Culturally Responsive Pedagogy IN THE USA:
FORMING LINGUAL PERSONALITY
Krsek O. Y.
Volodymyr Dahl East-Ukrainian National University
Keywords: lingual personality, culturally responsive pedagogy, multicultural еducation, equity pedagogy, international educational medium, polycultural and social-oriented development, polyethnicity.
Крсек О. Педагогика США в условиях культурного многообразия: формирование языковой личности. Статья посвящена проблемам формирования языковой личности в учебных учрежениях США в контексте поликультурности американского общества. Концепция формирования языковой личности рассматривается сквозь призму взаимодействия личных, социальных, политических, этнических, образовательных факторов. Утверждается мысль о том, что формирование языковой личности является важной глобальной тенденцией, вследствие того, что окружение человека становится поликультурным и социально-ориентированным на развитие человека, как и цивилизации в целом, более открытым для формирования международной образовательной среды, национальным по характеру знанийю Актуальность исследования обусловлена требованиями поиска путей совершенствования языкового образования в Украине в условиях поликультурности, полиэтничности, новых социально-политических задач. Цель исследования состоит в том, чтобы изучить, проанализировать, обозначить общепедагогическую мысль и обобщить практический опыт формирования языковой личности в социокультурном и образовательном пространстве США.
Ключевые слова: языковая личность, культурное многообразие, мультикультурное обучение, педагогика равенства, международная образовательная среда, поликультурное и социально ориентированное развитие, полиэтничность.
Culturally responsive pedagogy is based on the premise that students learn best when academic skills and content are situated within the students’ frames of reference and lived experiences . Culture is central to learning. It plays a role not only in communicating and receiving information but also in shaping the thinking process of groups and individuals. A pedagogy that acknowledges, responds to, and celebrates fundamental cultures offers full, equitable access to education for students from all cultures and prepares students to live in a pluralistic society. Culturally responsive teaching is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning. In recent history, social perspectives concerning diversity and the status quo have influenced the inequitable division of academic provisions, which in turn have facilitated the deprivation of equal education for diverse student populations (Artiles, Au, Darling-Hammond, Garcia, Ladson-Billings, Nieto). While political, social, and economic events in United States history have contributed to marginalization of the Hispanic population, they have also served to fortify the rationale for the implementation of multicultural education as a means of addressing their diverse cultural and linguistic learning needs. The multicultural education theory came into being in the 1970s. Since that time it has continued to gain favor among many educators and researchers in the United States (Andersson, Barnitz, Artiles, Au, Banks, Darling-Hammond, Garcia, Gay, Grant, Elsbree, Fondrie, Jackson, Ladson-Billings, Moran, Hakuta, Nieto, Wills) as a possible means of raising the academic achievement of students from diverse backgrounds. The academic achievement gap between diverse and mainstream students spurs continued research in multicultural education. Additional interrelated factors that affect the abilities of teachers to address students’ individual learning needs include teachers’ understanding of personal ethnicity and culture; perceptions of students’ home cultures and languages, learning styles and abilities; as well as knowledge of how culture influences learning (Artiles, Trent, Palmer, Au, Banks, Darling-Hammond, Delpit, Garcia, Gay, Grant, Tate, Hernandez, Ladson-Billings,Nieto, Padrón, Waxman, Rivera, Sleeter, Grant, Smith-Maddox, Wills, Lintz, Mehan ).
Culturally responsive teaching is defined as using the cultural characteristics, experiences, and perspectives of ethnically diverse students as conduits for teaching them more effectively. It is based on the assumption that when academic knowledge and skills are situated within the lived experiences and frames of reference of students, they are more personally meaningful, have higher interest appeal, and are learned more easily and thoroughly . As a result, the academic achievement of ethnically diverse students will improve when they are taught through their own cultural and experiential filters (Au, Kawakami, Foster, Gay, Hollins, Kleinfeld, Ladson-Billings). Educators consider students’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds when making culturally responsive pedagogy selections to facilitate acquisition of new learning in predominantly mainstream learning environments (Andersson, Barnitz, Artiles, Au, Banks, Cochran-Smith, Davis, Fries, Darling-Hammond, Garcia, Gay, Grant, Jackson, Ladson-Billings, Moran, Hakuta, Nieto, Wills). Cultural discontinuity may be minimized or eliminated through the instructional support culturally responsive teachers provide. According to Artiles and Garcia , many educational systems have responded, until recently, to increased student diversity by placing students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds into special education programs for the following reasons: 1. Students had difficulty responding academically or behaviorally to the Americanization process. 2. Educators lacked knowledge and skills specific to the needs of diverse learners. 3. Educators held negative perceptions regarding races, cultures, or languages different from their own.
