constituencies, brought people along, held hearings, a, went and met with universities, a with districts, and so forth. But a real key issue was, because it wasn’t politicized at a very high level, it was just happening and it was happening, it was going to be four teachers um, who wanted to teach in bilingual area cell classes. So it was not a mandated, legislated credential. OK. And we had a long discussion about this, because everybody felt, given the demographics, that that should have a, that we should bring that to the commission a, and basically recommend that the basic credential for all those (laughing) mainstream teachers also be changed. But, the, the, the a, a, the panel and the group discussed this at length and we felt that politically it was a battle we wouldn’t win, and didn’t wanna fight, so we were gonna keep it the way it was, as a credential, specialized credential. Well, what happened, was that as it went out to the field, the districts were already struggling with the issue, and as they saw what this credential was, they began, at the local level, to say: we are not going to hire a new teachers unless they possess this, because this is what we need. And those people in the trenches know what they need, OK? And so it was largely their a, wholesale adoption of it that I think also a, really influenced the rapidity with the institutions in the state addressed it. A, within five years I, um I mean we had a commitment from a, the CSU system a, you know, back in 1992 that within five years that every campus would have this as a, a basic part of their teacher training. And so, they kind of were among the first um, and then we had the UC’s come on, and the private institutions, the private institutions took a lot longer and, a, and I mean just as, as an incident that I can recount as, as maybe explaining why they also came on board fairly quickly, was a, a, one of their faculty calling about how angry their students were that they’d gone through a basic credential program. Gone out to try to get a job, and their district said: we need people who have these skills and they’re, they’re gonna have preference in hiring. So, they had a lot to deal with. And so I think if you, if you look at it from a, an unmandated, or nonmandated policy, um, it defacto became the credential of choice because by 1995, some sixty-five out of the eighty institutions had developed a, the clad, and we’d increased almost doubled the size of those who had done the b-clad. And again, it’s because we, we united the field, we saw it as a continuum, we, we didn’t feel that EL-a-ESL teachers were a, totally different than bilingual teachers, and in fact they shared some of the same domains, and their strength was in getting together. So, that a, I, I, I, I, I think that was a lot a luck (laughs) because a we did have political issues that evolved afterwards. And those were the teachers who didn’t have the credential and whom, the tea-the districts began moving around or saying, you have to go get this, they were getting close to retirement and they didn’t wanna get it. And a, so there were implications for that, and the union got involved, even though we had a union representative who was involved and discussed this, you know, with us and took it back to the union. And there was also a very large a, disruption within the union itself over these issues, because bilingual teachers were all starting to constitute more and more of the union membership. So, a, they had to work that through. And we did have, unfortunately, some legislation come through that a, I, really watered down the requirements for the already credentialed and employed teachers who had tenure, I think that’s unfortunate. So, and, following that with Un’s initiative, I think this had a tremendous impact from where we were going, which was real by an, I think state wide, and, and really addressing that, and as far as I know we were the first, a state in the whole country that developed this system that allowed for us to address a, what, to begin with, ten languages. Because we developed it in a modular way so that if the core was a language a, a acquisition development in theory, methods, and culture, the bilingual component could be changed and adjusted to language needs. You didn’t have to have multiple programs a, and a, wholesale tests for each group, only parts of them. And modularized so it was cost affective, institutions could run programs and have two or three languages, because there was one core everybody was getting. And so I think it had a real creation of a community of people that were sort of supporting this.
A, you know, if they could learn how to a, avoid the political a, (laughs) you know, pitfall and atmosphere I think it’s really important, because in the end, none of the children a, are gonna be benefited by it. And I think that’s one of the problems that a the public really doesn’t understand is that a great deal of educational policy a, starts out very sound, as ours did, and the basis of expertise and um, and a real knowledge base, you know, based on, on research, and when it gets into the political arena, non-educators a, for a variety of reasons, can change the context of exactly what you’re trying a, to do. So I think, I think um, developing a, um, supporters and advocates within the political system a, is really critical. But I think that they need to be advocates with a broad view, and that we can’t, sort of, break down into tribal groups, talking about addressing the need of this group or that group, but we really have to evolve into a, a, an educational philosophy a, nationally about the importance of language. That everybody can buy into and that can serve all, all children, an, and, and, and, I think that that’s, that’s probably the best way to avoid those pitfalls, because there’s something in it for everybody in the long run. But it’s also gonna be slow, it has to be deliberate, it has to be well funded, and valued.
