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Strategy #2: How do language and culture impact learning opportunities?

Whether and how you acknowledge and work with your students' culture, background and language use may influence their opportunities to learn in your classroom. The following resource takes you to the next step of getting to know your students culturally and linguistically.

These are questions to consider when thinking about your learning goals, the activities you have chosen and how you will implement them:

How do language and culture impact learning opportunities?

Consider differences in background and culture

(and potential conflicts between the U.S. and the students' native cultures)

Learn about how students communicate in their own culture

(and potential mismatches in communication approches)

Learn about cultural values of students' families
  • How familier are students with approaches and strategies used (e.g., cooperative learning, whole class discussions, making choices)?
  • How have students been taught (e.g., rote memorization, learning by doing, learning through play, emphasis on creative thinking)?
  • How are voice modifications used to communicate meaning?
  • How are gestures and facial expressions used?
  • What are preferences for personal space?
  • How comfortable is the student with physical contact such as a tap on the shoulder or a pat on the back?
  • What is the role of silence in communication?
  • What is the student's sense of time?
  • How important is learning of first and second language?
  • Which subject matters are valued over others?
  • How much work do students need to do in household or family business?
  • How much involvement do parents expect in their child’s schooling?
  • What are norms for: assertiveness vs. compliance, dominance vs. submission, disclosure vs. privacy, direct vs. indirect communication