Students in U.S. public schools represent an array of cultural heritages. From students’ cultures emerge different ways of constructing knowledge, making sense of experiences, and learning (Gay, 2000). The majority of teachers, unlike their students, are white, mono-cultural females who lack experience with individuals of other cultures. Student diversity is increasing at a faster rate than teachers of color. As a result there is a cultural mismatch between students and teachers.
This book introduces readers to cultural mismatch and culturally responsive teaching. Two mechanisms for activating change are presented in the “Framework for Overcoming Cultural Mismatch: Roles of Teachers and Administrators” and the “Inclusive Schools Action Plan.” Stirring up a sense of urgency in educators and then guiding school teams on planning and implementation, teachers and school leaders can commit now to equity for all students.
In order to effectively teach all children – regardless of ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, religious, and other differences – practicing and pre-service teachers must be aware of the role a student’s cultural background plays in their readiness to learn and how they learn. In order to develop this awareness, teachers must reflect on his or her own cultural lens and how it informs teaching.
Abigail Fuller is assistant professor of education at Ave Maria University and a former school administrator, special education specialist, and teacher. She has a EdD from the University Florida in school administration and leadership.
Chapter 1 – Nowhere to Hide Part 1: Cultural Mismatch in United States Public Schools
Chapter 2 – Nowhere to Hide Part 2: The Lingering Achievement Gap in U.S. Public Schools
Chapter 3 – The Skinny on Culturally Responsive Teaching
Chapter 4 - More than ABCs & 123s: Embracing Students’ Cultural Diversity
Chapter 5 – Student Voices on Culturally Responsive Teaching: A Case Study
Chapter 6 - The Teacher’s Cultural Autobiography: a Tale of Perception, Belief, & Bias
Chapter 7 – A Perfect Picture of Cultural Mismatch: A Case Study
Chapter 8 – Implications for Practice
Chapter 9 – Conclusion
Overcoming Cultural Mismatch: Reaching and Teaching Diverse Students by Abigail Fuller, Ed. D is a publication that merits elementary pre-service teachers' and classroom teachers' attention as it addresses pertinent issues unfolding in classrooms nationwide. This publication offers insight into creating and exploring a culturally responsive classroom environment. Likewise, this publication is useful for school administrators that may use the content of this publication as the basis of a culturally responsive teaching framework emphasizing multicultural praxis.
This is such an important work! Dr. Fuller’s perspective, as a woman living a bi-cultural life in a bi-racial family, helps the reader process this critical information with increased empathy and mindfulness. We teach people’s children, the most important things in their lives. When we celebrate and honor each and every student, we celebrate and honor their families and their histories.
In 2021, Dr. Fuller's timely publication offers insight into navigating the uncertain pathway to achieving stronger, more valued partnerships between teachers, students, and community members. American school leaders are eager to find ways to build positive relationships with individuals of culturally diverse populations and create learning organizations that choose to honor differences and embrace the difficult conversations that ultimately assist in knowing each other fully. Dr. Fuller emphasizes the notion that when we know our students and we better know ourselves then we can begin the process of serving in a manner that promotes equity and narrows the racial achievement gap. Overcoming Cultural Mismatch: Reaching and Teaching Diverse Children is a must read for administrators and district leadership teams in order to understand the power of enacting frameworks and action plans that move the vital race conversations in a positive direction.
Dr. Fuller has compiled key elements from her research and presentations on culturally responsive pedagogy into one user-friendly guide of interest to all teachers, school leaders, and teacher preparation faculty. In this book she explains foundational issues in multicultural pedagogy, offers practical application for both classroom and school-wide implementation, and helps educators to construct their own cultural portraits in order to “open the door” to culturally responsive teaching. This approach empowers teachers of diverse populations and in turn optimizes and values the rich resources of our learners.
Dr. Abigail Fuller raises important questions in her book Overcoming Cultural Mismatch:
Reaching and Teaching Diverse Students. The book begins a deep dive into the concept of
cultural mismatch and ends with a powerful call to action that engages the reader to use
accompanying tools to increase cultural responsiveness, relevance and engagement in the
classroom. Anyone involved in the development and education of children should pay
attention to this book.