Cultural and Linguistic Differences in Education

Subject: Education
Pages: 9
Words: 2459
Reading time:
9 min
Study level: Master

It is crucial for education specialist teachers to reflect on cultural-linguistic diversity because it affects students’ performance in school. Teachers prefer that students should grasp whatever they are taught in school. However, due to the cultural diversity, the students may resist some of the things they are taught, and this will affect their learning. Additionally, students from a different culture may experience culture shock, which can instill fear in them, affecting their studies (Rodríguez-Izquierdo et al. 2). For instance, a 6-year-old who joins an American school from a Mexican school can find it challenging to adapt to the new system of American schools. For example, students in American schools participate in role plays while they are in class. However, in Mexico, a traditional education system is used to come from the student. The student will have difficulty learning the subjects taught in the new school. It is, therefore, essential for the education specialists to consider cultural diversity to ensure that all students’ needs are catered for.

Additionally, reflecting on the cultural and linguistic diversity enables education specialists to devise techniques that can be used to assist students from a different culture. According to Culture (1), students who originate from a different culture require special attention than their classmates. As a result, teachers should handle them differently to ensure that they are on the same level as their counterparts. Therefore, the education specialist’s reflection on the issue will ensure that relevant materials and technology are included when designing the curricular. Additionally, it makes the teacher recognize that every student is different, and diverse assessment techniques are involved when examining their capability. Using a similar examination method can be unfair to the students originating from another culture, which cannot show a true reflection of the student’s ability. Therefore, a reflection of the student diversity anticipates the disparity that can be realized in learning and propose a relevant mitigation measure.

My religious culture has greatly influenced my perception of working with students with disabilities. I was raised in a Christian family, and I have always adhered to the Christian teachings. As a result, I adopted a culture of treating people equally regardless of their state because it is regarded as a spiritual blessing (Learning About Other Cultures 2). I have, therefore, always treated all students the same irrespective of the nature of the disability. This culture has thus instilled in me a positive perception, and I often attend to the students with a disability equally. Moreover, I enjoy working with the disabled since one of the Christian values advises that fortunate people should always provide help to the unfortunate and put the needs of the disabled before their ambitions. As a result of this, I have developed a selfless habit where I usually give my all to ensure that the disabled are safe and well taken care of in the classroom.

I can provide culturally relevant instruction to students with disabilities from diverse cultures by limiting specific examples. The examples to be used should be vague, and this will not make the student feel targeted or excluded when giving illustrations. Vague examples enable the student to have an open mind when internalizing the instructions. Additionally, I can use technology to explain a concept to the students who are disabled and are from different cultures. Although the cultures vary, the idea of technology is usually similar. This, therefore, implies that when the use of technology, such as projections, is involved in illustrating the instructions, students will have a hint of what the teacher is talking about thus may not become rigid in their thinking.

The difference between BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills) and CALP (Cognitive Academic Languages Proficiency)

  • BICS usually occur when contexts and props are used to support the delivery of a language. This is implying that face-to-face demonstrations can be used to illustrate a situation. For example, non-verbal communication can be used to ensure that the audience understands what is being presented. The actions performed by hand and eye can help in supporting the use of verbal language.
  • It usually takes few years to acquire the BICS. Approximately two years are needed for the student who originates from a linguistic background to understand the context-embedded social language fully.
  • It takes a short period because:
  • The students usually ask for repetition and clarification of statements
  • Observation of visuals such as pictures and concrete objects which are visible
  • It also focuses on the use of voice cues such as stress, intonations, and phrasing.
  • BICS are usually used in daily interactions. This implies that students use them to interact with their peers.
  • There is no guarantee that students who achieve high standards in BICS can excel in CALP.
  • Calp occurs when there is a reduction in the context. This implies that it is experienced where an individual is using thinking skills such as synthesis, analysis, and evaluation. It is usually used in academic studies and is essential for the curriculum.
  • It takes a long duration for the student to understand the CALP. In most cases, a period of five to seven years is required to understand the concept.
  • CALP takes long because:
  • Literacy demands are high. This implies that language used in the materials used for learning is written n in a language beyond the learner’s proficiency.
  • Face-to-face interaction is minimal.
  • The knowledge of the culture/linguistic is required in order for the student to understand what is being illustrated fully.
  • It also lacks non-verbal cues.
  • CALP is used in the academic setup. This illustrates that they are used in formal education setup.
  • Most student who performs well in CALP is usually good in BICS.

