Roland Tharp, director of the Center on Meeting the Educational Needs of Diverse Student Populations, a federally funded research center at the University of California at Santa Cruz, has pored over thousands of studies on cross-cultural learning. All of the studies, he says, point to four basic ways educators can enhance learning for students of diverse cultural groups.
- Education should be put in the context of the experiences and values of the students' communities.
- Schools need to be relentless and explicit in teaching students the language of instruction--be it standard English, another language, or the specific vocabulary and rules that are unique to the subject matter being taught.
- Students need to be engaged in joint, productive activities, such as putting out a newspaper, that allow them to work in ways that are culturally familiar.
- Teachers need to engage in more purposeful, two-way conversations with students.