ERIC Number: ED436085
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999
Preserving Home Languages and Cultures in the Classroom: Challenges and Opportunities.
Soto, Lourdes Diaz; Smrekar, Jocelynn L.; Nekcovei, Deanna L.
Directions in Language and Education, n13 Spr 1999
Decades of research document the powerful academic and socio-affective benefits of a strong home language base and affirmation of home language and culture as a valuable resource. This article explores the implicit challenges, daily realities, opportunities, and practical implications of incorporating language and culture into classrooms as they relate to culturally and linguistically diverse language learners. It describes the daily realities faced by teachers, students, families, and communities, and then offers practical advice for all classroom educators. The following suggestions are given: accept the premise that children are members of diverse family and community systems bringing multiple gifts of language, culture, and wisdom; become an ethnographer: keenly observe children's language capabilities, both in the native language and English; encourage and accept children's attempts to communicate since errors are a normal part of language learning; provide many opportunities for children to communicate; plan authentic integrated communities that allow children to value and appreciate their identities; organize the physical environment to reflect the diversity of cultures in the classroom; build lines of communication among linguistically and culturally diverse families and educators; and initiate dialogues and advocacy work about language and culture among and across organizations and leaders capable of addressing the specific policy needs of young children. Contains many references to recent scholarship in the field and offers suggestions for further reading. (KFT)
Descriptors: Classroom Techniques, Cultural Maintenance, Cultural Pluralism, Elementary Secondary Education, English (Second Language), Heritage Education, Intercultural Communication, Language Maintenance, Language Minorities, Multicultural Education, Multilingualism, Native Language Instruction, Second Language Instruction, Second Language Learning
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Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials; Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, Washington, DC.
Note: Published only one time per year. Available only online.