Electronic Magazine of Multicultural Education

FALL 2000     http://www.eastern.edu/publications/emme    Vol. 2, No. 2

Theme: Cross-Cultural Partnership

| This Issue | Articles | Instructional Ideas | Open Forum | Reviews | Contributors |
| Caruso | Cozza and Mbugua | Hallen | Hansell | Kennett | Lukiv |

[ Literature for Young Readers | Professional Literature | Websites]


Literature for Young Readers

Kipling, Rudyard (1999). Kim. New York: Tor Books. 320 pp., ISBN: 0812565754 (pb), $2.69 (ages 8-12).

One of the particular pleasures of reading Kim is the full range of emotion, knowledge, and experience that Rudyard Kipling gives his complex hero. Kim O'Hara, the orphaned son of an Irish soldier stationed in India, is neither innocent nor victimized. Raised by an opium-addicted half-caste woman since his equally dissolute father's death, the boy has grown up in the streets of Lahore: "Though he was burned black as any native,... Kim was white--a poor white of the very poorest." In the meantime, Kim amuses himself with intrigues.... His peculiar heritage as a white child gone native, combined with his "love of the game for its own sake," makes him uniquely suited for a bigger game. And when, at last, the long-awaited colonel comes along, Kim is recruited as a spy in Britain's struggle to maintain its colonial grip on India. Kipling['s]... portrait of India and its people is remarkably sympathetic. ...There is also Kim's friend and mentor, the Afghani horse trader Mahub Ali, and the gentle Tibetan lama with whom Kim travels along the Grand Trunk Road. The humanity of his characters...raises Kim above the mere ripping good yarn to the level of a timeless classic. (Alix Wilber from Amazon.com)

Konigsburg, E. L. (1998). The View from Saturday. New York: Simon & Schuster. 163 pp., ISBN:
0689817215 (pb), $4.99 (ages 8-12).

This novel "tells the story of a group of sixth-graders chosen by their teacher, Mrs. Olinsky, to be on the Academic Bowl team and is filled with surprises as we learn about each of them and their teacher. Just how were these particular kids chosen for the team? How did they win the Sixth- Grade Academic Bowl contest at Epiphany Middle School? How did they go on to beat the Seventh-Grade Bowl team? And the Eighth- Grade team?"(Amazon.com)

The author has wonderfully depicted real partnership and teamwork among four diverse children and their teacher, who is paraplegic. Any child longing to experience the power and value of belonging to a group will enjoy this book.

Lakin, Pat (1994).  Dad and Me in the Morning. Concept Books. 32 pp., ISBN: 0807514195 (pb), $14.95 (ages 5-8).

While enjoying this story about a young boy and his father who awaken early to go down to the beach to watch the sunrise, the reader begins to realize that the boy is deaf. A wide variety of ways of communicating are revealed as the dad and son sign, gesture, speak, and lip-read.  This book poignantly emphasizes that partnership can exist between large, small, hearing, hearing impaired, and otherwise seemingly incongruent people.

Levine, Gail Carson (1999).  Dave at Night. New York: Harper
Collins Juvenile Books. 281 pp., ISBN: 0060281537 (hc), $12.76 (ages 9-12).

"Gideon the Genius" and "Dave the Daredevil," their father called them: two Jewish boys growing up in 1920s New York, playing stickball and--in Dave's case--getting into trouble. But when their father dies, Dave finds himself separated from his older brother and thrust into the cold halls of the HHB, the Hebrew Home for Boys (which he later dubs the "Hopeless House of Beggars" and the "Hell Hole for Brats," among other things).

