Speaking their language: The role of cultural content integration and heritage language for academic achievement among Latino children

J. Sharif Matthews, Francesca A Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Asset-based pedagogy (ABP) reflects teacher instructional choices that affirm students' ethnicity and culture in the classroom and curriculum. The current study examines two key enactments of ABPs for Latino children, namely cultural content integration and heritage language (Spanish). Utilizing an explanatory sequential mixed methods design, we assess mediation and moderation effects between teacher beliefs (n = 33), their ABPs, and the mathematics achievement of 568 Latino children in grades three through five. Next, we use qualitative interviews to probe teachers' understanding and value of cultural content integration, heritage language, and how these work together in their own instructional practice. The quantitative results reveal that honoring students' heritage language (Spanish) is the mediating element through which cultural content integration predicts mathematics achievement for Latino children. Further, the moderated mediation analysis, cross-validated by the teacher interviews, showed evidence that high teacher expectations alone may not be enough to predict teacher enactment of ABPs. Instead, critical awareness along with high expectations work together to predict enactment of culturally responsive teaching and growth in Latino students' learning. Implications and limitations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • Asset-based instruction
  • Bilingual education
  • Spanish language
  • Teacher beliefs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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