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Addressing Cultural Diversity in the Classroom


Addressing Cultural Diversity in the Classroom Amy Talley Why are we here? Vignette 1 Goals and limitations of this seminar How can we make the most of it? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Addressing Cultural Diversity in the Classroom

Addressing Cultural Diversity in the Classroom
  • Amy Talley

  • Why are we here? Vignette 1
  • Goals and limitations of this seminar
  • How can we make the most of it?
  • Syllabus

Our Essential Questions
  • What do WSFC schools look like in regards to
    cultural diversity?
  • What are a teachers responsibilities?
  • How can we work effectively with multi-cultural
    students and parents?
  • How can teachers be more effective and make
    learning easier for ELLs?
  • What help/resources do teachers have?

The first step to being an effective teacher is
getting to know your students.
  • Questionnaire
  • Brainstorm questions for your possible
    questionnaires. Please add to my list!

Other ways to get to know your students
  • Talk with other teachers, guidance counselors,
    community groups.
  • Incorporate journaling, family interviewing when
  • Ask students privately if they would like to
    share information about their home
    countries/cultures that pertains to class.
  • Invite students to stay after for tutoring.

Important Acronyms
  • ESL English as a Second Language, an ESL
    student receives ESL services because they scored
    below proficient in the English language on a
    language test.
  • ELL English Language Learner
  • LEP- Limited English Proficient
  • NOM-National Origin Minority

Take a guess!
  • How many languages do you think are represented
  • in the WSFC schools?
  • At the high school where you will be
  • How many LEP students are
  • In the WSFC schools
  • At the high school where you will be

  • WSFCS 6,396 94 languages
  • Atkins 135 - 2
  • Carver 15 -2
  • East 85 - 8
  • Glenn 120- 10
  • Mt.Tabor 61 - 12
  • North 124 - 5
  • Parkland 138 7
  • Reagan 10 - 3
  • Reynolds 100 - 10
  • West 73- 11

WSFC Demographics
  • The top 5 languages are
  • 2009 2008
  • Spanish (7,894) Spanish
    (5,776 students)
  • Vietnamese (96) Chinese
    (96 students)
  • Filipino (92)
    Vietnamese (54 students)
  • Arabic (86)
    Filipino (42 students)
  • Chinese (81) Arabic
    (36 students)

What is happening with our LEP numbers?
  • Our LEP population has plateaued . . . however
    our Hispanic population continues to grow. 
    (factors including immigration policy, economy).
    The overwhelming majority of our LEP growth is
    coming from K students born in the US.
  • David Sisk (ESL Coordinator, District Level)

(No Transcript)
Hispanic and NOM population growth in WSFCS
LEP Students By Language in NC 2005-2006 (Top
  • Spanish--74,766
  • Hmong-- 2,651
  • Vietnamese--1,322
  • Arabic--1,129
  • Chinese--1,041
  • Korean--855
  • French--854
  • Russian--580
  • Hindi--467
  • Japanese--383

  • Vignette 2

  • Vignette 3

WSFC LEP Procedures
  • Identification How will I know who my LEP
    students are and what modifications they need?
  • Testing Accommodations Accommodations Form

  • Modification/Accommodation forms are done by the
    LEP committee in the school, then they are to be
    shared with all teachers that have contact with
    the LEP student.  We have asked the ESL teachers
    to make sure they are sharing the forms or
    information with each teacher because they are
    responsible for making sure the student receives
    all mods and accommodations due to
    them---liability issue if not followed.  The
    student is not really able to use the testing
    accommodations unless they have received them in
    the classroom throughout the year.
  • Ann Talton, ESL Lead Teacher (WSFCS)

WSFC School Policy
  • School Classroom Teachers Classroom teachers
    with LEP students are responsible for making
    their classroom instruction accessible, even for
    students at a beginning level of English
    proficiency. Classroom teachers are responsible
    for familiarizing themselves with the WIDA
    standards and their students levels of English
    proficiency in order to differentiate their
    instruction and to make modifications. They are
    also responsible for assessing students in such a
    way that does not discriminate against them on
    the basis of their language proficiency. Such
    accommodations for state testing must be well

