I seem to have issues getting my act together to post lately and I blame it entirely on not wanting to do anything but veg out once I get home from work in the evenings. I feel the need to exercise and work on my paper and blogging seems to always fall to the wayside. I feel rested after a nice trip to Cali to see my in-laws for Thanksgiving, so I am back and ready to blog.
Speaking of my paper, some big changes have been going on (both good and bad).
I have been working on my "specialty paper" as the second major milestone in my doctoral program but about 40 pages in, a committee at PSU decided that the specialty paper will no longer be a requirement for doctoral candidates. It's not as if my work has been in vain because the specialty paper functions as the first 2 chapters in the dissertation proposal, so that made me feel a bit better. Rather than having to complete the first two chapters and then present and defend that work before moving onto the next part, I can roll the work over and basically I am now working on my dissertation proposal, which adds a third chapter, the methodology section.
When I started the paper, I was focusing on how the type of reading instruction that is taking place as an outcome of No Child Left Behind (very scripted, using core reading programs etc.) puts culturally and linguistically diverse students as a disadvantage because the content included in the scripted lessons does not necessarily reflect and/or relate to their background knowledge as much as it does with White students. I was arguing the point that a scripted program is an excellent foundation, but that teachers need to have some flexibility to modify or enhance the scripted lessons in order to make reading instruction more culturally relevant. I know that teacher flexibility and expectations for fidelity vary from school to school, district to district, and state to state, but in my district, we are expected to stick to the script.
Now that I am at the stage of actually designing my own research which requires me to come up with my own research question, I am starting to go in another direction. Here is a brief overview of my thinking:
- teachers need to have the flexibility to enhance scripted curricula using culturally responsive instructional strategies
- culturally responsive teaching strategies involve incorporating student voice, texts that reflect students' cultures, and students' funds of knowledge
- teachers' need to be familiar with students' funds of knowledge in order to appropriately modify curricula
- how can teachers familiarize themselves with students funds of knowledge? Research shows that home visits are an extremely effective way for teachers to gain a better understanding of culturally and linguistically diverse students and their families by getting to know the knowledge and strengths that are present in their households
What do teachers think about home visits. In most cases, home visits are not a standard practice in public schools (at least where I work), so why is this the case? Are teachers opposed? Would teachers be willing to conduct home visits?
So, as I think about creating my own study, I am interested in your thoughts.
Are home visits required where you teach?
Have you ever done a home visit?
Would you be willing to do home visits?
Would it depend on whether or not you were paid/given time during the workday/how many homes you had to visit?
Although I am still really interested in the idea of changing practices to better incorporate culturally responsive teaching practices, I feel like investigating funds of knowledge and how teachers go about making the effort to better understand families is a better starting point for my work. I get really caught up in my own thinking though, so I would love some feedback from different educators to make sure I am not leaving out anything major.