Making the implicit explicit: Supporting teachers to bridge cultures

In this paper, we report the results of a longitudinal action research project in which elementary teachers used a cultural framework (individualism–collectivism) to understand differences between the culture of immigrant Latino families and the culture of U.S. schools. Making explicit the culture-based beliefs implicit in home and school practices allowed teachers to think differently about their students and their own teaching, and with that change in thinking came the immediate and ongoing creation of a wide range of innovations to bridge home and school cultures. Shifting to a preschool emphasis, we discuss how the individualism–collectivism framework has been used in professional development for early childhood educators. A broad view of professional development is discussed including the role of college faculty, early childhood program administrators, teachers, and families. We suggest how such professional development might be mounted through use of methods and materials that promote explicit models of immigrant cultures to reduce home–school cultural mismatches for immigrant children.