Research/tech assistance org
Relationship between FL and cultural responsive teaching
I applaud you for recognizing the importance of "speaking and understanding a second language and culture to enhance work with diverse school populations."
At the Kentucky Department of Education where I work as the Foreign Language consultant, we are involved in a three-week professional development immersion (350 people) training of key practices that will help us work with schools and districts.
Three days of this training focus on cultural responsiveness. Geneva Gay opened this discussion with us. Book study groups are also part of the training and include such books as: A Framework for Understanding Poverty, Literature Study Circles in a Multicultural classroom, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Other People's Children, So Each May Learn, and Between Words: Access to Second Language Acquisition.
As an advocate for foreign language learning, I find that the relationship between English speakers learning a second language and culturally responsive teaching is not often understood or voiced. It is my belief that by not valuing or promoting second language learning in our general k-12 curriculum we undermine the work we are trying to do for our non-English speaking students and continue to uneducate generations of students in skills that will build their cultural competency .
I have seen many schools whose foreign language programs are not supported. These schools are most often the ones that underserve their non-English speaking students.
Not valuing FL programs reflects a culturally unresponsive attitude. When we do school audits or scholastics reviews and service low performing schools, questions that go unasked are: how do the policies, administration and faculty support foreign language learning; how does foreign language instruction in the school reflect current research and best practices (because, unfortunately, there are FL teachers whose instruction proliferates stereotyping)?
Inclusion of well-developed and well-articulated FL programs can be natural sites for learning cultural responsiveness and this is often overlooked. FLs are not part of most states' core curriculum.
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