Serving Students in Diverse Classrooms
Like all people, adolescent members of racial, linguistic, and socio-economic class minorities are in possession of norms and values from their home cultures that influence how they see and act in the world. Unlike those of members of the racial, linguistic, and class majority groups in America, these norms and values often preclude these students from full participation in the classroom culture. Considering racial, linguistic, and class minority students through the theoretical lenses of Lisa Delpit (“culture of power”), Luis Moll (“funds of knowledge”), and Abraham Maslow (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) can allow teachers to understand better the interactions between these students’ home cultures and the classroom culture and guide teachers in the creation of strategies for overcoming the barriers or gaps to participation that may arise out of these interactions. Considering through each lens three hypothetical student cases that represent typical, not actual, students in the city of Memphis, Tennessee, the author conducts a conceptual study of racial, linguistic, and class minority students and the aforementioned theories, applying each theory systematically to the cases.
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