ERIC Number: ED480228
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000
Critical Issue: Addressing Literacy Needs in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Classrooms.
Willis, Arlette Ingram
The rapidly shifting demographics of school-aged children, as well as continuing projections for the future, suggest that the enrollment of children who are culturally and linguistically different from what is considered the mainstream U.S. culture will continue to increase. The diversity of students in today's classrooms underscores the importance of developing curricula, teaching strategies, and policies to help all students succeed in school. Efforts to welcome, understand, and affirm all students, and to treat their cultural and linguistic backgrounds as equally valid and important, should be reflected in every facet of the school environment. This approach is especially important when addressing "literacy for an increasingly diverse student population." Effective literacy instruction builds upon the cultural and linguistic backgrounds, ways of making meaning, and prior knowledge that all children bring to the classroom. Such instruction also acknowledges the important role of "culture" in language and literacy learning. Understanding and respecting the array of different cultures and languages represented in their classrooms helps educators adopt strategies for teaching literacy that will encourage and support student achievement. This paper discusses addressing literacy needs in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. It consists of the following sections: Issue; Overview; Goals; Action Options; Pitfalls; Different Viewpoints; (Illustrative) Cases; and Contacts. The paper focuses on the different knowledge bases needed by teachers in diverse classrooms: self knowledge; cultural knowledge; linguistic knowledge; culturally informed teaching knowledge; knowledge of multicultural materials and literacy methods; and knowledge of home-school relationships. (NKA)
Descriptors: Cultural Differences, Educational Environment, Educational Objectives, Elementary Secondary Education, Knowledge Base for Teaching, Literacy, Multicultural Education, Student Diversity, Student Needs, Teacher Role
North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, Editorial Offices: NCREL, 1120 E. Diehl Rd., #200, Naperville, IL 60563. Tel: 800-356-2735 (Toll Free). For full text: http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/content/cntareas/reading/li400.htm.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: North Central Regional Educational Lab., Oak Brook, IL.