  •  ESL teachers are supposed to be responsible for
    teaching the language of the content (WIDA
  • The mainstream teacher is supposed to be
    responsible for teaching the content while
    supporting the language simultaneously.   This is
    the ideal.
  • David Sisk (ESL Coordinator, District Level)  

  • Pullout The LEP student leaves the classroom
    (is pulled out) for ESL services, working in
    small groups of instruction planned by the ESL
  • Elective ESL classes In the middle and high
    schools, LEP students receive ESL instruction
    during a scheduled class period and receive
    course credit. ESL is largely an English-only
    instructional program, with instructional support
    in the native language when feasible.
    Proficiency levels determine the level of ESL
    class the student will take. (Newcomers may need
    two periods of ESL services each day group sizes
    are to be no larger than ten students Students
    are to be grouped by proficiency levels Students
    are to grouped by grade level)
  • Sheltered Content Classes Sheltered content
    classes in social studies, science, math, and
    English are offered at the high school level to
    LEP students. The mainstream teacher uses
    specific methods designed for LEP students,
    commonly referred to as Sheltered Instruction
    Observation Protocol (SIOP). Such methods
    include increased use of visuals, modeling,
    slower speech, modified assessments, scaffolding,
    and native language assistance when needed. This
    LEP instructional method is primarily designed
    for intermediate LEP students.
  • Co-teaching The LEP student remains in the
    mainstream classroom, with the ESL teacher going
    in to work with the classroom teacher, providing
    appropriate instruction to the LEP student. To
    have a successful Co-teaching model, mainstream
    and ESL teachers must have time to plan
    cooperatively and must share the teaching
    responsibilities of that classroom. ESL teachers
    are not to be used as an assistant or tutor.
    Classroom time may be a mix of whole class,
    grouped lessons, or rotating stations with both
    teachers sharing the teaching role. (2-3 teachers
    working together is ideal).
  • From WSFCS ESL webpage

So, you thought you were just going to have to
teach social studies/math/science/literature?
  • Remember that no matter what subject you teach,
    you are teaching your students language on some
    level. It may be just academic vocabulary, but
    it may also be that students are learning the
    course content in their second or third language.

  • Laws Affecting English Language Learners

Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • No person in the United States shall, on the
    ground of race, color, or national origin, be
    excluded from participation in, be denied the
    benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination
    under any program or activity receiving Federal
    financial assistance.

Office for Civil Rights Memorandum (1970)
  • (1) Districts must develop programs to assist LEP
    students so that they are not excluded from
    participation in the educational system.
  • (2) School districts must not place NOM students
    in special education classes on the basis of low
    test scores in English. NOM students must not be
    denied access to college prep. courses.
  • (3) Programs designed to meet the need of LEP
    students must be effective, and should not be
    permanent or dead end tracks.
  • (4) School districts have the responsibility to
    adequately notify NOM parents of school
    activities. To be adequate, such notice may have
    to be provided in a language other than English.

Lau v. Nichols (1974)
  • There is no equality of treatment merely by
    providing students with the same facilities,
    textbooks, teachers, and curriculum, for students
    who do not understand English are effectively
    foreclosed from any meaningful education.

Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974
  • No state shall deny equal educational opportunity
    to an individual on account of his or her race,
    color, sex, or national origin.
  • Educational agencies must take appropriate action
    to overcome language barriers that impede equal
    participation by its students in its
    instructional programs.

Student Rights
  • At this point in time, in accordance with federal
    law, students do not have to provide any proof of
    legal status to attend US schools.
  • All students must fill out a HLS upon registering
    for school. If there is another language listed,
    they are given a language test to determine their
    language proficiency.
  • LEP students are given the choice to receive ESL
    services. They may waive services.
  • All teachers are required to modify instruction
    and assessment as needed for LEP students.
  • The ESL program is federally mandated to prevent
    discrimination practices in the retention and
    grading of LEP students. Retention of an LEP
    student should only be considered if academic
    difficulties are not related to second language

Vignette 4
  • OK, so I have no choice. I have to change the
    way I teach to cater to English Language
    Learners. It is their legal right, but why is it
    the RIGHT thing to do?
  • Before we move on, lets talk about how it feels
    to be in a situation where you do not speak the
  • Have you ever experienced an ineffective language
    teacher? (Dont mention names!) What made this
    teacher ineffective? How can you avoid the same
    situations with future students?
  • Were there any cultural misunderstandings?
  • Situations that made you feel uncomfortable?
  • What made you uncomfortable/more comfortable in
    foreign language settings?

