New STAAR test begs the question of culturally compatible education 
The Texas Education Agency says the new STAAR assessment test is more rigorous and requires more critical thinking skills than the TAKS. So, improving or even maintaining school and district accountability ratings can be a challenging task. 

If your district is looking for ways to improve its accountability rating, consider addressing a population that often underperforms. That group is students who are influenced by their culture’s oral tradition. 

Mainstream American educational approaches center on writing, independence, competition, and abstract thinking. Yet education in much of the rest of the world, and thus in several American populations, has a different emphasis. Many cultures utilize the learning techniques and tools of orality, explained in the book Orality and Literacy, by widely esteemed European American researcher Walter J. Ong, Ph.D

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A number of highly esteemed African American and Latino researchers (including A. Wade Boykin, Rodolfo J. Cortina, Lisa Delpit, Deborah J. Ford, Juan C. Guerra, Maria Herrera-Sobek, and many more) concur that relationship, eloquence, movement, practicality, emotion, verve, and participation are keys to learning for many students from these cultures. Studies show that underperformers from cultures influenced by orality often excel when their teachers utilize these bridges to learning (for instance, A. Wade Boykin, “Afrocultural Expression,” in Teaching Diverse Populations, 1994).

Last year, the Garland ISD commissioned a series of Socha workshops to address the overrepresentation of African American students receiving Special Ed services. We now have expanded these workshops to address all cultures with oral traditions and all areas of achievement. These affordable culturally compatible education workshops are available to all schools districts.

For more information on how educators can adjust their instruction to reach African American, Latino, American Indian, and other students whose cultures feature significant aspects of orality, click here, or contact us.

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