Culturally responsive teaching strives to align the curriculum with ethnically and racially diverse students’ cultural and experiential perspectives for more effective teaching. Gay G. defines culturally responsive teaching as using the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, and performance styles of diverse students to make learning more appropriate and effective for them; it teaches to and through the strengths of these students. Culturally responsive teaching is liberating (Asante, Au, Erickson, Gordon, Lipman, Pewewardy, Philips). It guides students in understanding that no single version of "truth" is total and permanent. It does not solely prescribe to mainstream ways of knowing. In order to accomplish this, teachers make authentic knowledge about different ethnic groups accessible to students. Gay G. states, "The validation, information, and pride it generates are both psychologically and intellectually liberating" . This freedom results in improved achievement of many kinds, including increased concentration on academic learning tasks. Gay G. also describes culturally responsive teaching as having these characteristics: it acknowledges the legitimacy of the cultural heritages of different ethnic groups, both as legacies that affect students' dispositions, attitudes, and approaches to learning and as worthy content to be taught in the formal curriculum; it builds bridges of meaningfulness between home and school experiences as well as between academic abstractions and lived sociocultural realities; it uses a wide variety of instructional strategies that are connected to different learning styles; it teaches students to know and praise their own and each others' cultural heritages; it incorporates multicultural information, resources, and materials in all the subjects and skills routinely taught in schools [ 2, p. 29].
Delpit L. states, “education, at its best, hones and develops the knowledge and skills each student already possesses, while at the same time adding new knowledge and skills to that base” [3, p. 67]. To achieve this level of teaching, Delpit L. articulates a balance between knowing what to teach our students and learning from them so we might better teach them. Some scholars have established frameworks for culturally responsive teaching. Other improved achievements can include: clear and insightful thinking; more caring, concerned, and humane interpersonal skills; better understanding of interconnections among individual, local, national, ethnic, global, and human identities; and acceptance of knowledge as something to be continuously shared, critiqued, revised, and renewed (Chapman, Foster, Hollins, King, Hayman, Ladson-Billings, Lee, Slaughter-Defoe). Ladson-Billings [11, p. 67]. explains that culturally responsive teachers develop intellectual, social, emotional, and political learning by "using cultural referents to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes" [12, p. 382]. In a sense, culturally responsive teachers teach the whole child [2, p. 67]. Hollins [9, p. 67] adds that education designed specifically for students of color incorporates "culturally mediated cognition, culturally appropriate social situations for learning, and culturally valued knowledge in curriculum content". Culturally responsive teachers realize not only the importance of academic achievement, but also the maintaining of cultural identity and heritage . Ladson-Billings  studied actual instruction in elementary classrooms and observed these values being demonstrated. She saw that when students were part of a more collective effort designed to encourage academic and cultural excellence, expectations were clearly expressed, skills taught, and interpersonal relations were exhibited. Students behaved like members of an extended family-assisting, supporting, and encouraging each other. Students were held accountable as part of a larger group, and it was everyone's task to make certain that each individual member of the group was successful. By promoting this academic community of learners, teachers responded to the students' need for a sense of belonging, honored their human dignity, and promoted their individual self-concepts .
Multidimensional culturally responsive teaching involves many things: curriculum content, learning context, classroom climate, student-teacher relationships, instructional techniques, and performance assessments. Teacher from various disciplines (lanuage arts, science, social studies, music) may collaborate in teaching a single cultural concept, such as protest. Students can also participate actively in their own performance evaluations . Culturally responsive teaching enables students to be better human beings and more successful learners. Empowerment can be described as academic competence, self-efficacy, and initiative. Students must believe they can succeed in learning tasks and have motivation to persevere. Teachers must demonstrate ambitious and appropriate expectations and exhibit support for students in their efforts toward academic achievement. This can be done through attribution retraining, providing resources and personal assistance, modeling positive self-efficacy beliefs, and celebrating individual and collective accomplishments .
