Topic: Educational Theory & Practice (ET)
Hammond, Z. (2015). Culturally responsive teaching & the brain: Promoting authentic engagement and rigor among culturally and linguistically diverse students. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin / Sage.
Summary: How does our environment affect our brain’s development? How do economics and politics figure into this equation? Ms. Hammond helps us navigate diverse classrooms by identifying cultural archetypes, or commanalities among all of our learners. We find ways to work past our bias and deficit thinking, to find what many fixed-minded educators assume to be cultural norms are actually coping mechanisms born out of trauma. Above all, upon learning that the prime directive of the brain is to minimize threats while connecting to our community, we begin to see that, sadly, many of our instituional practices directly undermine the mind’s one, crucial mission.
Evaluation: I have found articles and books about cognition and others about culture, but this work is the first I’ve come across that not only reconciles both, but establishes that the two realms are dependent upon each other. Barely over 100 pages, Ms. Hammond offers us a lean, useable text useful to any professional working with people, not just educators. The book is not just meant to inform, it’s purpose is transform the reader into a culturally responsive practitioner.