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Cultural Diversity in the Classroom Equals Language Success!

Aug 18, 2007
Cultural differences in communicating are important for a teacher to understand because cross-cultural communication abounds in early childhood classrooms. Its goals include communicating despite differences, cooperating for multicultural unity, and respecting the values of others.

Culture is defined as all the activities and achievements of a society that individuals within the society pass from one generation to the next.

Ethnic origin is often a basic ingredient in subculture groupings. Subculture is defined as something other than a dominant culture. Class structure also exists in societies consisting of upper, middle, and lower income groups. Often patterns of child-rearing vary between cultures and classes.

Families may express attitudes and values peculiar to their class or culture. Attitudes and feelings of an impoverished group, for example, may express anger. violence, and loss of trust toward anyone or any situation.

Teachers must try to determine the background of their students' families to better instruct them. Noting the individual child's background and home life helps the teacher better understand the child and to provide superior language development experiences. Many of the children's cultural differences inhibit the child's speech in several shapes and forms. Adults must model lengths of sentences and modify their speech to child like levels.

Most importantly, we must examine the importance of the child's early years at home. Neutral or negative environments, family arrangements that require children to he alone for 1ong periods or in which children are expected to he quiet, and cannot gain adult attention until they are: these are all factors that affect speech growth.

What I have learned about cultural diversity that can help me as a teacher, is that I will work with children who may differ greatly in language development. Some students will he bringing a high vocabulary while others may just be mastering the language. An important rule for a teacher is to carefully work toward increasing the child's use of words while providing a model of standard English through activities and daily interactions.

I have learned to never give the impression that one students' speech is superior to another student. I also believe that gaining knowledge about my classroom "culture" is going to enable me to be more effective as a teacher because I will have the inside scoop on what makes them tick. By "tick" I mean what types of sayings arouse their attention. What types of environments at home do they really show success in?

In this day and age we deal with the Latch Key child, or the child who comes home with their keys to an empty house every single day. This study has really enabled me to think about the child who has no supervision at home. Who is assisting them with their language skills? The television? Radio? Internet?

Perhaps every teacher could benefit by making more home visits, or simply making themselves available for PTA Meetings, school functions, and school-site activities, and active participation in parent conferences. I have had the unique privilege of being a Spanish Interpreter during report card conferences with parents, and the experience has opened my eyes to the "way" that I should address parents.

I am always so good hearted but I also have the strength to tell someone how I feel without offending them. This will be a great asset to me as a teacher as well. When I am helping a child with their language development, I am changing the future because our culture will benefit when a child learns to appreciate his/her language.
About the Author
"Helping ALL to Succeed"
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Don Alexander, Published Writer & Online Business Mentor
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