Literacy: Flint Ch. 3

Flint Chapter 3, Getting to Know Students: Developing Culturally Relevant Practices for Teaching really made me think about the students in my own Student Teaching placement.  We have students from Mexico, Colombia, South Korea, Japan, Russia, and China in our 2nd grade class, and I never realized how much I overlook their unique cultural experiences and backgrounds.  The story about Bianca was heartwarming, but it would be unreasonable to, for example, label everything in the classroom in five different languages.  The modifications would have to be more subtle and incorporated more smoothly into my lessons, such as reading books set in Korea or singing songs with Spanish words in them.  Not only would incorporating their cultures into my lessons be more engaging for the class, but it would help these students to recognize that their culture is just as valued and important as traditional “American” culture.  I also realized through the reading that my own cultural experiences serve as a barrier between my culturally diverse students and myself.  And the idea of the “virtual school bag” was really interesting to me as well.  As a teacher I must be receptive to students’ differences and recognize that not all of them hold the same beliefs, values, and customs that I do. 

The book described quite a few strategies that I would love to try out in my own classroom.  The multicultural texts of course, would be a great way for me to show my students characters, events, and settings that are familiar to them.  The list of multicultural authors will be very helpful, because just because a book looks like an authentic multicultural text, doesn’t mean it is accurate.  The idea of a “Literacy Dig” was adorable, and I think I have seen something like it in my own student teaching placement.  Questionnaires and surveys would also be a great way to get into the minds of your students.

There was also some mention of codeswitching again, which is a topic that I am still unsure of.  It is hard for me to see how using a “comfortable” language is going to help students practice and learn Standard English.  Kidwatching was a familiar term brought up again in this chapter, referring to closely observing the students’ learning processes.  I believe this is crucial in being an effective teacher.

As a teacher, I need to adopt a culturally relevant pedagogy, the “kind of teaching that is designed not merely to fit the school culture to the students’ culture but also to use student culture as it basis for helping students understand themselves and others, structure interactions, and conceptualize knowledge” (Ladson-Billings, 2001, p. 314).

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2 Comments

Filed under EDUC 513 - Teaching Language Arts and Reading

2 responses to “Literacy: Flint Ch. 3

  1. claudiasaavedra

    Hi Katie!
    I agree that it is really easy sometime to overlook a child’s unique cultural background. Like you said labeling items in your classroom in five different language sounds unreasonable, but reading books that take place in different parts of the world could be easily accomplished. Also you could incorporate these cultural aspects into different parts of your lesson plans. I know last year one of the schools I went to, the teacher focus on a different country every month and the kids had math lessons and writing lessons focused around that specific country. Things like this would definitely help a child feel more included and valued in the classroom!

  2. caraknight

    I think that as teachers we need to think about our classroom and how to serve our students to our best ability. We would not be able to serve our students if we did not think about the diverse cultures that are in the room. In my placement this year I do not have any ELL students, which is not normal. I find that I am learning a lot from other people in their placements and I see the strategies that I need to incorporate into my classroom when I have ELL students.
    The chapter was a great introduction to these strategies and I think that it is correct to say that incorporating these strategies will make the classroom more comfortable and the lesson more engaging to the students. Please let me know how the strategies work so that I can make a note to incorporate the ideas into my classroom. 😉

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