Skilled Dialogue: Strategies for Responding to Cultural Diversity in Early Childhood, Second Edition

Authors: Isaura Barrera Ph.D., Lucinda Kramer Ph.D., T. Dianne Macpherson M.S.W., LCSW; Foreword Author: Cynthia L. Paris Ph.D.

Format: Paperback, 296 pages, 7.0 x 10.0
ISBN: 9781598571646
Price: $39.95

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How can early childhood practitioners best respond to cultural and linguistic diversity and ensure positive interactions with all children and families? Discover the power of Skilled Dialogue, a unique, effective, and field-tested model for interactions that honor the cultural beliefs and values of everyone involved.

Going far beyond the fundamentals introduced in the first edition of this book, the fully updated second edition incorporates expanded coverage of today's most critical topics and reflects the real-world feedback of seasoned Skilled Dialogue users. With this proven model for respectful, reciprocal, and responsive communication, pre- and inservice educators and interventionists will

  • understand culture as a dynamic that shapes the behaviors and beliefs of all people
  • actively communicate respect for what others believe, think, and value
  • resolve issues creatively by integrating diverse perspectives from all parties
  • strengthen inclusive assessment and instruction
  • reframe differences between practitioners and families as complementary, not contradictory
  • leverage cultural diversity as a strength rather than a "problem" or risk factor
  • avoid stereotypes based on culture and ethnicity
  • gain critical insight into the effects of trauma and how it interacts with culture
  • establish collaborative relationships rather than seeking control over others

To support professionals as they put Skilled Dialogue into practice, this edition includes more explicit guidance, vivid examples, and practical photocopiable forms to aid with assessment, instruction, and organization of key family and child information.

With this comprehensive guide to a positive, highly effective model, early childhood professionals will establish skillful interactions that honor all cultures and perspectives—leading to stronger working relationships and better outcomes for whole families.


  • More on assessment and instruction
  • New forms that support differentiation of assessment and instruction
  • Recent research and changes in early childhood education
  • Revisions and additions that respond to user feedback
  • Updated and expanded chapter on cultural diversity in relation to trauma
  • Revised Self-Assessment and Reflection Guide


Review by: Rosa Milagros Santos, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"An invaluable resource . . . bridges what we know from current research to how we can make it real in our practices. This book is a must have for early childhood professionals whose work must begin with building healthy relationships with young children and families from all different backgrounds."

Table of Contents

About the Authors
Foreword: Cynthia L. Paris

Introduction: The Evolution of Skilled Dialogue 1996-2011

I. Culture and Cultural Linguistic Diversity

  1. Culture: The Underlying Reality

  2. Cultural Linguistic Diversity: The Challenges

  3. Honoring Identity, Voice and Connection: The Response

II. Dialogue Across Culturally Linguistically Based Differences

  1. Skilled Dialogue: The Framework

  2. Anchored Understanding of Diversity/Choosing Relationship over Control: The Context, Part I

  3. 3rd Space/Setting the Stage for Miracles: The Context, Part II

  4. Strategies Then and Now

III. Collaborative and Culturally Inclusive Assessment and Instruction of Young Children

  1. Skilled Dialogue and Culturally Linguistically Respectful, Reciprocal, and Responsive Assessment and Instruction

  2. Planning and Conducting Culturally Linguistically Inclusive Assessments

  3. Planning and Conducting Culturally Linguistically Inclusive Instruction

  4. Issues of Culture and Trauma

Appendix A: Photocopiable Materials

Appendix B: Guidelines for Using an Interpreter/Translator During Test Administration

Appendix C: Revised Skilled Dialogue Self-Assessment


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