Eager to escape the strict rules, constant bullying, and tasteless gruel of the orphanage, the Daredevil hops the wall one night to explore the streets of Harlem. He hears what he thinks is someone--or something?--laughing, but traces the sound to a late-night trumpeter shuffling backward into a wild "rent party." And just as quickly as he'd found himself stuck in the HHB, Dave is immersed in yet another world--the swinging salons and speakeasies of the Harlem Renaissance. Cramped, crazy parties packed with the likes of Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen give Dave refuge from life at the orphanage and awaken his artistic bent. And Dave's new friends, among them a grandfatherly "gonif" ("somebody who fools people out of their money") and a young "colored" heiress who takes a shine to him, help turn things around for him at the HHB. (Amazon.com)

Peterson, Jeanne W. (1984). I Have a Sister--My Sister Is Deaf. New York: HarperCollins Children's Books. 32 pp., ISBN: 0064430596 (pb), $5.95 (ages 4-8).

A young deaf girl's story is told by her older sister. Beautiful drawings depict the girls in a variety of settings, doing everyday activities such as feeding the cat, playing the piano, running and jumping. The older girl explains that her sister can not hear the cat meow, but she can feel her purring when she sits on her lap.  While some may criticize this book for focusing on what the girl cannot, rather than can, do, the differences between what these two sisters can or cannot do simply explain the way the deaf child lives and plays. This book can introduce the notion of "partnership" to young children in a natural way, helping them to understand in a small way what hearing impairment means and giving them a chance to see the positive relationship existing between the two sisters.  This book also gives children a chance to see that communication is not only accomplished orally with words. 

Polacco, Patricia (1998). Chicken Sunday. Paper Star. 32 pp., ISBN:
0698116151 (pb), $6.29 (ages 4-8).

Polacco’s story is true and comes from her own childhood. She, a young Jewish girl, and her two best friends, Winston and Stewart, Baptist African-Americans, work together to earn an Easter hat for the boys' grandmother, Miss Eula, who the author “adopted" her "gramma." They sell Ukrainian Easter eggs at Mr. Kodinski's hat shop to earn the hat. This book includes photographs of the real Miss Eula and her home. This story gives children a real sense of working together in a small business to accomplish a common goal.


Professional Literature

Nelson, P., Nolan, Jr., J., and Scanlon, K. (Eds.) (2000). School and University Partnerships: Issues, Trends, Research, and Best Practices (Monograph No. 2). Harrisburg, PA: The Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators. $8.00.

blank.jpg (5204 bytes) This monograph includes ten articles that report on various types of partnership formed by teacher training programs at colleges/universities in Pennsylvania and their professional development schools.  Professional development schools are basic educational institutions in which education pre-service students gain hands-on experiences in teaching.  Like other partnership efforts, many of the school-university collaborations have undergone a variety of trials and triumphs as they tried to understand each other's culture and to communicate effectively in these "cross-cultural" situations. Many of these articles not only describe how the partnership was brought to existence and has evolved, but also assess whether the collaboration was achieved between truly equal partners. 

Obidah, J. and Teel, K. (2000). Because of the Kids: Facing Racial and Cultural Differences in Schools. New York: Teachers College Press. 129 pp., ISBN: 0807740128 (pb), $19.95.

This excellent book, coauthored by two educators, documents the progress of their collaboration across racial boundaries. Teel, a white female veteran teacher with a fine teaching record, chose with confidence to teach in an inner-city elementary school predominantly populated by African-American students, but she unexpectedly experienced difficulties to manage her classroom.  She invited Obidah, a black female teacher with a reputation as an effective teacher of African-American students, to observe her classroom instruction and to make suggestions for improvement.  

They started this collaborative relationship with different perspectives on the root of the problems.  While they stumbled through their differences--different perspectives on minority students, different racial and cultural assumptions, and different communication styles--they emerge from an initially distrustful relationship to a meaningful friendship.  Both agreed that they persevered through many difficulties and misunderstandings because of their commitment to the well-being of their students.  They attested that inter-racial partnership is not easy but worthwhile to try and stick with it.  Although witnessing their contention may be painful at times, educators should read this book to gain insight into inter-racial collegiality.  This candid story will leave the readers with a realistic picture of challenges in inter-racial partnership, yet this is not a story of despair.  Readers will be encouraged to pursue this weighted proposition of inter-racial partnership because it is absolutely necessary for educators in this demographically changing society.

