Teach English in Wulanbutong Sumu - Chifeng Shi

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Early Childhood Schools today, both internationally and nationally are filled with students from a diverse range of cultures. To ensure that these children and their families feel a sense of belonging and well-being it is essential to value their views, cultural practices and overall expectations from the teachers and the center (Smidt, 2006). Early childhood curriculum today is largely based on student interests that are discovered during unstructured play activities. These interests arise from the FUNDS OF KNOWLEDGE the child has assimilated from the social, cultural and historical practices of the family, community or country it comes from (Chesworth, 2016). Some teachers have a deficit view of the cultural knowledge that children carry into the classroom (Hogg, 2010) while others look for meaning in the actions of the children, trying to co-create an emergent curriculum, a combination of what the child initiates and teacher finds relevant to learning, which is carried out through project based inquiry (Hedges,2007). Home-based activities seen in play like children making imaginary pasta or dosas with clay can begin an inquiry of the resources different families use to make food , the preparation of lists, measurement of ingredients and the cooking process (Hedges,2007). Teachers sometimes see variations in children with relation to eye to eye contact, touch, silence, personal space, smiling, time concepts, gender roles, adult authority and autonomy and these usually indicate differences in the cultural practices the child has encountered and thus the funds of knowledge it brings to school (Epstein, 2009). Research encourages teachers to investigate the life experiences of the child’s growing up years and use this authentic information to format a multicultural curriculum applicable to the diverse group of children (Hogg, 2010). Delpit (1995) asserts that this will be possible only when teachers recognize that they are also cultural beings with their own funds of knowledge (Delpit, 1995). Lindahl (2015) suggests that teachers conduct home visits, interview families, visit community events, invite guest speakers of different communities into the school, have students create and present a photo essay of a typical weekend or special events at home to share with peers and in addition host an event at school where different communities showcase their art, culture, food or clothing (Lindahl, 2015). The initiation of lifelong respect for people of all cultures, minorities, languages and socio-economic backgrounds in the early childhood classroom begins with respect for the funds of knowledge individual students bring into the early childhood classroom. Students and families of different backgrounds come to the early childhood classroom with DIFFERENT WORLDVIEWS of what education means to them. Cultural groups with a collective ideology stress on conformity, academic rigor and identifying with the group while individualistic cultures uphold ideals of academic choice, self-care and individual achievement (Triandis, 1995). For some minorities or linguistic groups, maintaining their cultural language, practices and identity may supersede everything else that is done in the classroom. Spirituality, religion, cultural practices influence the views of different groups, their body language, clothing, and goals through education and it is one of the aims of education in the multicultural classroom today, to bring acceptance and empathy between teachers and their students and between the students themselves (Bigelow, et al., 2007). An inability of teachers to understand the different views and values of the child’s family and home culture can lead to a damage of individual and community esteem and disruption in family communication patterns, which could lead to incomplete development of both the home language and English (Bigelow, et al., 2007). Teachers in the early childhood center must collaborate to create strategies and practices to support multiculturalism. Language Learning Teachers should encourage children to speak their home language in the classroom whenever they want to express something, and to simultaneously learn the English Language so that children feel confident as communicators and make connections between words of both the home language and English (Ministry of Women & Child Development, 2014). The children can create personal vocabulary books where a visual, the word in the home language and in English are written side by side to enhance their learning of English(Clarke,2009). The Ministry found that language acquisition takes place in the first three years of life and peer interactions leading to social competency take place in the next three years when children are in early childhood schools. In order to facilitate social learning, simple communication must be encouraged without giving importance to grammatical competence (Clarke, 2009). In early childhood centers where infants and toddlers are cared for, teachers must familiarize themselves with simple words used to soothe, feed or converse with the child at home and use these repetitively in addition to using English, when communicating with the child so that the transition from home to school and back home is seamless and the child feels a sense of belonging in the center (Clarke, 2009). Clarke also emphasizes that interactions with infants and toddlers must be positive and nurturing in order to develop trusting relationships between the caregiver and child ( Siraj- Blatchford &Clarke;, 2000 as cited in Clarke, 2009). These children will simultaneously acquire both the home languages and English at the same time. Children beginning school in pre-kindergarten or kindergarten will experience sequential acquisition of English since they begin learning it after becoming fluent in the home language (Clarke, 2009). Language development takes place in the sequence of listen-speak-read-write, learning English thus begins with basic speaking using simple English and listening to songs, rhymes, stories and drama (Ministry of Women & Child Development, 2014). The use of visual images, non-verbal gestures and actions while speaking strengthens connections between English and the home language (Clarke, 2009). Activities that integrate all the languages found in the classroom include counting of numbers in multiple languages, learning common words in different languages, singing songs of different regions and communities, learning names of foods in different languages and encouraging children to share their home experiences(Ministry of Women & Child Development, 2014). Reference List Reference List Alcott,B.&Rose;,P.(September, 2017).Learning in India’s Primary Schools: How do disparities widen across the grades? International Journal of Education Development.Vol-56.2017.(pp-42-51).Elsevier Ltd. 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