A CI unit on Liz Cohenís work was developed by Beth Scarloss and Rachel Lotan. The task cards for this unit are included here. Resource cards, not included here, contained pages cut from various types of gardening, kitchen and tool catalogs (at least 2 different catalogs per activity). Several seed packets were included with the gardening activity as well.

 

 

Equitable Classrooms In A Changing Society

Activity 1: Lizís Toolkit

 

 

 

How many of us have been caught in the vise of seeing an educational problem but not having the tools, or skills, to fix it? When it comes to learning and group interaction, Liz Cohenís work has hit the nail on the head. The job we face today is building equitable classrooms in a changing society.

Liz has provided us with a toolkit for addressing this problem. We have the plumb line of her theoretical thinking to keep our own work in line. We have the hammer of her empirical findings to drive our points home. And, we have her (velvet) gloves to assign competence to low status students.

Examine your resources and discuss the following questions:

 

 

1. Share your experiences as a CI "fix-it" person with the rest of the group. What tools do you bring?

2. Based on the excerpt "Equitable Classrooms In A Changing Society," whatís broken and how can you, as a group, fix it?

3. Tool users are as necessary to building educational outcomes as tool makers. How do the interactions among tool users and tool makers contribute to keeping education in good repair?

 

 

 

Take this metaphor and build on it! What has Lizís work contributed to your toolbox for addressing equity? Prepare a toolkit of Lizís contributions to the field and to your own work. Present your toolkit to the whole group.

 

 

 

Equitable Classrooms In A Changing Society

Activity 2: Cooking Up Solutions

 

 

 

 

Liz Cohen has been cooking up solutions to problems in the classroom for many years. Creating and maintaining equitable classrooms in our changing society is the problem currently on the table. Liz has given us lots of ideas for stirring things up. We know about the spice heterogeneity adds to the mix, teachers have a measure for recognizing status problems and can judge when a dash of intervention will dissolve a pound of problems as things get cooking.

We all know Liz would be the first to say she doesnít provide one "recipe for success." But every experienced cook knows the power of good ingredients and specific tools. Examine your resources and discuss the following questions:

 

 

1. Share your experiences as a CI chefs with the rest of the group. What is your favorite or "best" CI dish?

2. Based on the excerpt "Equitable Classrooms In A Changing Society," whatís cooking out there that you, as a group, can best address?

3. Gourmands are as necessary to appetizing educational outcomes as master chefs. What strengths and weaknesses do each contribute to keeping education palatable?

 

 

Take this metaphor and get cooking! Outfit a kitchen for the cook who must serve up an equitable classroom. Include ingredients and any special equipment you think is necessary (Imagine the CI strainer, or CI cake pan...). Make use of dishes you have already mastered as you prepare and present your kitchen masterís guide to the group.

 

 

Equitable Classrooms In A Changing Society

Activity 3: The Jolly Green Giant

 

 

 

Anyone who has been a part of Liz Cohenís work will know about her love of gardening. But how many of us realize how her ideas have grown on us over the years? Nurturing an equitable classrooms into full bloom in a changing society is a challenge today.

Tomatoes (and peppers, and basil, andÖ) are not the only things Liz has harvested and shared with us over the years. She has shown us how to take young, green things and turn them into thriving, productive contributors to what ever field they enter. We have learned from her how to keep six differently mixed plantings blooming simultaneously. We have learned just when to add the rich nutrients of a multiple-ability treatment.

Examine your resources and discuss the following questions:

 

 

1. Share your experiences as a CI gardener with the rest of the group. What is your "green thumb"?

2. Based on the excerpt "Equitable Classrooms In A Changing Society," where is the weed patch, and how can you, as a group, re-seed it for best results?

3. Folks who stop to smell the roses are as necessary to flowering educational outcomes as are master gardeners. What strengths and weaknesses do each contribute to keeping education growing?

 

Take this metaphor and make it grow! Prepare a gardenerís basket of tools and techniques for producing an equitable classroom in todayís society. Present your garden tips and tools to the group.

