Zeichner (1992) has summarized the extensive literature that describes successful teaching approaches for diverse populations. From his review, he distilled 12 key elements for effective teaching for ethnic- and language-minority students.

  1. Teachers have a clear sense of their own ethnic and cultural identities.
  2. Teachers communicate high expectations for the success of all students and a belief that all students can succeed.
  3. Teachers are personally committed to achieving equity for all students and believe that they are capable of making a difference in their students’ learning.
  4. Teachers have developed a bond with their students and cease seeing their students as “the other.”
  5. Schools provide an academically challenging curriculum that includes attention to the development of higher-level cognitive skills.
  6. Instruction focuses on students’ creation of meaning about content in an interactive and collaborative learning environment.
  7. Teachers help students see learning tasks as meaningful.
  8. Curricula include the contributions and perspectives of the different ethnocultural groups that compose the society.
  9. Teachers provide a “scaffolding” that links the academically challenging curriculum to the cultural resources that students bring to school.
  10. Teachers explicitly teach students the culture of the school and seek to maintain students’ sense of ethnocultural pride and identity.
  11. Community members and parents or guardians are encouraged to become involved in students’ education and are given a significant voice in making important school decisions related to programs (such as resources and staffing).
  12. Teachers are involved in political struggles outside the classroom that are aimed at achieving a more just and humane society.


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