It is necessary for education specialist teachers to understand the distinction between BICS and CALP concepts of language proficiency because students who excel in BICS are not necessarily expected to perform in CALP. BICS is usually easy to understand, and most students can grasp the content within a short period. Peers also play an essential role in impacting their friends with BICS. Therefore, most students are able to demonstrate BICS with ease. However, CALP requires a bit of patience to demonstrate its understanding. The tolerance is to be exhibited by both the teacher and the student in equal measure. BICS focuses on the social language, and this implies that the language used in this context is simple and can often change when the slang of social groups alternates. However, CALP is a complex language that is specific to a given subject and rarely changes. The distinction can also provide the teacher with an insight into what to expect and where to begin the lesson. Students who show poor performance in BICS require the teacher to explain the basis of a language first before delving into the complex aspect of the course. Therefore, the education specialists should understand the differences to eliminate any confusion that can be realized when students use BICS instead of CALP in handling academic classes and papers.

I could address both types of language proficiency for students with moderate/severe disabilities by first introducing the BICS. The use of BICS will help in determining the student’s capability to use the English language. This, therefore, implies that before introducing the CALP concept to students with disabilities, they should be adequately empowered with BICS. Only students who will show high capability in BICS will be gradually be introduced to CALP. However, the use of BICS will be accompanied by examples and demonstrations to ensure that the student transitions slowly to the new concept of learning. Additionally, I will ensure that every student with a moderate or severe disability is attended to differently. Disabled students require special attention, and each should be given a different approach. Therefore, every student will be allocated their time while administering the BICS or CALP because they have different capabilities and may respond to instructions differently.

Writing a note to Maria’s family could have proved to be problematic because the family could not have known how to read English, having relocated to the US a few months ago. It can be concluded that they are only able to only speak in Spanish and not English. As a result, the language barrier could have prevented them from understanding what the teacher was demanding. Additionally, Maria, being a child, could have forgotten to present the note to the family. Children are usually forgetful, especially if they are given a task beyond their understanding. Although providing the letter to Maraia was seen as a simple act, her lack of knowledge of the seriousness of the matter could have made her forget to present the note to the parents. Moreover, the message could have been misinterpreted by the parents. Although letters are usually simple to understand, they can be misunderstood by the parents, and this can alter the meaning and the intention s of writing the note. Therefore, the expected outcome cannot be achieved. Finally, when involved in writing the note, there is no guarantee of getting a response. The parents could assume the information in the message and focus on other issues.

Mr. Bennett should accompany Maria to their home after school work. In most cases, students usually part from their school after the school work and attend to other things. MR Bennet should, however, take Maria to their home and explain to the parents their student’s performance in school. Usually, face-to-face communication is suitable for such cases because it provides instant feedback. The teacher can therefore seize this opportunity and have verbal communication with the family members. This will make the parents see the seriousness of the issue and give it the appropriate attention required. Secondly, Mr. Bennett should raise the case with the school’s administration and leave it for the administers to take action. Usually, parents often believe that a matter is only serious when the administration is involved. Therefore, they can respond fast when the administration requires their action, especially when it concerns their children’s academic performance in school. Besides, the administration has the parents’ information, including their physical address; therefore, they can use various communication strategies, including sending a messenger to the known physical location, which can ensure that the firsthand information is delivered to the parents of Maria.

