Immigrant students and their families sometimes experience conflict or alienation in U.S. schools owing to differences between the collectivistic values of home (focused on the well-being of the family and group) and the individualistic values of schools (focused on the well-being of individuals) that drive instructional practices and school policies. The research project discussed here explored whether professional development based on cultural theory and research could support experienced teachers in creating culturally responsive classrooms for their primarily Latino immigrant students. Seven experienced, bilingual Spanish–English teachers from Southern California participated in professional development based on theory and research related to the cultural concepts of individualism and collectivism. The professional development approach was nonprescriptive and engaged teachers in collaborative inquiry and problem-solving. As a result of the training, teachers’ proposed solutions to classroom and home–school conflicts shifted from primarily individualistic solutions on pretests to more collectivistic solutions and solutions that integrated both cultural perspectives on posttests. Gains in teachers’ understanding of and respect for both cultures led to a more mutual stance toward parents, altered classroom organization, improved classroom management, and stimulated the use of instructional practices that were more harmonious with the values of their students.
An important policy initiative implemented for the past 40 years in Canada, refugee private sponsorship has attracted international attention as Europe continues to grapple with