  • Drop-out rates arent really that important, are
  • Tracking does not exist in todays schools, does

Graduation Rate for NC and Urban Districts 2006
and 2007
WSFCS 2006 2007 NC 2006 2007 Durham 2006 2007 Guilford 2006 2007 CMS 2006 2007 Wake 2006 2007
All Students 73.7 70.7 68.1 69.4 68.8 66.3 63.5 79.7 74.6 73.8 82.6 79.3
Male 69.3 67.0 63.9 64.9 61.5 60.4 59.8 76.4 68.8 70.1 78.9 74.4
Female 78.2 74.5 72.4 73.8 76.0 71.8 67.1 82.9 80.2 77.3 86.2 84.0
Native Amer. 58.3 60.0 51.1 55.6 57.1 36.7 69.4 60.0 44.2 90.5 69.0
Asian 84.2 80.4 74.1 78.9 78.0 83.7 54.6 75.8 80.1 80.8 91.7 86.9
Black 68.2 64.2 60.0 61.4 63.7 59.3 56.4 73.6 66.0 62.8 69.9 65.3
Hispanic 49.8 40.9 51.8 53.6 40.1 35.2 42.9 64.1 58.4 61.8 57.7 55.3
Multi-Racial 64.9 66.7 65.2 65.4 71.2 64.8 63.0 76.5 77.3 71.6 82.3 73.3
White 80.4 80.1 73.6 74.8 82.1 83.1 72.5 86.3 84.8 87.1 89.6 88.2
Vignette 5
  • ONLY first year in US schools LEP students that
    score below 4.0 on the reading portion of the
    ACCESS are eligible for an exemption on the
    reading EOG. There are no longer any alternate
    assessments for LEP students.  However, some LEP
    students are eligible for testing
    accommodations.  There are no allowances for
    LEP students regarding meeting the HS exit and
    graduation requirements.  David Sisk

Vignette 6

Second Language Acquisition
  • Have you ever heard of BICS and CALP?
  • A silent period?
  • BICS/CALP (Basic Interpersonal Communication
    Skills 1-2 yrs vs. Cognitive Academic Language
    Proficiency 5-10)

  • James Cummins
  • Can-do descriptors (See handout)

Diversity Situation Analysis
  • Work with a partner or in groups of three.
  • Skip 7 and 8

Do stereotypes affect us?
Asian Students
  • Lets talk about stereotypes and how they can
    prove detrimental
  • Diversity within group
  • Model Minority
  • Stress, pressure, isolation

Hmong students Another growing (and often
misunderstood) minority
  • Most North Carolina students with limited English
    proficiency are Spanish speakers (31,931), with
    Hmong (2,882) coming in a distant second.

  • The Hmong people are from rural mountain areas in
    southeast Asia.
  • Many of the Hmong people were our allies in the
    Vietnam War and others fought against the
    communist-nationalists in the Secret War in Laos.
  • Hmong are divided into clans or tribes that share
    the same paternal ancestry.
  • Each clan has a leader who oversees all relations
    and a shaman (wise man/medicine man) who deals
    with spiritual and physical problems.
  • Traditional Hmong education is oral.

  • Respect is very important. Many times in
    teaching situations they will constantly nod and
    say, "Yes." Keep in mind that this yes might
    mean, "Yes, I am listening to you," not, "Yes, I
  • Usually Hmong people do not feel comfortable with
    direct eye contact and do not like to be touched
    on their heads.

  • Today, there are 85,000 Hmong students in public
    schools throughout the country.  
  • There are large Hmong populations in Minnesota,
    Wisconsin, and North Carolina.
  • In North Carolinas Burke County schools, Hmong
    students make up 67 of all Asian students in the
  • Hmong is the second most spoken language of ELL
    students in the US.

