Culturally Responsive Instruction Leaves No Child Behind:The Story of Juan, a Pacific Island Special Needs Student

Catherine Eileen Stoicovy, Richard Fee, Julie Fee


The purpose of this qualitative case study is to explore the use of retelling as a culturally responsive literacy strategy for Juan, a Pacific Island (Chamorro) special needs student on the island of Guam. Data were collected from the following sources: (1) participant-observation (2) fieldnotes (3) audiotaped recordings of students’ oral retellings (4) audiotaped interviews with students (5) audiotaped interviews with classroom teacher, and (6) samples of students’ written retellings. Results of the study suggest that retelling helps to bridge the dissonance between home and the school. Retelling, congruent with the Chamorro tradition of storytelling, is a natural way of learning for Chamorro students. Moreover, retelling in a small group setting is compatible with inafa’maolek, a core value of Chamorro culture that means helping each other in an agreeable fashion. Based on Juan’s productive academic performance and appropriate behavior during the retelling sessions, the following two issues warrant consideration: a reevaluation of his diagnosis of ADHD and further exploration of the use of culturally responsive instruction to scaffold his academic performance.


multicultural instruction, culturally responsive instruction, retelling, Guam

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