Shor I.  characterizes empowering education as: a critical-democratic pedagogy for self and social change. It is a student-centered program for multicultural democracy in school and society. It approaches individual growth as an active, cooperative, and social process, because the self and society create each other. The goals of this pedagogy are to relate personal growth to public life, to develop strong skills, academic knowledge, habits of inquiry, and critical curiosity about society, power, inequality, and change. The learning process is negotiated, requiring leadership by the teacher, and mutual teacher-student authority. In addition, the empowering class does not teach students to seek self-centered gain while ignoring public welfare. For Shor I., empowering education is a student-centered, critical and democratic pedagogy for studying any subject matter and for self and social change. It takes shape as a dialogue in which teachers and students mutually investigate everyday themes, social issues, and academic knowledge. Through dialogue and problem-posing, students become active agents of their learning. This book shows how students can develop as critical thinkers, inspired learners, skilled workers, and involved citizens. Shor I. carefully analyzes obstacles to and resources for empowering education, suggesting ways for teachers to transform traditional approaches into critical and democratic ones.
Culturally responsive teaching does not incorporate traditional educational practices with respect to students of color . It means respecting the cultures and experiences of various groups and then uses these as resources for teaching and learning. It appreciates the existing strengths and accomplishments of all students and develops them further in instruction. For example, the verbal creativity and story-telling that is unique among some African Americans in informal social interactions is acknowledged as a gift and contribution and used to teach writing skills. Other ethnic groups of students prefer to study together in small groups. More opportunities for them and other students to participate in cooperative learning can be provided in the classroom. Banks asserts that if education is to empower marginalized groups, it must be transformative. Being transformative involves helping "students to develop the knowledge, skills, and values needed to become social critics who can make reflective decisions and implement their decisions in effective personal, social, political, and economic action"[12, 13, 14].
There are three criteria that constitute culturally relevant pedagogy: a) academic success, which includes guiding students toward competence in “literacy, numeracy, technology, and social and political skills in order to be active participants in a democracy”; b) cultural competence, which includes utilizing students’ knowledge and experiences to bridge their school learning; and c) critical or sociopolitical consciousness, which includes challenging issues of power and openly confronting racial and social injustices. Frameworks from other scholars include such criteria as: knowing about the lives of our students, having affirming views of students from diverse backgrounds, demonstrating cultural caring and building a learning community, establishing communication across cultures in the classroom, promoting equity and inclusiveness among students, promoting students’ active construction of knowledge, and designing instruction that builds on what our students already know while stretching them beyond the familiar (Gay, Villegas, Lucas).
Mainstream students are likely to learn in educational settings that are similar to their first learning environments, their homes. Conversely, students from diverse backgrounds may experience educational settings that are significantly different from their home cultures. Therefore, students from diverse backgrounds may have difficulty acclimating to school learning environments and acquiring new knowledge. Research studies confirm that addressing students’ culture, language, and social status with appreciation, inclusion, and sensitivity increases their academic successes (Grant, Tate, Jimenez). A teacher or school’s inability to accept and include students’ home cultures and languages may reinforce learning barriers, making it difficult for students to transition from prior home learning to new scholastic learning (Gay, Nieto). Multicultural education and culturally responsive teaching processes address various cultural and language issues Latino students bring from home to school (Artiles, Au, Banks, Delpit, Garcia, Gay, Majors, Nieto, Padrón, Suarez-Orozco, Tatum, Wills). Culturally responsive pedagogy provides avenues that connect students’ prior learning with new knowledge acquisition while demonstrating an appreciation for students’ cultures and languages. Multicultural educators believe that all these reasons perpetuate power issues reflected in social and political arenas in the United States (Au, Banks). They believe that multicultural education provides equal and equitable educational opportunities for all students and may reduce power issues in classrooms. Equity pedagogy is defined by Banks as the modification of teaching in such a way that teachers use techniques and methods that facilitate the academic achievement of students from diverse racial, ethnic, and social-class groups. Equity pedagogy (Banks, Richards, Artiles, Klingner, Brown) includes the availability of the following:
1. Culturally responsive educational materials and content.
2. Educators knowledgeable about all aspects of multicultural education.
3. Multiculturally supportive learning environments.
4. Culturally responsive assessment batterie.
5. Ongoing family and community communication and involvement.
6. Ethnically and culturally responsive curriculum.
7. Integration of cultural responsiveness throughout all academic areas
8. Personnel knowledgeable in culturally responsive behavior management
The principles of culturally relevant pedagogy were defined by Brown-Jeffy S. and Cooper J.  in the following way. Identity Development: This concept highlights the importance of self-acceptance, socioeconomic and cultural influences in relation to both teacher and student. The development of identity is facilitated through the relationships between the aforementioned aspects, and is critical for the student-teacher connection when implementing Culturally Relevant Pedagogy. Equity and Excellence: Within this principle following concepts are addressed: "dispositions, incorporation of multicultural curriculum content, equal access, and high expectations." The integration of excellence and equity in CRP is predicated upon establishing a curriculum that is inclusive of students cultural experiences, and setting high expectations for the students to reach. Developmental Appropriateness: Several concepts collectively define Developmental Appropriateness within the context of CRP. These concepts include, "...learning styles, teaching styles, and cultural variation in psychological needs (motivation, morale, engagement, collaboration)." The goal is to assess students cognitive development progress and incorporate learning activities within the lesson plan that are challenging and culturally relevant. Teaching the Whole Child: Similar to 'Developmental Appropriateness', 'Teaching the Whole Child' is a theme that includes the concepts of "skill development in a cultural context, home-school-community collaboration, learning outcomes, supportive learning community and empowerment." When teaching a child wholly, educators must be cognizant of the socio-cultural influences that have attributed to the learning progress of that child even before they enter the classroom. These outside influences must naturally be accounted for when designing a culturally relevant curriculum. Student Teacher Relationships: The theme of Student-Teacher Relationship within the context of CRP aligns itself closely with the concepts of "caring, relationships, interaction, and classroom atmosphere."Educators must combine the willingness to bond with their students with the desire to grow that relationship into one vested in personal care and professional vigilance.
A specific subject of importance in narrowing the academic achievement gap is literacy instruction. The mainstream has customarily determined the ‘appropriate’ language to be spoken or established the designated codes of expression (linguistic, artistic, or dress choice) and interaction . Therefore, people are often stereotyped and judged negatively because of their language, accent, or dialect. This unfair practice is particularly damaging to children . Delpit affirms: first, teachers should recognize that the linguistic form a student brings to school is intimately connected with loved ones, community, and personal identity. Applying prior learning to the teaching of new language skills can help students learn the rules and process of Standard English and the skills of code switching. Studies demonstrate that children who feel proud of their home language and safe in the classroom environment also feel free to practice and apply new language skills (Artiles, Au, Banks, Delpit, Garcia, Gay, Grant, Tate, Hernandez, Ladson-Billings, Nieto, Sleeter, Grant, Smith-Maddox. Culturally responsive teachers establish a safe and welcoming learning environment, which includes an appreciation for the value of the home language that students bring with them to the classroom. Oral language is much more than just the words that are spoken. Language incorporates cultural behaviors, social conventions, and social interaction. Those aspects influence diverse students’ perceptions and can kindle confusion of the mainstream culture and school expectations. Likewise, the mainstream population’s negative perceptions and confusion about cultures different from their own are fostered when they encounter speakers of foreign languages or dialects (Artiles, Au, Banks, Delpit, Garcia, Gay, Majors, Nieto, Padrón, Suarez-Orozco, Tatum, Wills). Multicultural education provides opportunities for all students to learn more about their own cultures as well as cultures different from their own thereby minimizing possible cultural conflicts. The United States has long been described as a melting pot: a country of immigrants enticed by the promise of the American dream. In addition to suitcases and families, these immigrants brought along with them their various mother tongues and customs, which over the years have become incorporated as an indelible part of the nation’s fabric. United States census information on the most multilingual regions of the US reveals some interesting surprises as to where you can expect to find the most language diversity in the country. California is king when it comes to bi- and multilingual residents. A whopping 42.6 percent of California’s inhabitants speak a language other than English at home. California is well-known for its Hispanic population and, just