  • Many challenges face their community.
  • 66 lives in poverty with an average annual
    salary of 9,923.
  • Of those 25 years and older, 97 have less than a
    bachelors degree.
  • Over half of the community report having no
    formal education.  
  • 80 are employed in the support, service,
    production, and labor field.
  • 61 of Hmong households are linguistically

Hmong students
  • Does the model minority myth apply?
  • Only 31 of Hmong American students are
    graduating high school. Only 3 of Hmong adults
    over the age of 25 have a Bachelors Degree or
  • (Hmong Today)

  • There are aspects of Hmong culture that clash
    sharply with our culture in the US, and sometimes
    American law.
  • Traditional methods of healing conflicts with
    social services.
  • Hmong households are usually large, and women do
    the housework. Young girls have tremendous
  • There is a high rate of teenage pregnancy in the
    Hmong community.
  • There are stark gender differences and arranged
    marriages. Women usually marry young (13-18)
    because having many healthy children is
    important. Of course this is changing
    drastically as children become Americanized.

Vignette 9
Hispanic students in US schools
  • By 2025 Hispanic children will probably make up
    25 of school-age children.
  • During the school year 2007-08, NC experienced
    the highest increase yet of Hispanic students.
    Our Hispanic population increased by 14,000. We
    have more than 97,000 Hispanic students in our
  • Hispanic students lag behind other ethnic groups
    in academic achievement.
  • There is a gap, and it starts early.

Hispanic Students
  • Regarding the Hispanic cultures, it is important
    to keep in mind how these cultures are evolving.
    There is much culture-mixing, and some
    individuals are highly americanized, while
    others are newcomers.
  • Some immigrant children grew up in the US, and
    are basically bicultural. They may be
    embarrassed by their heritage and try to fit in
    with mainstream students. Others may be proud of
    their heritage and feel isolated from mainstream
    culture and cling to others from their native
  • What steps could we take to more actively involve
    our cultural resources (Hispanic students,
    families, and community organizations) in our

Vignettes 10 and 11
  • What responsibilities do students have outside of
  • What role models do students have?
  • Do parents participate in the education process?
  • Is education top priority?
  • Do parents push students too hard? Expectations?
  • Do parents/students trust school staff?
  • Do students/parents know what resources are
  • Special needs?
  • How do modifications make students/parents feel?

  • Remember that the education process is very
    different in other countries, so students and
    parents may feel uncomfortable in US classrooms.
  • Multiculturalism involves recognizing differences
    in not only cultures, but also subcultures, race
    and social class, gender. (Tarasco example)
  • Individuals from the same culture may be
    profoundly different.
  • Remember that using one style of teaching will
    not work for an entire classroom of students. A
    teaching style that is exciting and engaging to
    some students may be frustrating/scary to others.

Cultural Stumbling Blocks
Natalie Strittmatter November 9, 2011
Assumption of Similarities
  • Many people assume that everyone is the same deep
    down so communicating with people from other
    cultures should be easy.
  • Nonverbal symbols are not similar from culture to
    culture. Example Smiles mean different things
    to different cultures. Are Korean people cold
    because they do not smile at foreigners? Why
    would an Arab student think that something was
    wrong with his appearance (something on his
    face/fly down) and rush to the bathroom to check
    when on a college campus in the US for the first

Assumption of Similarities Gesture Activity
  • 2. 2.
  • 3. 4.
  • Write down what each picture represents to you.

Come here!
  • Common in the U.S. to ask someone to come here
  • In other cultures this symbol is insulting.
  • In Cambodia and Vietnam this symbol is used to
    call an animal and is considered rude.

  • Commonly used in the U.S. for O.K.
  • Brazil and Germany view this symbol as obscene.
  • Japan uses the symbol for money.
  • France uses the symbol for zero or worthless.

  • Commonly used in the U.S as the peace sign.
  • Europeans use this symbol for victory when the
    palm faces away from you. With palm facing in it
    means shove it.

  • Commonly used in the U.S. for a winner or
    champion in sports.
  • Russians use this symbol for friendship. In 1959
    Khrushchev learned the hard way that this symbol
    for friendship was not universal. Americans
    assumed this gesture meant Victory.