Well I think, I guess in, in, in many ways, a, the central theme that I would wish is a, an, an, an, and again it’s, it’s one of a, a Creeds pedagogical principles, and that’s, you know, learning in context. And that teachers really need to look at their classrooms and begin to organize them in very different ways than they have in the past. So, today the recitation script is still, no matter how much we talk about constructivism and so forth, if you go into most classrooms a, I think teachers, faculty at universities, are a, a, you know, (laughs) I don’t know if it’s resistant, but a, you know, they really don’t wanna relinquish those old, that’s how they were trained, that’s how they were taught, so they continue to teach in the same ways. And I think it’s, it’s a, we have to really begin to look at a, a, creating very different structures in the classroom. And a, and beginning to group students, to group them around the kinds of a, activities that they can relate to one another with. And learning in context can-activities that they can bring, the kind of knowledge that they have to and create, you, you, you can’t just have, sort of, a general knowledge that um, isn’t devoted to some kind of personal or purposeful sort of activity. So that’s really a, critical. And a, and, and, and, and, begin to deal with concepts of a, that we’re all engaged in teaching and learning situations in which we’re all part of a community of learning’s. And we’re, in many ways, assisting each other to learn new things, and, a, I know we, you know, Roland Tharpe, like, it’s called, the Instructional Conversation, and a, and, and you know, little children who learn from their parents are always it, engaged in activities with the adult assisting the child to learn, whether it’s language, a whatever the activity is, how they need to do it, and so forth. So it really means that the role of the teacher has to change dramatically, and we have to become more facilitators in the classroom. Create environments in which we use the students as the source of our knowledge. And still within the context of what you want them to learn, but relating it to the contexts that are meaningful for them. So that at that’s time we are affirming what the student brings to the classroom, they’re not empty vessels, they come with a lot of knowledge already stored in them to tap into that, draw it out, and, you know, to design the lessons, the objectives. A, to, to use that material in pursuit of those academic activities that we want to happen in the classroom. So I think it means more grouping, I think it means a, principles are gonna have to get used to higher noise levels. A, (laughs) and, and you’re gonna have children working at different rates, a, cooperatively with one another. Children helping one another, a, and, and, and the teacher really becoming also a learner in that classroom as well, and being willing to learn from children.
OK. Now whe-e-a, when, when, when you’re asking the question about risk factors and what teachers can do to mitigate them um, I mean, some of us will a, I think, go back to a, issues that I’ve talked about before (interruption)
OK. I think one of the, one of the things that we need to do to help teachers begin to understand a the, the conditions in which students a, at risk live in, and how they operate. Is maybe even starting with themselves in, in the sense of using a, the teacher and their own peer group and their, an, an, and trying to, essentially get them to understand of the variation of, of the differences and experiences that they have had. And certainly um, a, on, on school staffs you have a, enormous range of experiences, people who’ve come from at risk backgrounds, who can share a, and in many, many cases, teachers themselves who appear to be resistant, have overcome a lot of a, at risk situations themselves. They may not be the same ones we’re identifying with quote ‘cultural and a linguistic diversities’, but they may be other ones. And so an exploration of ones own attitudes and how we’ve reacted and interpreted the world and sharing and creation um, of that within a, a cohort of teachers, I think is really important. Um, you know, a really good example of that is a, there’s a, a good program at a, at a, UCLA and it’s one of the studies in our Creeds study, a, that a, I, I, I think is just pivotal to what they’re doing, is they have a very clear social justice mission, and, they state, you know, up front, that they don’t want teachers, a, they don’t want individuals to come to the program who are not willing to go in to urban linguistically culturally diverse and at risk communities, because that’s their mission they’re going to work in those schools. And, with that, a second criteria is that, in order to begin to understand that diversity, the teaching cohort itself has to reflect some of that. Because the first place that those teachers are going to begin to learn that is with their own peers and with their own learning communities. And so that process begins, you know, in the teacher prep program, the whole issue of recruitment and retention of minorities and their participation in teacher preparation programs is critical, I think, to sensitizing a, non-minority teachers to the issues, the life experiences. It’s really easy to go through a program, have a weeklong