Dr. Sonia Neito, professor emerita of language, literacy, and culture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst College of Education, explores teaching students with diverse backgrounds. She is accomplished in this area of inquiry and has authored many books on the topic and has been published in numerous journals.
"Dalton is diverse - a mix of different races, ethnic groups, economic class groups, and languages, among other types of diverse communities. And though that is something to be celebrated, it can also bring challenges for teachers", said Dr. René Antrop-González, a professor of education at Dalton State and the Goizueta Foundation Chair in Education.
Dr. Nieto will be at Dalton State Feb. 25 from 10:30 a.m.-noon to speak about her most recent book, “Finding Joy in Teaching Students of Diverse Backgrounds: Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Practices in the U.S. Classrooms.” The presentation is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Dalton Public Schools, Whitfield County Schools, and the Goizueta Foundation Chair in Education at Dalton State College.
“Dr. Nieto’s work has major implications for learning and teaching diverse students, especially in Dalton where the majority of this city’s learners are of different backgrounds and bring racial, ethnic, class, and linguistic experiences that are different than those of many of their teachers,” Antrop-González said. “Our goal is to engage pre-service, in-service, and post-secondary teachers in serious dialogue centered on the ways we can create school cultures that are welcoming of students that belong to historically marginalized groups.”
Dr. Nieto has taught students from elementary school through doctoral studies, and her research focuses on multicultural education, teacher education, and the education of Latina/o immigrants, as well as students of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Her books include “Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education,” “The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities,” and “Language, Culture, and Teaching: Critical Perspectives.”
“Affirming Diversity” was selected for the Museum of Education’s “Education Readers’ Guide” as one of the books that helped define the field of education in the 20th century, and it will be featured in a 2015 online exhibit.
Dr. Nieto has received many awards for her scholarship, teaching, and advocacy, including four honorary doctorates. She has been selected as a Fellow of the American Education Research Association and as a Laureate for Kappa Delta Pi. She served as the Wits-Claude Distinguished Scholar at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.
She received the Medal of Distinguished Services, the highest honor given by Teachers College at Columbia University, in May of last year. She was invited as an honoree for “Inside the Academy,” an online archive that recognizes the most influential scholars in the academy through their personal and professional histories.
Dr. Nieto is married to Angel Nieto, a poet, former teacher, and children’s book author. They have three daughters and 12 grandchildren.