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How Does Culture Effect our Students in the Classroom?

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Presentation on theme: "How Does Culture Effect our Students in the Classroom?"— Presentation transcript:

1 How Does Culture Effect our Students in the Classroom?

2  It’s important to know what culture is before you can understand how it effects our students.  There are many different definitions of culture.

3  My definition: ◦ Culture is a way of identifying groups of people through common identities – such as customs, language, holidays, religions, institutions, common beliefs, interactions with others, behaviors, etc.  Culture defines all of us.

4  According to Crochunis, T., Erdey, S., & Swedlow, J. (2002), human development and schooling are directly influenced by culture and its values.

5  We all develop our identity from the culture we grow up in.  You may have asked yourself these questions when you were a student.  Our students ask these questions everyday: ◦ Where do I fit in at school? ◦ What’s my role in my family? ◦ How do I balance home life and school life? ◦ What is success? ◦ How do I succeed?

6  How we use our language is largely dependent on our culture (Crochunis et al, 2002). ◦ What are the goals of speaking? ◦ When should I speak? ◦ Whom do I speak to? ◦ In which circumstances is speaking appropriate?

7  My culture is important to me – as a student, as a teacher, and as a part of the community. ◦ That means the culture of others – students and teachers – are just as important to them and should be recognized. ◦ If I (the student) see myself as a valued part of the class, then what I have to say is worthwhile and my opinion will be listened to and not mocked.  This leads to feeling more self-worth, higher self- esteem, and more interaction in class.

8  Self-fulfilling prophecy (Crochunis et al, 2002). ◦ If a teacher believes that the student cannot learn lives up to the lowered expectations of the teacher ◦ If a teacher believes that the student can learn – and learn well, the student will live up to the higher expectations  We all learn in different ways. When my type of learning is used, I can excel with that topic when compared to others in the classroom (from my own personal experience and my observations in the classroom).

9  Cultural Deficit Theory (Crochunis et al, 2002).  Some students can’t achieve because of their culture, ethnicity, language or race.  Teachers can see students from minorities as unable to learn/keep up with the rest of the class. ◦ This leads back to the self-fulfilling prophecy

10  Understand that the language a child brings to school is valuable to that child’s home (Delpit 2006).

11  Self-fulfilling prophecy (Crochunis et al, 2002). ◦ I have seen this at work – with myself when I was a student in middle/high school and with my students. ◦ When there are higher expectations, the student knows that the teacher believes in him/her and will live up to those expectations. ◦ When those expectations are lowered, the student sees him/herself as less worthy and will sink to the levels of the lowered expectations.

12  Choices – some students may not be allowed to make many choices in their schooling (like choosing class electives) (Helmer, S. & Eddy, C. 2003).

13  Parent involvement – the dominant American culture wants parents to be involved in their child’s education (Helmer et al. 2003). ◦ Many cultures believe that the teacher is the expert and does not need parental help ◦ Many parents support teachers – in differing ways

14  The following are issues that I have experienced/seen taking place in the classrooms of my colleagues, the hallways of the school, and my own classroom.

15  Eye contact ◦ some cultures believe that eye contact with an adult is disrespectful  Proximity ◦ some cultures value individual space ◦ other cultures value closeness (Darn 2005).  Play ◦ some cultures value play as a learning experience ◦ some cultures see play as a waste of school time – the student is there to learn

16  Teacher prejudices – we are used to our own culture. We tend to judge other cultures/students based on OUR culture – not theirs.  Stereotyping  Discrimination/Racism

17  Dialects ◦ My own English dialect tends to be different from that of my students because I am from a different state than most of my students. ◦ This leads to some confusion when I use a phrase or term that is common to my community but rarely used in my students’ communities.  Cooperative Learning ◦ Some students don’t know how to work well in group ◦ While still other students may not know how to work well on their own

18  Crochunis, T., Erdey, S., & Swedlow, J. (2002). The diversity kit. Education Alliance: Brown University  Darn, S. (2005, February) Aspects of nonverbal communication. Retrieved from

19  Delpit, L. (2006) Other people’s children: cultural conflict in the classroom. New York: New Press  Helmer, S. & Eddy, C. (2003). Look at me when I talk to you: ESL learners in non-ESL classrooms. Don Mills, Ontario: Pippin.


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