 

Equitable Classrooms In A Changing Society

Activity 1: Lizís Toolkit

Resource Card 1

 

EQUITABLE CLASSROOMS IN A CHANGING SOCIETY

What is an equitable classroom? Because equity is the bottom line of the interventions described in this volume, one must be clear about the observable features of the goal. In an equitable classroom, teachers and students view each student as capable of learning both basic skills and high-level concepts. All students have equal access to challenging learning materials; the teacher does not deprive certain students of tasks demanding higher-order thinking because they are not ready; classmates do not block access to instructional materials or prevent others from using manipulatives. Even students who cannot read or understand the language of instruction have opportunities to complete activities and to use materials. The interaction among students is "equal-status," that is, all students are active and influential participants and their opinions matter to their fellow students. Finally, the achievement of students does not vary widely between the academically stronger and weaker students. While the more successful students continue to do well, the less successful students are much more closely clustered around the mean achievement of the classroom rather than trailing far out on the failing end of the distribution.

Equity is a matter of degree; classrooms are more or less equitable. According to the definition we have posed, very few classrooms are highly equitable. Moreover, there is considerable concern among educators that classrooms are becoming increasingly inequitable As national educational systems struggle to raise the standards of content coverage and level of difficulty, more students fail because they cannot meet the new standards. Compounding this problem is the fact that the demography of school populations has changed. There are many more students who do not respond to traditional educational methods and to demands for higher levels (as traditionally defined) of academic functioning.

More and more classrooms around the world contain racially, ethnically, and linguistically heterogeneous groups of students. This increase is a function of the growing heterogeneity of school populations. Areas that formerly contained culturally homogeneous middle-class residents have experienced significant in-migrations of economic and political refugees and migrant labor. In addition to these sources of migration, there has been a general increase in the transiency of world populations. Central-city areas have become increasingly polyglot in many countries featuring ethnic enclaves with distinctive languages and cultures.

Migrants from other countries are not the only source of diversity in the United States. Some minority families who have been concentrated in the inner cities are moving to the suburbs. In 1989 10% of students in metropolitan public schools outside of central cities were African-American, up from 6% in 1970 (National Center for Educational Statistics, 1992). Similarly, the percentage of Hispanic students in metropolitan areas outside of central cities went from 4.4% in 1972 to 10.2% in 1989. The fastest rate of growth in child poverty from 1973 to 1992 was in the suburbs, where the rate increased 76.4% (from 7.8 to 13.8%) (Cook & Brown, 1994). As a consequence of these changes, teachers who used to work with homogeneous middle-class populations now work with students from low-income households or from rural areas of other countries.

As a result of immigration, students may not be proficient in the language of instruction or may exhibit marked cultural differences from the majority group. In the United States, linguistic and cultural diversity are the currently preferred terms to describe the heterogeneity of school populations. The newcomers bring strengths and richness to the life of the school, particularly if school personnel know how to capitalize on the multicultural resources that these students represent.

Beyond the social fact of diversity, educators generally fail to face the implications of a hierarchical ranking of groups within the larger social system. School populations come from a larger system of social stratification. Immigrants often occupy places near the bottom of that system of social classes. Certain native-born racial, linguistic, and ethnic groups hold the same low ranks. With few economic or political resources, members of these groups may experience discrimination and exploitation by the dominant groups. Thus, teachers may face more than cultural and linguistic differences. They may face problems of dominance and inequality stemming from the larger society.

From pp. 4 Ė 5 in

Cohen, E. G. 1997. "Equity in heterogeneous classrooms: A challenge for teachers and sociologists." Pp. 3-14 in Working for Equity in Heterogeneous Classrooms, edited by E. G. Cohen and R. A. Lotan. New York: Teachers College Press.

