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Summary 7 - Essay Example

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American schools have at least 40% and as much as 52% of their students coming from culturally diverse backgrounds but only 22% of the preschool teachers are culturally diverse, but non-White K 12 teachers can be as little as 10% of the entire teacher population. This may result…
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Your Empathy and Cultural Competence: Reflections from Teachers of Culturally Diverse Children American schools have at least 40% and as much as 52% of their students coming from culturally diverse backgrounds but only 22% of the preschool teachers are culturally diverse, but non-White K 12 teachers can be as little as 10% of the entire teacher population. This may result in cultural incompatibility between teachers and students.
As children of culturally diverse families see school as a “different world”, having a teacher that could understand their plight would be a great help, this is because they can minimize the differences between the school and the home. This can validate the identities of culturally diverse children as well as be the role models for these children. Teachers who can understand and appreciate culturally different strengths and cultural resources of children are found to be much more effective teachers are more likely to provide enriching environments that celebrate everyone’s differences. However, since the teachers themselves are exposed to mainstream education where cultural diversity is not as celebrated as it is today, it is quite a challenge to adapt.
To address this need to adapt to the culturally-heavy classes, there are professional seminars and trainings that have been offered to them. One of these is the Family Literacy Nights with Latino families and their children since the Latino population comprise the biggest chunk of the culturally diverse population. With Family Literacy Nights, the teachers have interacted with the parents and the kids themselves. This project helped quashed misconceptions about the culturally-diverse families.
With family literacy nights, the teachers have firsthand information about the immigrant families. They empathized with the frustration that the parents have over language learning and their affinity to use their old language. They understood that these people can never think like the native speakers. They also learned that the parents want to help their children excel in their English-based classes but cannot help since they do not know the language. They also knew reasons why some families cannot come to school activities: location and time matter. It is not that they do not support their children’s education, it’s because they do not have the means of transportation and the time to go to events (they have to work, and they are too poor to have a car). They also knew not to prevent the children from speaking their native language as this fosters sophisticated linguistic abilities (they had English-only policies then).
The results of the study are positively significant, and show that empathy and competence can work well in an educational setting.
Reference:
Colombo, Michaela. “Empathy and Cultural Competence: Reflections from Teachers of Culturally Diverse Children”. NAEYC Publications. November 2005. Web. 25 October 2011. Read More
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