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Validating Students Language and Cultural Backgrounds
Schools and teachers should play an instrumental role in validating students’ language and cultural beliefs based on their understanding and appreciation of diversity within the school system. Notably, schools and teachers could validate cultural and language backgrounds of students by utilizing their languages in the process of teaching. The level of training offered to teachers in terms of dealing with students’ cultural and language backgrounds also determines their understanding. Moreover, it presupposes the subsequent treatment of students as individuals coming from different backgrounds. Both teachers and schools should fully avoid a number of misconceptions because they invalidate the students’ language and cultural background. Such misconceptions are every student is the same, culturally diverse parents should know and conform to the expectations of the school system, and English is the only mode of delivering instructions. This essay utilizes the articles read in class, group discussions, investigative assignments, and personal experiences. By doing so, it analyzes the view that schools and teachers could validate the students’ language and cultural backgrounds by teaching in their languages and understanding their cultural funds of knowledge.
Schools and teachers could show respect, affirm, and include students’ language and cultural backgrounds in education by providing culturally compatible instruction through their understanding of the students’ cultural funds of knowledge. Accordingly, cultural funds of knowledge are concerned with the diverse ways of knowing, acting, and communicating based on their language and cultural backgrounds (Moll et al. 135). For instance, the provision of instructions that appreciate varying modes of behavior or reaction to different situations would serve as a show of respect. This example is significant because the development of culturally compatible instructions is an adequate sign to show their validation of the language and cultural backgrounds. From my personal experience, I have seen most students feeling motivated to attend school in instances where they feel that the education system matches their cultural demands. Otherwise, it is always difficult for them to realize their goals.
My group members came up with numerous opinions to support the idea of understanding the cultural funds of knowledge. For instance, Youngjin affirmed that schools and teachers should never assume that all students are the same when in school. Teachers should treat students in ways that make the latter feel part of the overall community. Additionally, Myoung-Hwan stated that understanding the funds of knowledge is a primary aspect of respecting the language and cultural backgrounds of students. It illustrates the differences that exist between them in terms of the origin of the families. Families have various ways of life in respect to language and culture, and it would only be beneficial for schools and teachers to consider this in the development of instructions (Erickson 18). Yunjoo and DaEun summed up the discussion by pointing out that schools and teachers have an unending task of developing syllabus that shows their respect and the inclusion of all students by avoiding restrictive instructions that only cater for few native students. Furthermore, I conducted the investigative assignment where I talked to my friend Ki Sung about his background and development within the school as an immigrant student. As a result, it offers direction for schools and teachers to be more careful in the development of instructions in culturally relevant ways reflective of the variation in culture among different students.
Additionally, schools and teachers could effectively uphold respect and include the students’ language and cultural backgrounds in education by using the language that students understand better (Lew 307). For instance, when most of the students are Latino, schools and teachers must adopt their language in the delivery of instructions instead of overemphasizing the use of the English language as the standard language of teaching and learning. Teaching Latino students in their first language plays an instrumental role in showing the highest level of respect and inclusion in the education system (Aceves and Orosco 23). This example is significant because the language utilized, especially in the teaching of technical subjects such as Mathematics, always influences the urge to learn and understand the content delivered. From my personal experiences, students tend to feel more valued and respected by their teachers when the latter give them the opportunity to receive the content in simplified languages that they understand. In my opinion, most students who do not speak English as their first language would only feel appreciated and included in the school system with the integration of their local languages in the curriculum.
In the group discussion, students gave their opinion on the matter, hence leading to the consensus that the use of local languages in education is the best way to show respect and inclusion. For instance, Youngjin agreed that it was surprising how the American educational system was overemphasizing the use of English in the delivery of instructions in classes where most students do not understand it. Eliminating this trend would be an obvious validation of the language and cultural backgrounds of students. Myoung-Hwan and Yunjoo affirmed that it is, in fact, easier for students to read and write in languages that they understand better. Therefore, teachers and schools must continuously validate their cultural and language backgrounds by using their first language and not necessarily English (Bresser, Melanese and Sphar 175). Lastly, DaEun was of the opinion that language is everything in the process of learning because it determines the scores of children in their examinations. When the easiest language is used, they score highly and feel respect for their culture, language, and background. The investigative assignment where I talked to three UCSD students about bilingual education and their perception of the language used gives a perfect example of how teachers and schools could use the students’ native languages to show respect and overall inclusion of students in the school system.
Schools and teachers could also validate the language and cultural backgrounds of students by getting to know their families, homes, and neighborhoods (Horvat, Weininger and Lareau 336). The school system comprises not only teachers and students, but also parents, who are an integral part of the entire system. The best ways for schools and teachers to show their respect, affirmation, and inclusion of students in the education system is to reach out to their home and families directly. Consequently, they can ensure parents participate directly in the running of these institutions. The misconception that parents from diverse cultural backgrounds should understand and adhere to the expectations of the school system should not be part of this involvement. For instance, parents from all language, cultural, and social classes should be reached and involved in the running of these schools (Moll et al. 137). This example is significant in protecting the interests of students on matters of language and cultural inclusion in the education system (Aceves and Orosco 17). In my opinion, involving parents is a crucial sign of respecting and appreciating the language of students because it leads to the breakage of unreasonable language and cultural biases of teachers. In tandem with my personal experiences, I have witnessed cases where parents have intervened in the learning of their students, ensuring that the curriculum reflects their true sense of culture.
During the group discussion, everyone agreed that schools and teachers have to be friends with parents to illustrate their validation of language and cultural backgrounds of students. Yunjoo and Myoung-Hwan reiterated that the first step is not to discriminate against parents in relation to their language and cultural origins. In cases of discrimination, the respect and inclusion of language in the learning of students are always doomed to fail. Yunjoo asserted that it is not easy to bring all parents on board. However, schools and teachers should be trained in this aspect to make it more convenient for them to show respect, affirmation, and inclusion of students in their curriculum. Lastly, DaEun warned that parents should not be selected based on their class or financial muscle in cases where they are supposed to be involved in the affairs of their children. They should be selected as parents ready to assist in the schools’ supporting the students’ language and cultural background in the most effective manner (Horvat, Weininger and Lareau 344). The investigative assignment on the validation of language and culture where I talked to the co-chair of the UCSD Black Student Union is adequate justification for the direct involvement of parents in the promotion of fairness in language and culture in the field of education. We all look forward to a perfect working collaboration between diverse parents, teachers, and the overall school system.
In conclusion, schools and teachers obviously have the responsibility of respecting, affirming, and including the language and cultural background of their students in their systems. This is the only fair way of ensuring all students are motivated and focused on the realization of their dreams in the best ways possible. Therefore, teachers are supposed to start by understanding the cultural funds of knowledge as they relate to different students and ensure they come up with a cultural system of instruction. In doing so, the local languages of these students should not be forgotten because they facilitate success and focus on academic work and the future. The spirit of validating the cultural and language backgrounds of students should be kept alive in all schools and among teachers through culturally focused training methods.
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