Investigating and seeking input on various topics is an ongoing part of my professional development. Discovering new teaching strategies or understanding concepts is a critical part in working with children. Beyond the classroom lessons and benchmark testing, one large piece to becoming a better teacher is recognizing your students’ differences and individual needs. An area rarely seen in professional development workshops or discussed in grade meetings is that of cultural influences and its impact on the students’ academics.
It is understood that family and home issues affect student’s behaviors and academic performance, but does the country of origin play a role? With a larger population of immigrated students this year, I am beginning to see commonalities amongst my most recent immigrated students. I see their struggle to find space to fit in amongst the social networks of middle school, and their approaches to these obstacles. As I want to help my students feel comfortable in the school environment, it is a challenge when there are more obstacles in relation to cultural values, traditions, and perspectives. Understanding these views from the student and their families will go a long way in determining strategies to best resolve the variety of issues I see these children deal with daily.
As an 8th grade teacher of mathematics and science in the special education setting many experiences cross my path every day. I have been able to work with children with varying learning disabilities and behavioral issues, varying home life and values, and cultural backgrounds. Does their cultural identity play a role in those expectations? Does this affect their desire or need to gain acceptance from the community, school, and classmates?
The acculturation process can impact a child’s educational future. Specifically Caribbean immigrants in the New York City area have a high school dropout rate of 23.53% among males and 19.66% among females according to the Board of Education. As a teacher I have observed students succeeding and struggling with becoming acclimated to school, forming friendships, and cultural adjustments. I have been able to work with children that have varying learning disabilities and behavioral issues, differing home lives and values, and cultural backgrounds. What can we do to assist them in overcoming the acculturative stressors they face? Please comment...conversation to be continued.