bububooks

Helping children develop their American and native cultural identities together.

NAEYC Themes, Part 5: Value the Home Culture and Language

Posted by bububooks on January 12, 2010

This blog’s theme of valuing the home culture and language complements Themes 2 and 3 nicely.  As Dr. Linda Espinosa stated in her session at NAEYC, “It is crucial that educators understand how best to effectively support the home language so that early literacy can be fostered in the home as well as school.”  Indeed, as I often state, L is for Literacy, not Language.  Development of language and literacy in the home language (or first language) facilitates the development of language and literacy in the second language.

“How can I support development of the home language if I don’t speak it?” you may ask.  Dr. Espinosa contends that pursuing such a feat is not beyond our ability.  For starters, simply having books available in the children’s home language allows the teacher to model respect for other languages and cultures.  Also, one center found that “by valuing young English language learners’ native languages, positive relationship [were] fostered between parents, communities, schools and teachers.” These relationships are important because family support has shown to be crucial in the successful transitions of their children.

Children between ages 5 and 10 are still acquiring the structures of their first language.  Teachers who help parents maintain home language acquisition contribute to a strong family relationship as the children grow.  (Once the children’s English level surpasses that of their parents and if they don’t learn their parent’s native language, how can the family communicate effectively with each other?)

Start with a Strategy

Dr. Eun Kyeong Cho outlined a strategy for working with immigrant children and families who are non-native English speakers.  She states that there are three principles that teachers should try to encompass while recognizing the difficulties teachers face in balancing these with your already numerous responsibilities.

1)   Find ways to enrich the experiences of all students in the class
2)   Utilize the opportunities that diversity and a multicultural environment bring
3)   Meet the needs of individual students and their families as partners of learning

Finally, as with previous recommendations from other NAEYC presenters, Dr. Cho recommends planning an effective strategy.

1)   For the Class: Plan for utilizing instructional methodology and activities to engage the multicultural nature of the class as an asset.
2)   For the Individual: Plan for how to assist individual students who may be having particular challenges adjusting to a new environment and life.
3)   For the Family: Plan for how to engage the Newly Immigrated family in the Newly Immigrated student’s schooling, respecting the family’s cultural norms and values.

Remember the key is to be deliberate, integrative and committed to your strategy!  You can do it and we can help!  Feel free to share on here what has worked for you and/or questions you may have.  Thanks!

Check out below for the sources of this blog:

1) Using standards-based curriculum to support language and literacy development for English-language learners.

Presented by:
Min-hua Chen, Education Specialist, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education;
Vicky Milstein, Principal of Early Education, Brookline Public Schools;
Min-Jen Wu Taylor, Pre-K Teacher, Brookline Public Schools;
James StClair, Kindergarten Teacher, Cambridge Public Schools;
Sandra Christison, Kindergarten Teacher, Boston Public Schools.

They haven’t posted their slides yet, but if they do, it will be available here.

2) Home Language or English?  Implementing program policies and teaching strategies that meet the needs of dual-language learners

Presented by:
John Gunnarson, Napa Valley College.

Click here for his handout.

3) Getting it right for young children from diverse backgrounds: Applying research to improve practice

Presented by:
Dr Linda Espinosa, University of Missouri-Columbia.

She hasn’t posted her slides yet, but if she does, it will be available here.

4) Working with families who have recently immigrated: What teachers need to know and be able to do

Presented by:
Dr. Eun Kyeong Cho, University of New Hampshire

She hasn’t posted her slides yet, but if she does, it will be available here.

5) A multicultural show and tell: Exploring children’s literature through culturally responsive teaching

Presented by:
Sherri Weber, Canisius College
Susan G. Popplewell, University of Central Oklahoma

They haven’t posted their slides yet, but if they do, it will be available here.

6) The role of play in cultural transition: When the culture of the home differs from the mainstream culture of the school

Presented by:
Leah Adams, Eastern Michigan University
Mary E. Earick, Plymouth State University

They haven’t posted their slides yet, but if they do, it will be available here.

Upcoming Blogs under the NAEYC Annual Conference Theme:
Part 6:  Research, Facts and Things to Know about Dual Language Learners

Previous Blogs under the NAEYC Annual Conference Theme:
Part 1:  NAEYC Themes, Part 1: Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan’s Presentation
Part 2:  NAEYC Themes, Part 2: Build Positive Relationships with Dual-Language Learning Children
Part 3:  Common Theme #2:  Develop meaningful relationships with parents and families
Part 4:  Common Theme #3:  Communication strategies

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