as Spanish is the second most popular language in the US as a whole, it’s also the second most-spoken language in the state. Other languages with a significant presence include Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese, as well as Arabic, Armenian and Tagalog. New Mexico comes in second place in the rankings of bilingual citizens, with 35.7 percent of the state’s population speaking another language. Unsurprisingly, most of those speak Spanish, but a fair number speak Navajo and/or other Native American languages. Like California and New Mexico, many of Texas’s bilingual residents use Spanish in the home. According to census numbers, 33.9 percent of the state’s residents speak a language other than English at home, such as Chinese, German or Vietnamese. No surprise here! New York state has 28.9 percent of residents speaking a second language. Arizona claims a bilingual population of 28.5 percent, most of them speaking Spanish and, like New Mexico, Navajo and other Native American tongues. New Jersey just misses out on the top five, as 27.8 percent of the state’s residents speak a second language other than English. Due to its proximity to New York, a fair amount of immigrants have settled in the Garden State, contributing to populations speaking Chinese, Gujarati, Portuguese, Spanish — and of course, Italian. Nevada is home to more than Las Vegas glitz and glam, and dry desert landscapes. This western US state is also home to a diverse number of languages, with 27.4 percent of the population being at least bilingual. Chinese, German and Tagalog add to the predominant second language of the Southwest: Spanish. In Florida as a whole, 26.1 percent of the population speaks a second language, including French, German and Italian. Hawaii might not be the first state that comes to mind when you think of language diversity in the US, but Hawaii still makes it into the top ten with 25.5 percent of the Aloha State’s residents claiming to be bilingual. Japanese is quite prominent on the islands, as are Chinese, Korean and Tagalog — along with Hawaiian, the state’s second official language. 21.8 percent of Illinois residents speak a second language, whether it’s Polish in Chicago or the many speakers of Chinese, German and Spanish. The school community uses best practices in language acquisition to support academic development and support in both English and native languages. Culturally responsive teaching is transformative in that it involves helping students to develop the knowledge, skills, and values needed to become social critics who can make reflective decisions and implement their decisions in effective personal, social, political, and economic action. Immigration and ethnic diversity are central characteristics of the American experience. The United States has accepted more immigrants, from more places around the world, than any other nation. During this century, the ethnic mixture of the United States has become increasingly varied, a trend that continues today with waves of new immigration from Asia and Latin America.
In conclusion, linguistic diversity is a resource, not a problem. As discussed by Brecht and Ingold , the U.S. has “an unprecedented need for individuals with highly developed language competencies not only in English, our societal language, but also in many other languages.” The people have a right to maintain their ethnic language and not compromise their U.S. citizenship or their perceived “Americanness.” Languages are the means of communication for the full range of human experiences and are critical to the survival of cultural and political integrity of any people. Language provides a direct and powerful means of promoting international communication by people. Fishman noted that majority-minority relations of exploitation and competition, not language differences, are the source of ethnic tensions. This was echoed by Lopez , who posits that much of the controversy over language in the U.S. has obscured (or perhaps served as a proxy for) racial hostility and conflict. Although the fixation over language policy as a means to increasing equity and opportunities for minorities may lead to the neglect of other more fundamental problems, those involved in language education see an opportunity to promote linguistic pluralism, particularly when faced with an ever growing population of heritage language learners.
Language is not only a tool for communication and knowledge but also a fundamental attribute of cultural identity and empowerment, both for the individual and the group. Respect for the languages of persons belonging to different linguistic communities therefore is essential to peaceful cohabitation. This applies both to majority groups, to minorities (whether traditionally resident in a country or more recent migrants) and to indigenous peoples. In the field of language and education, the recent reports and recommendations of the International Conferences on Education have emphasized the importance of: mother tongue instruction at the beginning of formal education for pedagogical, social and cultural considerations; multilingual education with a view to the preservation of cultural identities and the promotion of mobility and dialogue; foreign language learning as part of an intercultural education aiming at the promotion of understanding between communities and between nation. Education should raise ‘awareness of the positive value of cultural and linguistic diversity’.
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