Equitable Classrooms In A Changing Society

Activity 2: Cooking Up Solutions

Resource Card 1

 

EQUITABLE CLASSROOMS IN A CHANGING SOCIETY

What is an equitable classroom? Because equity is the bottom line of the interventions described in this volume, one must be clear about the observable features of the goal. In an equitable classroom, teachers and students view each student as capable of learning both basic skills and high-level concepts. All students have equal access to challenging learning materials; the teacher does not deprive certain students of tasks demanding higher-order thinking because they are not ready; classmates do not block access to instructional materials or prevent others from using manipulatives. Even students who cannot read or understand the language of instruction have opportunities to complete activities and to use materials. The interaction among students is "equal-status," that is, all students are active and influential participants and their opinions matter to their fellow students. Finally, the achievement of students does not vary widely between the academically stronger and weaker students. While the more successful students continue to do well, the less successful students are much more closely clustered around the mean achievement of the classroom rather than trailing far out on the failing end of the distribution.

Equity is a matter of degree; classrooms are more or less equitable. According to the definition we have posed, very few classrooms are highly equitable. Moreover, there is considerable concern among educators that classrooms are becoming increasingly inequitable As national educational systems struggle to raise the standards of content coverage and level of difficulty, more students fail because they cannot meet the new standards. Compounding this problem is the fact that the demography of school populations has changed. There are many more students who do not respond to traditional educational methods and to demands for higher levels (as traditionally defined) of academic functioning.

More and more classrooms around the world contain racially, ethnically, and linguistically heterogeneous groups of students. This increase is a function of the growing heterogeneity of school populations. Areas that formerly contained culturally homogeneous middle-class residents have experienced significant in-migrations of economic and political refugees and migrant labor. In addition to these sources of migration, there has been a general increase in the transiency of world populations. Central-city areas have become increasingly polyglot in many countries featuring ethnic enclaves with distinctive languages and cultures.

Migrants from other countries are not the only source of diversity in the United States. Some minority families who have been concentrated in the inner cities are moving to the suburbs. In 1989 10% of students in metropolitan public schools outside of central cities were African-American, up from 6% in 1970 (National Center for Educational Statistics, 1992). Similarly, the percentage of Hispanic students in metropolitan areas outside of central cities went from 4.4% in 1972 to 10.2% in 1989. The fastest rate of growth in child poverty from 1973 to 1992 was in the suburbs, where the rate increased 76.4% (from 7.8 to 13.8%) (Cook & Brown, 1994). As a consequence of these changes, teachers who used to work with homogeneous middle-class populations now work with students from low-income households or from rural areas of other countries.

As a result of immigration, students may not be proficient in the language of instruction or may exhibit marked cultural differences from the majority group. In the United States, linguistic and cultural diversity are the currently preferred terms to describe the heterogeneity of school populations. The newcomers bring strengths and richness to the life of the school, particularly if school personnel know how to capitalize on the multicultural resources that these students represent.

Beyond the social fact of diversity, educators generally fail to face the implications of a hierarchical ranking of groups within the larger social system. School populations come from a larger system of social stratification. Immigrants often occupy places near the bottom of that system of social classes. Certain native-born racial, linguistic, and ethnic groups hold the same low ranks. With few economic or political resources, members of these groups may experience discrimination and exploitation by the dominant groups. Thus, teachers may face more than cultural and linguistic differences. They may face problems of dominance and inequality stemming from the larger society.

From pp. 4 Ė 5 in

Cohen, E. G. 1997. "Equity in heterogeneous classrooms: A challenge for teachers and sociologists." Pp. 3-14 in Working for Equity in Heterogeneous Classrooms, edited by E. G. Cohen and R. A. Lotan. New York: Teachers College Press.

