It is my belief that it is our job as educators to prepare students to live in a multiracial world by understanding how race and ethnicity shape an individual's identity. With that being said it is imperative that all students feel comfortable and are included in the classroom environment. I plan on exhausting all resources to ensure that I understand and appreciate all the concepts of the Hispanic culture. I also plan on learning about the specific Hispanic student’s family to improve the student’s academic achievement and self-esteem. At the school that I currently work at, to achevie this, we invite families to school on special occasions just to visit. While the family learns about the school and its policies and expectations, the lead teacher and I can become acquainted with the families.
Another way to get Hispanic student more involved in classroom activities is to invite their culture into the classroom. In the public school that I currently work at we have a large population of Hispanic student including many ELL and ESL students. We constantly encourage these students to share their language and culture with the class. We have show-and-tell every Friday and the students are encouraged to bring in something representative of their culture, if they wish. We also have a cultural word wall, and every Monday one of our Hispanic students teaches the class a word from their native language and we practice using it throughout the week.
As educators it is very important that we are able to adapt to the changing population by being prepared to teach students who speak different languages. In the classroom that I am a paraprofessional for we have two ELL students and it is very important for us to respect and encourage their native language. We must remember that their native language plays a vital role in their emergent sense of self and an essential connection to their family communication. Even without fluency in a student’s native language it is still completely doable for educators to foster English language development.
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