What does it mean to be a culturally and linguistically responsive educator?

Culture is a way of describing the combination of various groups that someone belongs. These groups could be racial, ethnic, religious, social and many others. It is essential that teachers understand how their culture can affect a student. Schools today are culturally and linguistically diverse so it is important for educators to remember that in the classroom. Cultural competence is when you can learn from and respectfully relate to other cultural backgrounds, heritages and traditions. To become culturally responsive means to understand that culture has a role in education and to actively learn about student’s cultures and communities. It also means to learn about the beliefs and values of a variety of cultures, whether or not those cultures are represented in the classroom. The final way to become culturally responsive is to broaden your awareness and gain insight on issues that students may face, along with their families and communities. Some ways that you can learn about other cultures is to attend professional development, interview students and read about cultures. A linguistically responsive educator is knowledgeable of the fact that many students today speak English as a second language and provide instruction for a variety of languages.

What are some specific strategies that you can use to support linguistically diverse students in the classroom?

To support students who are linguistically diverse in the classroom you can use manipulative. These are hands on materials that will help the student understand concepts that are more abstract. The teacher can connect these manipulatives to vocabulary terms. Another helpful too is a word wall. This is a way to display vocabulary that students should learn. One way that can be effective is teaching the words then referring to then later when they are stated during instruction. This tool is a way to support students learning if they are confused. Another thing that can help a linguistically diverse student could be a real object, picture or graphic. This way the student is able to see the information that is being discussed. Cooperative learning can maximize learning by having students work with their peers and support each other. It is important to build on background knowledge that the student may already have about a topic so they are able to make real life connections to what is being discussed in class. Labels are a way to help students learn vocabulary around the room. If a child is still learning to speak English then they will be able to see the words in English along with their native language. Technology is a way to assist students in the classroom who are linguistically diverse. There are many online tools such as movies, simulations, interactive models and games that can help students understand new concepts.

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