Developing Cultural Identity Essay

Submitted By sborkenhagen09
Words: 1277
Pages: 6

Developing Cultural Identity Much is to be said about a bilingual learner developing cultural identity. But to understand how cultural identity id developed, we must first understand what cultural identity is. Cultural identity can be defined as the uniqueness of a group, culture, or individual, as influenced by a person’s belonging to a group or culture ( So what happens, then, when a person, specifically a language-learning student, suddenly feels a clash between two different cultures, the culture at home and the culture at school? Bilingual learners develop their cultural identities in a variety of ways, and teachers can use best practices to help preserve, support, and positively contribute to the students’ individual cultural identities in the classroom. When students move from one culture to another, they face many challenges that go just beyond that of learning a language. These challenges need to be on a teacher’s radar. A student has to adjust to a new country, city, or neighborhood. This means the student is facing challenges that could affect promptness, vigilance, attentiveness, and even ability to concentrate. Some implications of this could be that a student may be late to class or may appear to be unaware of what is going on in class. In this situation, an educator would need to be understanding of the student’s adjustments and be prepared to work with the student to create a plan that works. The CLD student is also adapting to a completely new education system. The culture of a school could be 100% different than what the student may be used to. This could be confusing for a CLD student and could slow progress. A new student may not always be welcomed by the new culture or may not agree with the messages the culture creates. This can lead to frustration and anxiety for the CLD student and inhibit with the student’s ability to learn effectively. All of these challenges are potential hurdles that CLD students need to jump over to be successful. As stated above, the culture of a school can greatly influence student outcomes, especially a CLD student. A school’s culture consists of these three ingredients: the attitudes and beliefs of teachers and administrators, the norms and rules that the students and staff follow, and the relationship between the group members. In order for CLD students to be successful, the school culture needs to treat students as individuals, recognize diversity as a resource, allow for appropriate accommodations in a classroom, and reject cultural stereotypes. Sociocultural processes need to be taken into consideration when developing a curricula or lesson plan. A teacher needs to understand enculturation and acculturation. Enculturation is a subtle process where members of a culture are steadily inducted into a home culture, sometimes without even realizing it. As this process takes place, members develop a sense of distinctiveness that forms a set of values, guides, beliefs, patterns, actions, and expectations. Enculturation creates an ethnocentric view for members of a culture that validates social norms. CLD students have to recognize how enculturation influences their actions while adjusting to a new culture in a new language. This is extremely difficult for a CLD student and often has negative and costly effects on the student. Acculturation is the process of adapting to a new or non-native culture. Acculturation can be described best with the U-curve hypothesis. The U-curve hypothesis asserts that acculturation is a sequential process that takes place over four phases. These phases are honeymoon, hostility, humor, and home. The honeymoon phase of acculturation brings with it a sense of excitement for the individual. The CLD student is enjoying the thought of life in a new culture and may be joyful about these new experiences. Because many families of CLD students come to the United States to fulfill a dream or new opportunity,