Participant: PROMISE AGEP Research Symposium
Department: Teaching, Learning, Policy, and Leadership/Language, Literacy, and Social Inquiry
Institution: University of Maryland College Park (UMD)
Perspectives Kids Offer the World and How Teachers Respond: Exploring How Secondary Literacy Teachers Use Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Respond to Students’ Multiliteracies
Much of the scholarly literature surrounding Black students’ use of their multiliteracies and language practices in the classroom describes its history of neglect by teachers and schools (Brown, 2013; Delpit, 1986; Ladson-Billings, 1995; Nieto, 2013; Tatum & Muhamad, 2012). However, not only do scholars (The New London Group, 1996) argue that increasing cultural and linguistic diversity in today’s world calls for a broader view of literacy than had previously been considered, but they have also found that acknowledgement of multiliteracies and language differences through culturally relevant pedagogy can increase both reading achievement and engagement (Brown, 2013; Delpit, 1986; Ladson-Billings, 1995; Nieto, 2013; Tatum & Muhamad, 2012). Though much has been done in the realm of theoretical work around culturally relevant pedagogy, there has been little empirical research conducted examining exactly how teachers use culturally relevant pedagogy to respond to their students through the use of curriculum and instruction generally, or Black students’ specifically. In response to this gap in the literature, this project seeks to answer the following question: How do teachers use culturally relevant pedagogy to respond to Black students’ multiliteracies and language practices in secondary literacy classrooms? Upon analyzing data collected through interviews and classroom observations, I found that secondary literacy teachers respond to Black students’ multiliteracies by employing their knowledge of students’ cultural literacy practices and utilizing writing instruction as a liberating pedagogical tool.
 I use the term “culturally relevant” rather than “culturally sustaining” (Django, 2012) to pay homage to the genesis of this theoretical framework and to discuss it in its purest form. Although scholars have since built on the idea, for the purposes of this paper, I will focus on the original conception of culturally relevant pedagogy.
Autumn is a first year doctoral student at The University of Maryland – College Park in the Teaching, Learning, Policy and Leadership Program. She holds two Bachelor’s Degrees from The Pennsylvania State University – University Park in English and African/African American Studies and a Masters in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. Autumn has served as a middle school English Language Arts Educator, a literacy specialist, and an interim developer. Upon graduating from the University of Maryland, Autumn plans to pursue a career as a faculty member where she hopes to continue to her work around literacy and culturally relevant pedagogy.
GENERAL SUMMARY OF GRADUATE RESEARCH
Generally, Autumn’s research interests revolve around culturally relevant pedagogy. Throughout her time at Maryland she hopes to conduct research that helps her to understand how teachers incorporate students’ cultural literacy into curriculum and the ways in which valuing students’ cultural literacy contributes to their overall literacy development. Autumn also hopes to explore the literacy practices of Black girls and the ways in which they affect identity development.
SELECTED LIST OF PRESENTATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS
- Griffin, K. A., Eury J.L., Gaffney, M.E., York, J., Bennett, J., Cunningham, E., Griffin, A. (2015). Digging Deeper: Exploring the Relationship Between Mentoring, Developmental Interactions, and Student Agency. 2015 New Directions for Higher Education.
- Griffin, K., Del Pilar, W., McIntosh, K., Griffin, A. (2012). “Oh, of course I’m going to go to college”: Understanding the Role and Manifestation of Habitus in the College Choice Process of Black Immigrant College Students. 2012 Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.
- Griffin, A., Griffin, K. (2010). “For me, it was just routine”: Exploring Factors Related to Post Secondary Aspirations for African Immigrants. 2010 McNair Scholar Journal, The Pennsylvania State University.
- April 2011 Brown Bag Series (University Park, PA) “For me, it was just routine:” Exploring Factors Related to Post Secondary Aspirations for African Immigrants.
- March 2011 Undergraduate Research Exhibition (University Park, PA) “For me, it was just routine:” Exploring Factors Related to Post Secondary Aspirations for African Immigrants.
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