By: Gloria Landson-BillingsAuthor’s PurposeThe Dreamkeeps by Gloria Ladson-Billings is a continued book about eight differentteachers and how they are examples of good teaching. The author’s purpose wasmeant to inform the audience of what a good teacher consists of, and persuade themto do the same. The idea behind this book is to be a culturally relevant teacher.Culturally relevant teaching is not based on the gender, color, or teaching style that aperson has. For example some of the teachers shown in this book have completelydifferent teaching styles. However, the one thing that they all do have in common, andthe idea that is most stressed in this book, is that culturally relevant teachers work withthe unique strengths that each student brings into the classroom.A Few Key Ideas about the Book from our discussions-We often commented on the excellent ideas for culturally relevant lessons.-Great discussions were had on what we can do in our current placements and thefuture that will incorporate the culture of African American students to counternegative factors and experiences and set them up for success.-A topic that surfaced several times was the possible need for separate schools Ladson-Billings suggested at the beginning of the book. This was countered at the end of thebook by explaining the need for better schools for African American students.How This Book Connects with our Philosophy of TeachingTeaching social studies and social justice issues in a classroom is very important. Thephilosophy we would adopt and keep in mind is that it is important to be a culturallyrelevant teacher. Gloria Ladson-Billings highlights the importance of providingeducational self determination, honoring and respecting student culture and helpingAfrican American students understand the world as it is and prepare them to change itfor the better (152). As a teacher it is my duty to become informed about thecommunity that my African American students are living in. Moreover it is myresponsibility to teach all of my students about African American culture, history andcurrent events. African American children need to know about the current issues thataffect them as minorities. It is important that students are given time to discuss ways thatthey can overcome different societal challenges and be successful in the world. Webelieve that teachers should not ignore African American history or the fact thatAfrican American children have experienced different injustices and inequalitiesthroughout history that they continue to experience on a day to day basis. Instead ofignoring these issues in the classroom, teachers need to take the time out to researchthem, discuss them and reflect upon the changes students would like to see happen.How This Book will Influence our Current/Future PracticesThis book gave us many different examples of cultural relevant teaching that we canadapt and use in our own classrooms. It gave us ideas of how to bring our students’cultures into the classroom to make them more engaged in the activities and feel
represented in the classroom. There were many specific examples of actual lessons thatteachers did which incorporated their students’ cultures, so we can take those ideasand create similar lessons to do in our placements. The book also did a nice joboutlining what culturally relevant teaching is and what it is not, so in our currentplacements, we will be able to identify if our cooperating teacher is teaching in thismanner. If our cooperating teacher does not teach in this way, we can incorporate thistype of teaching when we do teach lessons and when we do our take over.