Considering the individual differences, primary language and cultural background of every learner is important in teaching a second language to the young learners. The linguistically and culturally diverse children come to school with an acquired knowledge based upon the language used in their home. Educators need to be professionals to be knowledgeable in relating to children and families with diverse language and culture. With adequate training, professional teachers can overcome some of the linguistic and cultural challenges and eliminate the negative attitude towards non-English speakers. They will also be skilled in preparing appropriate programs and strategies to enhance children’s learning and foster home-school partnership.
The article, “Linguistic and Cultural Diversity—Building on Americas Strengths” included some recommendations for working with children and families whose language is not English. As I read this article, I have realized that educators must not encourage the child, parents and family members to speak only in English at home especially if they do not have a good command of the language. Using limited English may result in limited and incorrect verbal interactions, and restricted vocabulary growth. Instead, teachers must support home language learning and recognize the connection of the language and culture to the cognitive and emotional development of the child. They must encourage these families to communicate in their native language in order to establish a sense of identity and belonging and prevent family and community destabilization. This article will help me relate to the children and families with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds that are different from my own. It will also help me develop a teaching strategy and a program that will enhance second language learning while involving parents and families in the learning program.
In working with diverse population, it is important to visit the child’s home and community and encourage the family to share some information about their culture and language. Some parents may be invited to give a talk about their country, culture, and community. Others may create a classroom poster or dioramas so other children will learn and appreciate the culture of their classmates.