Cultural and Linguistic Differences

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Cultural and Linguistic Differences

Cultural and Linguistic Differences

Shabana P. Siddiqui

ECE 405: Children and Families in a Diverse Society

Inst. Lammert-Arndt

6/14/12

Linguistic Differences 01

People from all walks of life have gathered in the United States to live their lives. What

follows is a flood of cultural and linguistic differences. The way one person from a particular

culture would say” hi” could be another person’s cultural way of saying “bye”. When children

from different cultures, who have had cultural teachings instilled in them, unite in a classroom

setting, there is some amount of confusion and frustration. Maria a Spanish student in Mr.

Bennett’s class, is experiencing difficulty in her classroom assignments and in expressing herself

in the classroom.

Marias bilingualism is addressed with frustration and hopelessness. Mr. Bennett

expresses frustration about Marias lack of comprehension and that her parents are not

responding to his notes. Mr. Bennett has good interests and wants to help Maria but he isn’t sure

how to go about it. Maria’s unwillingness to respond to Mr. Bennett in the classroom can be due

to cultural differences. It’s possible that students in Mexico do not freely engage in a classroom

discussion with the teacher. The fact that her parents won’t respond to Mr. Bennett’s notes

home, maybe because of a lack of comprehension of the English language on the parents part.

Following are possible reasons for Marias behavior, her tardiness, and her parents’ lack

of involvement in her education: the fact that Maria won’t speak in class could be because she

may be feeling shy or may be children don’t engage in a conversation with the teacher in her

culture. Her tardiness could be the result of mismanagement of time on her parent’s part. It’s

possible that she goes to sleep late, and doesn’t wake up easily in the morning for school, so her

parents let her sleep-in. The parents’ lack of involvement can be due to their lack of

Linguistic Differences 02

understanding of the English language; they may have other worries, or they may work too much

and have little time to deal with Maria’s school and her issues.

“Multicultural education challenges and rejects racism and other forms of discrimination

in schools and society and accepts and affirms the pluralism(ethnic, racial, linguistic, religious,

economic and gender, among others) that students, their communities, and teachers represent”

(York, p. 124 2006). Multicultural education aims to provide equal educational opportunities to

students from diverse backgrounds and cultural groups. Maria’s scenario tells us that the

knowledge of multicultural education on Mr. Bennett’s and the school’s part is crucial if any

success is to be achieved on Maria’s part. The school and Mr. Bennett need to gain knowledge

about Maria’s culture, her families’ values and beliefs and use those to provide guidance and

educate Maria. Mr. Bennett can talk to Maria privately and discuss why she hasn’t been

responding to him during class time and what ways he can incorporate for her to participate.

“Student behaviors such as attention-getting strategies, ways of responding to questions, and

ways of interacting are examples of actions which are influenced by cultural background”

(Ericdigest, 1992). In some races, the female gender is supposed to be shy, to speak in a soft

tone, and to be submissive.

To help Maria succeed, I would do the following: I would get a good understanding of

the level of English that Maria can speak and comprehend. Then working within that level, and

also getting help with a bilingual teacher, I would explain to Maria how schools work in the U.S.

I would also have a bilingual teacher write a note to Maria’s...
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