Meanings of Common Nonverbal Symbols
Language Differences
  • Difficulties ESL students face with language
  • Dialects, slang, idiomatic expressions,
    vocabulary, and syntax all present problems for
    new language learners.
  • People focus on one meaning of a word in the new
    language instead of the context.
  • One of the most common problems is negative
    questions. Ex. Arent you from Korea?

Nonverbal Misinterpretations
  • Time and spatial relationships are more
    difficult to understand.
  • Ex. Personal space and appointment times
  • Nonverbal misinterpretation excerpt from Barnas
    Stumbling Blocks article An Oregon girl in an
    intercultural communication class asked a young
    man from Saudi Arabia how he would nonverbally
    signal that he liked her. His response was to
    smooth back his hair, which to her was just a
    common nervous gesture signifying nothing. She
    repeated her question three times. He smoothed
    his hair three times. Then, realizing that she
    was not recognizing this movement as his reply to
    her question, he automatically ducked his head
    and stuck out his tongue slightly in
    embarrassment. This behavior was noticed by the
    girl and she expressed astonishment that he would
    show liking for someone by sticking out his
  • If you do not understand that different cultures
    view time and spatial relationships very
    differently, it will be very difficult for you
    understand that culture. Examples In Central
    American countries personal space is very small.
    People may even bump into you trying to pay for
    things in a store. Whereas in American culture we
    are very aware of our personal space and do not
    like people to invade it. Time is also an
    important thing to consider as a nonverbal code.
    In many cultures time is perceived very
    differently. In what is known as high context
    cultures appointments are not as important as
    family time. Unlike the importance of time and
    appointments in the U.S. where you are expected
    to be on time. Think about how time could be an
    issue when dealing with ESL students or their
    parents. Any thoughts on how your might
    experience a nonverbal misinterpretation in
    respect to time or spatial relationships?

Preconceptions and Stereotypes
  • Definition of preconception an opinion formed in
    advance of adequate knowledge or background.
  • Definition of stereotype a conventional,
    formulaic, and oversimplified conception,
    opinion, or image.
  • What are some of the preconceptions and
    stereotypes about ESL students you have heard
    from other teachers?

High Anxiety or Tension
  • Stress occurs often in cross-cultural
  • We need to find ways for ESL students to feel
    appreciated and experience success right away in
    the classroom in order to reduce the anxiety they
    experience in their new cultural environment.

More things to consider Cultural differences
  • Pronunciation of names
  • Concept of family Hierarchy, household, elders,
    family roles
  • Life cycles maturity, age-appropriateness
  • Gender roles
  • Eye contact
  • Directness/Indirectness
  • Showing of emotion
  • Greetings
  • Competitiveness Group mentality vs.
  • Cheating
  • Discipline
  • Religion diet, absences
  • Food restrictions, eating times, discarding,
  • Health and hygiene illness, dentists
  • Perception of education and what is appropriate
    questioning, nodding
  • Perception of uniqueness proud or ashamed of

Benefits of a multi-cultural classroom
  • ELLs are assets and add richness.
  • Students get a taste of the real world.
  • Students learn from each other.
  • Friendships form in unexpected places.
  • Prejudice and fear decreases.
  • Opportunities for learning and growth are high.
  • Think about your own experiences.

The Big Picture
  • As educators, we must be advocates for all
    students/children. We never know the
  • Families and personnel may have strong opinions
    about immigration, but remember that our job is
    to support, protect, and educate every student.

How to not get overworked
  • It would be difficult to research every culture
    and language that is represented in your
    classroom, but the more you know about the
    students you teach, the better off you are.
  • Research the school district you plan to work in.
    Find out which cultures are represented there.
    Do some investigation about those cultures to
    avoid surprises.
  • Use resources at your school and in your
    district. Talk to the foreign language teachers,
    ESL teachers, guidance counselors, other
    teachers, and administrators. Others may have
    already made valuable discoveries regarding
    certain students/subgroups.
  • Working with community groups may be helpful
    (volunteers, translators, liaisons)

What resources do you have?
  • School counselors
  • School administrators
  • Newcomer Center
  • Transact
  • ESL teacher, ESL district office
  • Foreign language teachers at your school
  • Parent volunteers
  • Other teachers

  • What are the three most important things you
    learned from this Power Point? Come ready to