How to Be Interculturally Responsive to Your English Language Learners' Writing Needs

How to Be Interculturally Responsive to Your English Language Learners' Writing Needs

Kathryn Jones (Capella University, USA) and Jason R. Mixon (San Augustine Independent School District, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1962-2.ch003
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The goal of this chapter is to provide an overview of intercultural responsiveness (IR) in conjunction with taking an extensive inquiry into the three IR components. The knowledge of and strategies for cultural awareness, intercultural sensitivity, and cultural responsiveness are presented to edify and cultivate teachers of English language learners. With the foundational background of IR, educators will then be able to support their ELLs while they learn the writing process. It is understood from seminal research that all students that are learning to write will proceed within a prescribed sequence; additionally, the language learners will follow phases of second language acquisition (SLA) in their own progression. This chapter will review the phases of SLA, the five-step writing process resulting in recommendations that will benefit ELLs, and enhancements in pedagogy for teachers to subsist their instructional practices.
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Language learners are attending U.S. public schools nationwide (Cohen, 2010; Ruiz, Soto, Hooker & Batalova, 2015) at a rapidly increasing rate. Across the nation, there has been overwhelming continuous growth of the ELL student population (Murphey, 2014; National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, 2011; National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019; Samson & Collins, 2012; Snyder, de Brey, & Dillow, 2016). Ruiz, Soto, Hooker, and Batalova (2015) reported 4.85 million English Language Learners (ELLs) in U.S. schools, which accounts for almost 10% of the students in U.S. public schools. There has been a steady population increase in ELLs for the past decade (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2014; National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019; National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, 2011; Pandya, Batalova, & McHugh, 2011; Samson & Collins, 2012). Throughout history, ELLs were typically immigrants to the U.S.; however, currently the majority of public- school enrolled ELLs are native born Americans. “The majority of LEP children enrolled in school, also known as English Language Learners (ELLs), were U.S. born: 85% of pre-kindergarten to 5th grade ELL students and 62% of 6th to 12th grade ELL students” (Zong & Batalova, 2015, p. 1). These students have been born in the U.S., however their diversity and their cultures are individually unique.

Diversity refers to the variety and differences that compose a group (Banks, 2016; Rosado, 2008). For the last two decades, diversity of students in the classroom has been continuing to be on the rise in comparison to the diversity of the teacher workforce causing a cultural mismatch (Barnes, 2006; Colombo, 2005; Cooper, 2007; Lessow-Hurley, 1996; National Center for Educational Statistics, 2014; Shen, Wegenke, & Cooley, 2003; White-Clark, 2005; Wiggins, Follo, & Eberly, 2007). According to Kena et al. (2016), it was estimated that 45% of our nation’s students were from ethnic minority families; however, 83% of their teachers were Caucasian. The drastic mismatch of cultures is recognized to be between the students and teachers. It could be simply the mismatch of language, cultural background, societal status, ethnicity, religion, and even hobbies (Ambe, 2006).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Intercultural Responsiveness: The blending of multicultural awareness, intercultural sensitivity, and cultural responsiveness bound by self-reflection.

English Language Learner (ELL): A student whose primary language is other than English and whose English language skills are in the process of being acquired.

Sensitive: Caring for and being empathic to others.

Second Language Acquisition: The five-step process of acquiring an additional language.

Aware: Being knowledgeable and mindful in learning and learning.

Culturally Responsive Teaching: Pedagogy that is embedded with cultural influence and cultural responsiveness to meet the needs of our diverse learners.

Responsive: To be actionable in motion.

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