immersion, and then go out and treat children. But you really don’t know it very well, so, you know, just the context of, of who you’re going to school with, I think, makes a big difference and, I think, we give a lot of lip service to recruitment issues, a, and we need to do, both at the faculty level, as well as a, the recruitment of people in, it-to in to teach a preparation programs. And so that becomes one a, starting point. I think second to that is, is, is, is, that a, that context becomes a, a the grounds by which one explores ones own attitudes and gets to know something about the other individuals. And it becomes less threatening. I think knowing community, as I’ve indicated before, is, is critical if the teacher really wants to be a, effective and work with at risk students, they need to know what the life of a student is like. So I know a lot of programs now that um, have as one of the early field experiences, shadowing students, finding out what the context of their day is. And, you know, what do they do, what is that context like? What are the a, you know, odds of a, the child being able to even study at, at home. And there are all of these things we don’t know a, I personally in teaching some of my classes at the university was astounded to find out some of my own students were homeless. And, writing their papers in their cars at night with flashlights. Now that makes a big difference in terms of how you treat that student, what you do, and how you can begin to assist them to become successful in school. And that’s at the university level. And we’re dealing with a, students that um are living in a, in, in, in, in the a at risk communities with multiple kinds of social issues and problems. Now we can’t address all the social problems, but I think we need to know how they’re impacting the child’s learning, and there are some things we can do, and by knowing them, you know, the child isn’t getting enough food, a, if a they need clothing, a referring them to the resources, and, and, knowing what resources are available to even help that family. Teacher can’t do everything. And that raises just one other issue, which I think is really important. And I’ll say it (laughs) won’t be very popular, but I think it’s critical, and that is that teachers and the educational profession a, cannot bear the responsibility of America’s schools. And the politicians can’t keep talking about raising standards and the poor quality of teaching and so forth, and not, at the same time, address the issues that cause the at risk populations. We’ve been putting band-aids on these things for years. Those problems are ademic to the social fabric and we need to address the problems of community, health, education, a, a, a, nutrition, and jobs, and a, you know, it we don’t do that in a broad societal way, you know, we educators will only be able to do the band-aids and, a, and I think that we as a profession had the responsibility to begin to react to the imposition of those things. And have to become advocates for those communities.
All right. My own study in Chicago, which was a, a comparison of actually a, a Catholic and a, and a public school in an old neighborhood on the west side that had been um, the recipient of emigrants a, from the early emigrant populations through a, the a, a, students coming in, in the 1970’s. So they’ve gone through from a, Irish to German to Lithuanian, Polish, a, subsequently Puerto Rican and Mexican American and a poor white, African Americans as well, and I was really interested in the role that the school had as what I, at, at the time called as an agent of ethnic adaptation. Uh, and creators of community in neighborhoods a, particularly in neighborhoods that were highly transient and mobile and a, had a, no longer had kind of the stabilizing forces that they had in the earlier days of a, you know, an overlay between the workplace and the school community. People living in the community that they worked. The social organizations, the social services delivered on sight, and so forth. And many neighborhoods in the U.S., the school is literally the only public agency that resides in the neighborhood. So it has an, a really important role as a, as a community institution. And so, I wanted to know, you know, how is it that, that the school creates community, and helps students adapt. And what I found in the study a, and, and it’s very interesting was that, that the parochial school in, in a way, had become the Americanizing institution in the neighborhood, and the public school, because it did have funded bilingual programs, a, in a sense was more into maintaining ethnicity. But it was also beset with a lot of problems and a, a, rivalry between Polish and Spanish, because some were getting resources and others weren’t. I think very similar to the Oakland incident that occurred about language issues with the African American community and, and the bilingual community. So that, you know, that was going on there. What happened in the parochial school was, first of all, they operated on, what I called, a principle of economic scarcity. They didn’t get very much money, therefore they didn’t have bureaucracy, the didn’t have the rules, and of course, structurally they related differently, because each school is autonomous, in it’s a loose federation of a lot of schools. So, a, in