A welcoming and responsive classroom includes both our approach to teaching and the physical environment.
Culturally responsive teaching is how instructional staff demonstrate through strategies, their cultural competence. Here are a few things you can do immediately:
- Learn how to pronounce each child’s name… correctly. There is nothing wrong in asking the child if you are saying it correctly.
- Have welcome or hello in each language represented in your classroom. What a wonderful way to say, “You are welcome here.”
- Learn one or two words in the languages represented. Better yet, ask the student to teach you (or the whole class!) a few words.
- Learn about the communication preferences of the parents and caregivers of your students and plan for translation and interpretation accordingly.
There are a lot of things as a classroom teacher that are out of your control. Creating a welcoming environment in your classroom is within your control. Look around your room. What do you see? Now, look through the lens of a child who is culturally different than you. What do you see?
Here are a few easy things to do:
- Use visuals that reflect diversity.
- Display pictures of students and their families. Show visual representations of their cultural traditions.
- Have books that represent the different cultures. If you aren’t sure where to find books, ask their families if they have any.
- Use pictures with your schedule. Use pictures along with words in the classroom.
- Incorporate activities that support language:
- Parallel sitting: As the 2nd language learner is playing, sit next to him/her. As the child plays/works, give a step-by-step narration of what he/she is doing.
- Self-Talk: As you, the teacher, are doing something, narrate what you are doing.
- Total Physical Responsiveness: Use your whole body to act out while speaking.
Check out these ReadyRosie Modeled Moments that can support you: