Teaching Language Arts in a Cross-Cultural Context

You have been asked to consider the instruction of Language Arts through the lens of the cultural/linguistic diversity that is present in Canadian classrooms. This final assignment will assess how you have critically considered select topics and themes of the course.You will write 2 short essays to answer 2 selected questions concerning the ideas and information presented in the course content/readings. Select TWO of the scenarios listed below.Scenarios1. During your APT, you are placed in a fairly remote Aboriginal community with a high number of English as a Second Dialect (ESD) students. In the staff room, you hear your colleagues making comments about how these students are never going to get through school and get ahead if they donâ??t speak Standard English (SE). Having recently taken EDEL 496, you know that these students are speaking a variety or dialect of English known as Aboriginal English and that many teachers misunderstand this topic (to the studentsâ?? detriment). You ask the principal if you can put on a small workshop for the teachers. The principal, delighted, says YES. What content will you include in your workshop? ( Do not do this one)2. In the past two years, your district and school have experienced an influx of immigrant and refugee families whose first languages are not English. Because of your experience through this course, your principal recognizes you as a knowledgeable person on the topic of multiculturalism and cultural inclusion, with a particular sensitivity to the ELL students. She has asked you to construct a brief paper for your colleagues on the topic of English Language Learning and cultural diversity in the classroom. This paper should identify some of the challenges faced by English language learners immersed in an environment that primarily reflects the dominant culture and language, as well as giving some suggestions for developing a language arts program that will help these children be more successful at school. (Do this)3. After graduation, you are hired at a school that has a large number of immigrant English Language Learners (ELLs). During the first parent-teacher interviews, a number of parents (with the help of an interpreter) tell you that they are having trouble speaking English at home because they are not yet proficient in the English language. They are worried that their children will be at a disadvantage if they donâ??t speak English in the home. Drawing on the research, what would you say to these parents to assure them that speaking the first language in the home will actually help, not hinder, their children learning English? Also, explain to the parents how this advice fits with the â?˜diversity as a resourceâ?? approach in your classroom (which is recommended for other types of minority language learners as well). (Do this)4. Making reference to Heathâ??s article, A Lot of Talk About Nothing, and other appropriate course readings/resources, respond to the following quotation. As you do so, focus your comments on the kinds of students you are likely to meet during your APT in Fort McMurray or surrounding communities (e.g. Fort McKay, Fort Chip).Children cannot feel they belong at school when their valuable home-based (language) practices are ignored, denigrated, and unused. They cannot feel like they belong when the real game is acquiring academic varieties of language, and they are given no help with this, as they watch other children get high assessments at school for what they have learned not at school but at home. (Gee, 2004, p. 37)

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