M13U3A2 – Support for Student Cultures in School

Earlier in this module, I had discussed my cultural identity and discovered how I am transcultural as I had blended and synthesized the cultures of my parents along with the dominant culture of where I lived in England.   During my time in Thailand, I feel I have also adapted to the culture and I find myself performing certain characteristics which have become intrinsic to my everyday life.  Such as bowing/wai (the Thai form greeting/respect and other Thai gestures or mannerisms) and speaking Thai.  These became more apparent when I went back home to visit my family in England.

Although I am aware how there are differences between Thai and English culture,  if I react or respond a certain way, then I can adjust myself and respond accordingly.  For example, I’ve gotten used to responding in Thai such as “Kub Khun Krab” and I would bow my head when I receive something.  I remember doing this once in England recently in a supermarket after receiving the bags from the counter and I quickly adjusted by saying “uh…thank you”.

This experience helps me reflect and put into perspective what my students might be going through and any English/behavioural mistakes they may make in the classroom or in their everyday lives.  Some students might be bicultural, multicultural or a third culture child.  As a result of understanding this, it encouraged me to find different strategies to help develop my students improve and become globally/culturally competent in my ELL Science classes.

Earlier in my TEACH-NOW course, I have learned about the student demographics for my Private Government Thai Bilingual School.  Consequently, this research allowed me to dive into the diversity of my students within my school which encouraged myself to adjust and create (unknowingly at the time) a culturally relevant pedagogy. Many times I have heard other teachers/colleagues have stated in the past “the students will learn this way because this is how I was taught in England/USA and this is how they should learn now.  If they don’t get it then they fail!”  This is a result of the fixed mindset, lack of cultural awareness and competency.  I believe in order to be culturally competent and aware, one would have to have an open mindset.

In reference to the video above, Cooks (2015) asks what is holding teachers back from being culturally competent? “What are the barriers?” In response to her own question, she argues ableism, sexism, ageism, ethnocentrism, and racism are factors to take into consideration.  As she suggests how a “big part of prejudice is fear…if something is alien to you, it’s easy to dehumanize it because you can’t relate to it…it’s more safe” (DeAngela Cooks, 2015).
What can teachers do to support this?  In an article by Goodman & Hooks (2016) it describes some strategies to consider for supporting emerging bilingual students could support them, such as;

Dual language documents
Heritage texts
Translation tools
Student authored texts
Read alouds or family book clubs
Teachers’ language learning
Teacher study groups

By using these strategies, it helps teachers “to provide children and their families’ meaningful contexts for learning” (Goodman & Hooks, 2016).

For further reading on the strategies please use this link
Goodman, K., & Hooks, L. (2016). Encouraging Family Involvement through Culturally.

Irvine (2010) states how culturally relevant pedagogy is about teachers taking “students everyday lived cultural experiences and [making] appropriate linkages between what the students know, do and understand”.

I feel I always aim to relate the content to the students, and involve different culture experiences by sharing mine.  Thus, creating opportunities for students to share their experiences in relation to the class topic.  In doing so, I hope I made any “verbal comments or behaviours that exclude, negate, or nullify the psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality of a marginalized individual or group” (DeAngela Cooks, 2015).  As Cooks described how this can happen quite often unconsciously.
However, Florido (n.d) concludes, “the beauty of learning from each country’s efforts to educate your minds and form young hearts in different methods from different cultural backgrounds…helps us to realize that education is fundamental and essential to every person and every nation”.  In order to become culturally competent, it would not only have to be practiced in school but also within our everyday lives, “because what you do in private is going to come out in public anyways” (DeAnegla Cooks, 2015).




DeAngela Cooks. (2015, July 17th). Cultural Competence in the classroom. Retrieved from youtube.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEQMCODGavM


Gollnick, D. M., & Chinn, P. (2013). Foundations of Multicultural Education.
Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society, Ninth Edition (pp. 29-32). New York City: Pearson.

Goodman, K., & Hooks, L. (2016). Encouraging Family Involvement through Culturally. Retrieved from http://www.srate.org/JournalEditions/Volume25-2/Goodman.pdf

Florido, A. M. (n.d). Educational Profile of the Philippines and the best practices in Filipino Schools and Classrooms. Retrieved from nuffic.nl: https://www.nuffic.nl/en/publications/find-a…/education-system-philippines.pdf

Inquiry to Action Group: Social Justice Educators on a Path to Cultural Relevancy. (2014, March/April ). Training Module:  Developing Cultural Competency Among School Staff . Retrieved from Tagphilly: http://tagphilly.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Developing-Cultural-Competency-Among-School-Staff.pdf

Teaching Tolerance. (2010, June 17th). Introduction to Culturally Relevant Pedagogy. Retrieved from youtube.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGTVjJuRaZ8












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