Equitable Classrooms In A Changing Society

Activity 3: The Jolly Green Giant

Resource Card 1

 

EQUITABLE CLASSROOMS IN A CHANGING SOCIETY

What is an equitable classroom? Because equity is the bottom line of the interventions described in this volume, one must be clear about the observable features of the goal. In an equitable classroom, teachers and students view each student as capable of learning both basic skills and high-level concepts. All students have equal access to challenging learning materials; the teacher does not deprive certain students of tasks demanding higher-order thinking because they are not ready; classmates do not block access to instructional materials or prevent others from using manipulatives. Even students who cannot read or understand the language of instruction have opportunities to complete activities and to use materials. The interaction among students is "equal-status," that is, all students are active and influential participants and their opinions matter to their fellow students. Finally, the achievement of students does not vary widely between the academically stronger and weaker students. While the more successful students continue to do well, the less successful students are much more closely clustered around the mean achievement of the classroom rather than trailing far out on the failing end of the distribution.

Equity is a matter of degree; classrooms are more or less equitable. According to the definition we have posed, very few classrooms are highly equitable. Moreover, there is considerable concern among educators that classrooms are becoming increasingly inequitable As national educational systems struggle to raise the standards of content coverage and level of difficulty, more students fail because they cannot meet the new standards. Compounding this problem is the fact that the demography of school populations has changed. There are many more students who do not respond to traditional educational methods and to demands for higher levels (as traditionally defined) of academic functioning.

More and more classrooms around the world contain racially, ethnically, and linguistically heterogeneous groups of students. This increase is a function of the growing heterogeneity of school populations. Areas that formerly contained culturally homogeneous middle-class residents have experienced significant in-migrations of economic and political refugees and migrant labor. In addition to these sources of migration, there has been a general increase in the transiency of world populations. Central-city areas have become increasingly polyglot in many countries featuring ethnic enclaves with distinctive languages and cultures.

Migrants from other countries are not the only source of diversity in the United States. Some minority families who have been concentrated in the inner cities are moving to the suburbs. In 1989 10% of students in metropolitan public schools outside of central cities were African-American, up from 6% in 1970 (National Center for Educational Statistics, 1992). Similarly, the percentage of Hispanic students in metropolitan areas outside of central cities went from 4.4% in 1972 to 10.2% in 1989. The fastest rate of growth in child poverty from 1973 to 1992 was in the suburbs, where the rate increased 76.4% (from 7.8 to 13.8%) (Cook & Brown, 1994). As a consequence of these changes, teachers who used to work with homogeneous middle-class populations now work with students from low-income households or from rural areas of other countries.

As a result of immigration, students may not be proficient in the language of instruction or may exhibit marked cultural differences from the majority group. In the United States, linguistic and cultural diversity are the currently preferred terms to describe the heterogeneity of school populations. The newcomers bring strengths and richness to the life of the school, particularly if school personnel know how to capitalize on the multicultural resources that these students represent.

Beyond the social fact of diversity, educators generally fail to face the implications of a hierarchical ranking of groups within the larger social system. School populations come from a larger system of social stratification. Immigrants often occupy places near the bottom of that system of social classes. Certain native-born racial, linguistic, and ethnic groups hold the same low ranks. With few economic or political resources, members of these groups may experience discrimination and exploitation by the dominant groups. Thus, teachers may face more than cultural and linguistic differences. They may face problems of dominance and inequality stemming from the larger society.

From pp. 4 Ė 5 in

Cohen, E. G. 1997. "Equity in heterogeneous classrooms: A challenge for teachers and sociologists." Pp. 3-14 in Working for Equity in Heterogeneous Classrooms, edited by E. G. Cohen and R. A. Lotan. New York: Teachers College Press.

 

Equitable Classrooms In A Changing Society

Activity 1: Lizís Toolkit

Resource Card 2

Equitable Classrooms In A Changing Society

Activity 2: Cooking Up Solutions

Resource Card 2

Equitable Classrooms In A Changing Society

Activity 3: The Jolly Green Giant

Resource Card 2

Equitable Classrooms In A Changing Society

Activity 1: Lizís Toolkit

Resource Card 3

Equitable Classrooms In A Changing Society

Activity 2: Cooking Up Solutions

Resource Card 3

Equitable Classrooms In A Changing Society

Activity 3: The Jolly Green Giant

Resource Card 3