ASSIGNMENT Please provide feedback to each discussion question. NO APA. LIKE 250 WORDS
This was the question they had to answer: We began this course by discussing assumptions and biases about ESL/bilingual education and the need to increase cultural awareness.
Use the question to guide your original response.
What steps can you take – or have you taken – to increase your own cultural awareness? Provide both concrete and abstract examples.
Educators need to be aware of their students’ linguistic and cultural heritages. By doing so, in turn, their students will be more connected and engaged with their learning (Affective Behaviors & Culturally Sensitive Pedagogy, 2022). By the same token, educators also need to be aware of their own social and cultural backgrounds and set any biases that they have aside. A positive step in that direction is having taken this course by being aware of one’s own background in that regarding as well as that of students in comparison (Putting it all together, 2022). In addition my remaining coursework and research as I make progress toward earning my Master in Teaching English Learners (TEL) will contribute to further realizing that goal.
Other steps that I have taken to enhance my own cultural awareness include some of the courses that I teach, other graduate courses and programs that I have and will be taking, and past and present interaction with students. Among the courses I teach would be Ethnic Studies, Hispanic history and culture, and Latinx culture. Many of my students are Hispanic and Latinx. They appreciate my interest in the Spanish language and that I at least have some knowledge of it, which reflects that I have had and continue to have a long term interest in Latin America and its history. Accordingly, in June I started a Latin American and Latinx Studies (LALS) Graduate Certificate program, and this month I will begin a Borderlands and Ethnic Studies (BEST) Graduate Certificate program with two public universities located the southwestern United States.
In addition, my experience teaching and tutoring ESL and EFL students, including immigrants and refugees, greatly has increased my cultural awareness as they share their thoughts and concerns with me over their status such as having immigration attorneys, securing green cards, how to best remain in this country, working in the U.S., and more generally some concern over societal perceptions of them along with the sometimes unsettled and unsettling political atmosphere through this country. Thus far, among my students’ home countries would be India, Japan, Central America (predominantly from El Salvador), Brazil, and Venezuela. Also, I have had lessons with students now living in Canada, Japan, Guyana (located on the northern coast of South America neighboring Venezuela), Argentina, and, of course, the U.S. One of language learning companies for which I work maintains its headquarters in Santiago, Chile, but also has a branch location in Buenos Aires, Argentina as well as other locations in Latin America. Some of these teaching positions are paid and some are volunteer. In the process, I am gaining an education myself along with greater cultural awareness.
The biggest step I have taken to increase my own cultural awareness is to educate myself. Not only do I plan to take time to educate myself on my future students and their cultural backgrounds, but I have begun to learn about what it means to truly be culturally aware and how it is important for us as educators to be culturally responsive in the classroom. Throughout my time at the University of Delaware, I was exposed to different perspectives and new ways of thinking that I had never seen before. For instance, like this course, I was able to take the time to notice and reflect on my own implicit biases and how that can affect my role as the teacher in the classroom. I was able to use my own biases to become more culturally aware of those around me, taking the time to truly understand someone, especially my students. During my student teaching placements, we were required to create lessons that were culturally responsive and reflect on how we can integrate our students’ backgrounds and culture within our daily lessons. We had to take into account the prior knowledge, interests, and backgrounds of each student in order to create effective lessons. We were encouraged to constantly be aware of the students in our classroom and where they came from which I feel has led me to be more culturally aware and empathetic of my students overall.
Something I plan to do in order to continue increasing my cultural awareness is take actions to increase family engagement to not only allow the families to be involved with the school but so I could have the chance to get to know them, further understanding the family backgrounds and cultures of my students. One way I could take action towards this step is to hold “personal interviews with parents about the best modes of communication for them” (Panferov, 2010, p.,111). We need to understand that every parent or family may not have access to the same things we do. Instead of simply assuming what works best for communication, it can be very beneficial to reach out to families individually and have them explain the best way to communicate. It could give me as the educator a better understanding of the student and their family as well as make the families feel comfortable in how we can communicate.
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