Re: [xmca] Culturally relevant curriculum and overall school performance

From: Kevin Rocap (
Date: Sun Jan 28 2007 - 19:39:12 PST

Dear Paul,

While references on culturally relevant curriculum may help, most of
those, to my knowledge, don't provide the best ideas about the practical
processes of developing curricula with community members. Certainly
Luis Moll's work on mining "Funds of Knowledge" within communities would
be relevant. Some steps/ideas I'd think might be important:

(1) Identify and recruit existing Quechua-Spanish speakers as potential
cultural voices and community organizers who are already employed in the
education system as teachers, liaisons and/or paraprofessionals, (if
there are any; I'm not familiar with the educational structures in Peru).

(2) Aside from group 1 above identify and recruit participation of
organic, informal Quechua-Spanish elders, educators and/or community
leaders who could provide leadership in such a project.

(3) One of the most systematic and systemic efforts at developing
indigenous resources, including culturally-responsive educational
standards has been work carried out around Native Alaskan communities.
See and peruse the "Native
Pathways to Knowledge" for ideas. What may be particularly
inspiring/helpful are ways to reframe educational purposes and standards
around Quechua-Spanish cultural values as these standards try to do.

(4) Another organization in the U.S. that has focused on Native
American/American Indian culturally responsive curriculum development is
NITI - the National Indian Telecommunications Institute. I have not
been in touch with her for some time but previously collaborated with
President Karen Buller. She may have good ideas/contacts for your
efforts. She would also know about engaging
communities who may not traditionally trust or engage in the use of
current information/communication technologies in using these for
culturally-responsive curriculum development (again, this may or may not
be relevant for the Peruvian context). Although some of the links on
the NITI site seem to no longer work, there are some examples there.

(5) Here is the link to the extensive educational resources of the
Plazas Comunitarias effort in Mexico: The
resources provide K-20 articulated educational resources and resources
for Adult Literacy, that strives to be culturally-responsive to rural
Mexicans. In addition, the Ministry and others under this initiative
have created resources in several languages of indigenous groups in
Mexico (though these may be print and I don't have links to indigenous
language resources, but can try to find out if there are any).

(6) Several years ago in Boston area I was aware of a Children For
Uniting Nations (CFUN) initiative. The broad strokes of that project
may apply. Teachers and administrators facilitated after/out-of-school
opportunities to work with parents from different ethnic/cultural groups
to create culturally-responsive teaching and learning resources to
support key learning objectives and to provide artifacts, materials,
embedded in activities/processes for sharing cultural knowledge. These
became part of "cultural treasure chests" or "cultural packages" that
teachers could use in school with kids. To avoid trivializing and/or
fetishizing the artifacts, materials and activities the "chests" could
only be "checked out" for use if a teacher had gone through
culturally-sensitizing professional development sessions on the
appropriate use of the "chests". In addition, photos of the process of
creating the "chests" that showed parents and teachers working together
to develop the contents were included in the "chests" along with
documentation of the process.

Anyway, these are a few ideas that pop to mind. There are, of course, a
variety of resources on culturally-responsive teaching and learning
though many of those are already tailored to specific group and/or
community needs and strengths that those resources/approaches were
designed to address.

I'd be interested in your progress Paul and would also be willing to
share any additional relevant resources, ideas or contacts.

In Peace,

Paul Dillon wrote:
> Thanks Ignacio. I hope it really gets of the ground since it involves a lot of different institutions and that can sometimes really put a spaniard in the works.
> Paul
> ignacio dalton <> wrote:
> hi Paul!
> i can help with some references and count on me to promote this project! Sounds great!
> Ignacio Dalton
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Paul Dillon
> To:
> Sent: Sunday, January 28, 2007 4:38:33 PM
> Subject: [xmca] Culturally relevant curriculum and overall school performance
> Recently I was asked to help develop curriculum to enhance "regional identity" here in the central Peruvian highlands. The idea is that the local Quechua-Spanish culture has for years (centuries really) been the subject of derision and cultural exclusion within the national cultural framework, and correspondingly the educational system, should be in fact strengthened. This initiative comes out of some recent decentralization measures within the Peruvian national education code that allow 30% of the primary and secondary school curriculum to be developed by decentralized local and regional education offices, on one hand, and the efforts of NGOs working in the area.
> I am looking for anything that has been done on this. I remember a session I attended at the 1999? Montreal AERA meetings in which some wonderful work was presented concerning the implementation of culturally relevant reading materials in predominantly Chicano/Mexican American schools in the U.S. Southwest (Arizona?). The stories in the readers were drawn from the traditions of the Chicano/Mexican-American people whose kids were in the schools and the improved outcomes in composition and comprehension were presented. But I don't remember any names except that it was part of a session in which the "Aula Magica" experience was also discussed.
> Can any of you who are knowledgeable in this area of culturally relevant curriculum direct me to some good sources, hopefully on line?
> Thanks,
> Paul Dilln
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