Perkins, S. and Rice, C. (2000). More Than Equal: Racial Healing for the Sake of the Gospel. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. 284 pp., ISBN: 0830822569 (pb), $14.99.

This book illustrates a great example of an initially turbulent, yet eventually triumphal, inter-racial relationship that two men--a black and a white--have developed over time.  Their inter-racial partnership was initiated in the context of a racially diverse Christian congregation in the South. Both of them came from families that had the tradition of cross-cultural and inter-racial work and they were very committed to the ministry of racial integration and healing.  Yet the beginning of their partnership was marked with struggles to overcome their own racial assumptions and mistrust toward each other's intention.  Through three sequential stages of "admitting" their racist assumptions, "submitting" to each other and God, and "committing" to the cause of racial healing they came to the full fruition of  inter-racial healing.  Although this book was written by Christian authors, the principle of inter-racial healing can be applied to readers of all faiths.  A helpful list of resources and a study guide are included.



A Cross-Cultural E-mail Partnership 

This website includes an entire semester’s worth of subjects and questions for an email penpalship. Students from two different countries are to learn about each other’s way of life and rethink their own conceptions about the other country. Each week there is a new set of questions to ask and new topics to cover. The site also contains plans for writing on the email partnership experience.  This would be useful for a teacher who wishes to incorporate writing into any social studies curriculum.

A Teacher's Guide to Cross-Cultural Internet Videoconferencing

This site provides everything a teacher needs to know in order to plan lessons for international videoconferencing between Chinese and Canadian students. There is a special section for the Canadian school, and a special section for the Chinese school, which is refreshing, given that many websites are written from one culture's point of view only.

Bicultural Training Partnership

This site is for those interested in the Asian communities of the Twin Cities in Minneapolis: "Under the auspices of the Bicultural Training Partnership, a group of leaders, selected by the four cultural communities, are trained to facilitate organizational and cross-organization efforts, and to serve as bridges between their communities and in the Twin Cities larger community. The partnership has helped to educate other leaders and organizations about Hmong, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian cultures and the issues facing newer citizens."  Anyone interested in politics, community education,  and Asian-American communities will be interested in this site.

Cross-Cultural Partnerships at Sitka National Historical Park

This site lists several partnership case studies relating to America’s national park system. One between Southeast Alaska Native American Tlingit clan houses and a Russian Orthodox Church is especially of interest to those interested in the cultures of Native American people, otherwise this site is oriented toward merely reporting some partnerships.

Communicating Multicultural Friends

This website, which is part of an Australian school’s website, describes their international friendship with two other schools, one in Ireland, and one in South Africa. Teachers interested in such a partnership would need to contact the school for further information for this website does not give much information on how to set it up.

International School Partnerships through Technology

Teachers in North Carolina can use this website to explore a program utilizing technology to communicate with students in other countries.  This site is valuable insofar as this type of curriculum will enhance any computer skills training.  It will also spark excitement in students to interconnect with others overseas for the first time.

Network of Alliances Bridging Race and Ethnicity (NABRE)

This website would be helpful for those who want to combat hate, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation. It consists of classroom resources and activities. While articles from the Teaching Tolerance magazine are highlighted, a list of reading materials are recommended. Low-cost resources for educators are available for ordering, and free print resources are provided to individual educators upon request. Students also benefit from the list of recommended websites on peace, multicultural learning, diversity and equity issues.

The International Education Partnership

This site would be helpful to education students who would like to do their student teaching in Asia. Washington State University's College of Education sponsors five programs in Asia: (1) student teaching placements at international schools; (2) on-site administrator certification courses; (3) on-site master's degree programs; (4) international information-sharing and cross-cultural research; and (5) school-to-school program of direct staff development assistance.  Also, the college has a formal partnership agreement with the Nishinomiya District in Japan, the first partnership between an American college of education and a Japanese school district.


Editor: Heewon Chang, Ph. D.
Assistant Editors:
Anna Rose and Francoise Aimée Jean-Louis

E-Mail: emme@eastern.edu

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