order to survive they rely a great deal on parental involvement in the school. And parental involvement in, in many serious ways, from, everything from, um, you know, coming in and helping with the telephones, helping grade papers, a, helping tutor children, and, and a, and so there was much more of a natural climate where the parents saw themselves as part of the institution. And a, and in fact, a, it was largely the women, which I think is also another interesting issue, because the school community, the women who, who might have not known each other outside of the school, created a community as a result of their participation with their school. You have to remember this is highly transient people, are moving on, and there’s a segment that stable with the children. And a, and that was very important in the, in the a local pubic school that wasn’t happening as much because there was rivalry. So the different ethnic groups were not crossing their boundaries in the same way that they were, and a, so in that sense a, I also saw the school being much more a, flexible in terms of cross grade a placement and cross age tutoring, and you had lots of sisters helping their younger a, a, a siblings or brothers um, in their homework, and it was encouraged. And a that made a big difference. A, the children weren’t isolated in this lock step of first, second, and third grade, and, and what I saw quite dramatic was the children were learning English very rapidly at, and they didn’t appear to be losing their language as well. There was a certain respect for the cultures and a, now, you know how generalizable that is to all parochial schools, I don’t know. But I think that the whole issue of the way that they utilized the family resources within this school setting made it possible to address a lot of the issues. A, there were a lot of rules and regulations within the public setting that didn’t allow the same thing to happen and so a, a it was very important creating community in a setting that might have otherwise not have had structure and a place for people to come together. And sometimes that um, sort of coalition of interests, because they were all concerned with their children, a, in effect, one of the interesting things that happened in that study was that the um arch-diocese was closing down parishes, and a they chose that one to a close down, and that particular school. And um, and the parents really united as a political body as a result of the, a, you know, a, formation of relationships that they had within the school setting to, you know, go to plead with the arch-diocese a, to save the school. And so I, I mean I think that we forget the role that school can have as a community institution in a much broader sense and that we ne-maybe need to begin to think of them much more, a, as in, you know, the early days of Chicago and the, the whole house kinds of activities where they not only become centers where the children go to learn, but the parents have a role. A, where, in fact, they, a, the-the a, the school had a, a social services a, office a, attached to it, a, where the archdiocese is, you know, had services available to the mothers. So it was very easy to send them right, all right in the neighborhood. And a, and that’s kind of a little bit of the model of what the old settlement houses were like. And, and, and offered parent classes, and English in the evening as well, so you had much more of a commu-creation of community through that institution. Um, and I, I think that a it’s, it’s a good model that we can learn a lot from it, in that context.
One of the big lessons I learned about educational policy is this very capricious. And like other pos-other policy, a, it’s, it’s kind of like making sausage, sometimes you don’t wanna know what caused a particular outcome. And I think the educators, you know, start with really good intentions a, and the political process itself, a, is part of the problem. And a, and while you want to have representative government, at the same time, a, when a, when, when, policy gets dictated and shaped by an, you know, in many cases individuals who have only a, one particular agenda they want, then it doesn’t serve the public interest. And so I think we really need to look at that inner section, um, I mean, there’s, there’s, there’s always the, the problem of the professionals owning too much of it, and the community not enough. And, and then this third group of people (laughs) out there that I don’t think are responsive to either community. And a, and I think that a, the political processes are a, a very seriously deficient when it comes to educational issues. You know, it’s the year of education for every body a, because that’s what’s going to get them elected. And if it were another kind of issue, that would be the issue and I think most of us are cynical enough to know that, unfortunately, that’s the extent to which these processes have become perverted. And, and, and so, who gets favored in educational policy, a depends on what group has access to what politician is pushing a particular issue. And we need to really look at, at political process to find a way to make it more democratic. So that those larger needs really are addressed and a it doesn’t become like everything else in our political system, the dominance of special interests.
