OCT OEEO

PS_March_2014_OPT

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R E V I E W S 50 Professionally Speaking | March 2014 Teachers at Their Best, Fourfront Editions (a division of Quattro Books), Toronto, 2012, softcover, ISBN 978-1-927443-08-8, 229 pages, $24.95, quattrobooks.ca Teachers at Their Best Enseignants Sous Leur Meilleur Jour BY GINA VALLE This simple book profiles eight teachers who teach really well within our culturally diverse schools. The first half of the book is in English, followed by a French version of the same text — graph- ically illustrating our official Canadian diversity. The teachers are quoted liberally to illustrate various themes. The author then analyzes what they have to say to illuminate why these teachers are so effective. The emphasis is on being open to what students bring to the classroom and to responding positively to their cultural identities without seeing them necessarily as the representatives of their ethnic heritage. Valle shows educators exactly what these teachers do to act as intercultural brokers both within and beyond their classroom walls. Inside their class- rooms, she shows them developing empathy among their students and removing obstacles to success. And inside their staff rooms, she observes them sharing information about how to create a culturally responsive school environment and enhance communication between schools and the home. In the last two sections, Valle examines the changing roles of educators and elucidates how these eight exemplary teachers have become responsive to diversity so they can treat their students equally but not the same. Marguerite Alfred, OCT, is a retired vice-principal with the Toronto DSB. From Discipline to Culturally Responsive Engagement BY LAURA E. PINTO This award-winning researcher and educator presents a unique book designed to guide educators through classroom manage- ment with one key difference — a highlighted approach to diversity and cultural responsiveness. With a clear focus on democ- racy in education, she suggests 45 strategies any educator can use to manage a classroom that is ethnically inclusive and sensitive to pluralism. From Discipline to Culturally Responsive Engagement provides not only a rationale and critical reflection on cultural respon- siveness, but also the nuts and bolts of how to implement strategies to promote inclusiveness in the class- room. The text clearly illustrates the importance of culturally sensitive teaching practices to bridge the gaps between a student's culture at home and that of classrooms and schools. She challenges educators to reflect on the biases inherent in their own backgrounds, as well as to use the wealth of empirical data available to assess their classroom management strategies in light of cultural respon- siveness. In the process, teachers are encouraged to broaden instructional practices that can have an impact on all aspects of classroom life. Irma Berardi, OCT, is currently teaching Grade 5/6 at the Canadian International School in Kunshan, China. From Discipline to Culturally Responsive Engagement: 45 Classroom Management Strategies, Corwin (a Sage company), 2013, Thousand Oaks, CA, ISBN 978-1- 4522-8521-4, 206 pages, US$34.95, corwinpress.com Assessment in Perspective BY CLARE LANDRIGAN AND TAMMY MULLIGAN With careful referencing to some of the top names in the field and with practical examples, the authors confirm their belief that assess- ment cannot be separated from instruction. Six compact chapters follow a consistent format with explicit descriptions of why and how to apply assessment strategies. In the first chapter, we are reminded that assessments help us under- stand how each student learns. The next chapter shows that daily student observations, as formative and informal assessments, are still among the best ways to inform our choices of teaching strategies. Another chapter provides clear and concise descriptions of the available literacy assessments, their purposes and applicable method- ologies. Charts and tables complement the text to make the information readily accessible. An entire chapter is devoted to the importance of triangulating data: using different types of assess- ments at multiple intervals and comparing them side by side in order to identify patterns and/ or inconsistencies in students' learning. Finally, the last chapter illustrates how the student can also become a source of information when viewing the collected data, responding to it with the teacher, and setting new learning goals for him/herself. This key metacognitive piece provides both motivation and meaning to students about their learning progress. This is, without a doubt, one of the most practical texts currently available to empower teachers with strengthened skills and the confidence to effectively use assessments to increase students' literacy success. Christine Johnson, OCT, is a recently retired elementary school principal from the Ottawa-Carleton DSB. Assessment in Perspective: Focusing on the Reader Behind the Numbers, Stenhouse Publishers, Portland, ME, 2013, softcover, ISBN 978-1- 57110-964-4, 140 pages, $29.95, stenhouse.com

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