Language barrier should be the first thing to consider when communicating with the parents of children from a diverse culture. Children from a mixed culture are likely to e speaking a foreign language. As a result, their parents can be having poor proficiency in the English language. Therefore, the teacher must determine if the parents speak the same language and understand what is being communicated to them. Through these, proportionate feedback will be provided, and both the teacher and the parents will understand each other. The second recommendation will be for the teacher to determine the availability of the parents. Most parents from a different country are usually on the constant work as they try to provide for their families. As a result, they are often committed to other tasks, and the teacher should always consider this aspect before contacting them. Finally, it is crucial to take into consideration the school policy. Some parents may originate from a culture that requires one to follow the laid procedures strictly. However, schools usually have different communication channels and systems that are always discussed with the parents. Therefore, the parents will be pleased to respond if the correct communication channel is used in communication rather than a random teacher directly communicating to them.

First and foremost, Mr. Stone should broaden his awareness and insight into the diverse issues affecting his students, families, and communities. According to Cultural Responsiveness (2), it is manducatory for teachers to familiarize themselves with the culture of their students, whether the culture is represented in the class or not. This will ensure that the teacher becomes relevant when demonstrating or providing instructions with what the students understand. Additionally, it may give a teacher a broader view of culture. Thus, he may avoid being too specific or vague instructions to ensure that the students relate with what is being demonstrated.

Second, the teacher can involve the students in their class through discussions or providing stories. Being that the teacher is from a rural setup and is only familiar with one culture, he can get examples from the students. He should make the class an interactive session where students provide models for their learning. This will make the students use relevant examples and stories that they are aware of. Moreover, students can participate in role-plays during class hours. This will make sure that every student is unloved in the learning process, and they will have to perform the role of famous people in their community. This will give them an insight into what is demonstrated and link it to the curriculum, thus improving the performance of the overall class.

Moreover, Mr. Stones should embrace the use of a variety of sources. This is because the course textbook can be too specific or detailed and uses one example that can be relevant to only a single community. Therefore, he should adopt a variety of sources in addition to the class textbook to provide curricular content. Through this, a number of culturally relevant examples and cases will be used during the class presentation (Culturally Responsive Instruction 3). The students will also develop a broad perspective of handling different situations, ensuring that boredom is lowered.

Third, Mr. Stones should familiarize himself with the student’s linguistic diversity. Students who come from different cultures will have various accents, which can limit their levels of understanding. At times they may not be eloquent with the English language. Therefore, the teacher should ensure that basic sentences are used when illustrating a point. The teacher should not assume that every person can speak the same language as experienced in the rural setup. Through this, the students from diverse cultures will be able to internalize the information, thus improving their academic performance. Additionally, the teacher should concentrate on the student’s answers instead of focusing on how the solution is said.

Cultural diversity may present a variety of ways of answering questions. Some students can prefer dramatization of the answers, while others may like to provide short and straight solutions. Therefore, the teacher should be open to any method of answering the question as long as the objective is met. This will ensure that a rapport is developed with the teacher, and every student will be confident in presenting the answers in a manner that they deem suitable and befitting to their culture. Additionally, presenting an opportunity for every student to speak will make the classmate familiarize with their different accents. The teacher, too, will understand the student’s illustrations, which will also boost confidence; hence, there will be a tremendous improvement in the class performance.

Works Cited

Cultural Responsiveness. What influence does culture have on a student’s school success? IRIS Center.

Culturally Responsive Instruction. What influence does culture have on a student’s school success? IRIS Center.

Culture. Cultural Responsiveness. What influence does culture have on a student’s school success? IRIS Center.

Learning About Other Cultures. What influence does culture have on a student’s school success? IRIS Center.

Rodríguez-Izquierdo, Rosa M., Inmaculada González Falcón, and Cristina Goenechea Permisán. “Teacher beliefs and approaches to linguistic diversity. Spanish as a second language in the inclusion of immigrant students.” Teaching and Teacher Education 90 (2020): 103035.