Well, um, I mean one of my soapbox issues really is a, maybe that, that the first one is, is the whole issue of a, our role as educators and the way that we have taken on, frequently, unquestionly, naively, and sometimes to our own detriment, um, patching up the system as it exists. And I really would like to see us become a much stronger force, a, as advocates for children and really starting to make a difference with that. And a, again, that means that we have to begin to demand of the politicians to not put the whole responsibility on the teachers, on the educators. The issues that we’re dealing with are issues a, that are endemic to the communities and the kinds of problems that are, are gonna persist. If we don’t do it any differently we’re gonna be talking about the same issue fifteen years from now, ‘cause we were talking about it thirty years ago. And Johnny couldn’t read in the 1960’s (laughs) and he still can’t read. And so that tells me that something has not been really addressed. And I think it’s partly that larger context. We can educate well, we can have all the best theory in the world, but if we don’t have viable communities in which to carry that out, we’re only gonna touch some of the children and the rest are gonna be lost. So, a, we have to get much more um, courageous about it.
We educate the ones that are gonna make it anyway, largely. Maybe we get a few others that might not have, but a, in terms of the broad spectrum of students, until we address those larger issues, and, you know, education is always the easy field for everybody to be an expert in, and a, and I think that we really need to a, um, you know, form alliances with other a organizations that actually, you know, are concerned about the viability and the lives of the children and people in the communities. And if we’re part of a larger structure that really is attacking these issues in a very comprehensive way, we’ll have some success. Or we’ll have a great deal more success than we have right now. OK. So that’s issue number one. I think the second issue is, you know, the whole issue of a the field of bilingual ed as it’s been defined. I really think we need to look at our own commitment to a, language, language learning, and to truly become, becoming um, you know, the, a, the international kind of population that a matches the kind of influence that we have in the world. A, because in the long run, we’re gonna run out of good will and we don’t have enough people who have enough knowledge about the culture and languages around the world, that are going to serve us. And I think we really need to begin to make that a priority. It’s as important as the other aspects of schooling. Um, lan-language competence, this is as important as math, science, um, and um, reading. And um, we need to start the kids at, at the earliest ages learning a second language and maintaining the richness of the languages that we have. And recognizing that the history of this country really is an immigrant nation, and that we’re all sort of sharing the same space. And a, we’re all important in it, and these histories and trajectories are really important. If, if our, if our students knew, let’s say, as, as much about Latin America, as the know about England and Europe, you know, they’d be much more culturally competent individuals. Or if they knew more about China. We don’t do enough of that, and, and, and, and, um, looking at our curriculum and increasing the kind of cultural competence and linguistic competence will ensure a, a much greater, you know, nation in the long run. Instead of, balkanizing as we have into warring, you know, ethnic groups. Um, we really need to see that broader value as a broader commitment for the total society.
Well, I think that, that the a, the climate in California, I think particularly since ’95, has become increasingly hostile. A lot of it has been fueled by the dramatic changes brought on with immigration and a, and, and a, and frankly, you know, residuals of racism that does exist. And I think that, you know, we’d be naive to say it’s not, you know, there. And we need to deal with it. Um, I think that a, the Un’s initiative was successful because of those things. But I also think that it was successful because society itself is changing, there’s a lot of displacement going on, um (chair sound). Not on-not only within ethnic communities, but also within the white community itself. So, you know the emigration issue becomes a very convenient sort of scapegoat, um, although I think that there are very legitimate issues that one needs to ask about that as well. And that is the capacity of any given state to absorb and a, um, effectively educate and equally educate the students that it has. And we’ve had serious problems in that state, and, as you know, by the lawsuit that’s just been brought (laughingly) by the American Civil Liberties Unions. A, um, we don’t have equal schools; we don’t have resources for them. A, there’s a great deal of inequality. I think that the Un’s initiative, in many ways, forced us to look at what we were doing. And I, I, I, don’t wanna imply that I think it was a good thing, because I don’t, but I think that one: it’s, it’s, it was clearly the case that we couldn’t implement what was necessary to carry out good bilingual education. We had neither the a, commitment of resources, the will and the capacity of, of teachers to do it. So, a, the Un’s initiative itself, with it’s focus on English, and if you really look at the federal legislation, it really, it always has been transition, it has never been really interpreted as maintenance legislation. So, I don’t think we really had the broader a legal support a, even though primary language.
(Kristin, this is where the tape ended. The short tape that came with it was blank)