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Reflections on Teaching in a Multicultural Classroom. Martina Flores & Tere Troncoso NSTWP 2006 Teaching Demonstration About us. Bilingual Instructional Specialists Working with Bilingual/ESL teachers

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reflections on teaching in a multicultural classroom

Reflections on Teaching in a Multicultural Classroom

Martina Flores


Tere Troncoso

NSTWP 2006 Teaching Demonstration

about us
About us
  • Bilingual Instructional Specialists
  • Working with Bilingual/ESL teachers
  • Martina was born in South Texas, in a border town and was totally immersed in English when she entered pre-first grade. She suffered a long silent period, approximately three years.
  • Tere was born in Mexico City and came to the United States after finishing a semester at the University of Mexico. She had had some English classes throughout her school life, but was surprised to find that her English experiences had not prepared her for communicating with mono-lingual English speaking people.
  • Both of us felt as if our tongue had been cut off.
  • Upon reflection of our similiarities and differences we decided to research the implications of second language aquisition.
who cares a qu en le importa from the dream on blanca s wall by jane medina
“Who Cares?”/¿A quíen le importa?From The Dream on Blanca’s Wallby Jane Medina

“I can’t read this, Blanca.”

My third grade teacher shoved the flat white square covered with tiny Spanish letters back across her desk.

“My dad wrote this note to tell you we’re going to Mexico for a month, and to please

give me homework.”

-(Medina, 2004, p.40)

using a trifold for pre writing
Using a trifold for pre-writing

Inside the left flap, write your philosophy or thoughts on teaching in a multicultural classroom where many of the students could be second language learners.

using a trifold to create a literacy map
Using a trifold to create a literacy map
  • Create a literacy map.
  • Start from your earliest recollections.
  • Include your personal exposure to second language experiences.
using a literacy map to facilitate writing
Using a literacy map to facilitate writing

Using your literacy map select a time in your life which you would like to write about and share with your group.

i felt like my tongue was cut off
“I Felt Like My Tongue Was Cut Off”

“When my husband first arrived from Argentina, he felt as if his tongue had been cut off. He was unable to communicate as he had in his homeland. His sense of humor, which normally attracted a crowd, was lost. His quick wit in the context of a testy conversation disappeared. His knowledge of the world and of his profession could not be tapped. His opinions on politics could not be shared. His sense of fun and teasing were not understood. When he did start to speak English, his jokes, which he insisted on telling, never translated right. His newly aquired swear words were always spoken at the wrong times. His incorrect sentence structures often hid the meaning of his words. And he found that most people would not accept his imperfect speech.”

(Cappellini 2005, p.2)

we must be wary of the privileging of literate behaviors
“We must be wary of: the privileging of literatebehaviors…”
  • “Greater respect is given to parents who follow a teacher model of parenting.”
  • “The more the child has a caregiver who acts like a teacher, the more the child is considered educable.”
  • “There is a distance between what schools expect parents to do and what parents actually know how to do.”
  • “Usually it is the mother who gets blamed for not bridging that gap, not the father or the teacher.”

-(Zentella, 2005, p.24)

seeing what s there con respeto
“Seeing What’s There, Con Respeto”
  • “For those voices to be heard clearly, it is necessary to look beyond sterotypes with genuine respeto (respect) to see what is really there.”
  • “The comfort of our stereotypes is ultimately destructive because the anger, shock, and/or dismay they produce blind us to the resources for learning that exist in all homes and to the possiblities for growth in everyone.”

-(Zentella, 2006, p.178)


“Being totally immersed in English so young, I suffered a silent period/had once been very outgoing and talkative in Spanish/suddenly had no voice. I spent my primary years reading the teacher’s lips to see how to pronounce words.”

-Kinder Bilingualteacher 2006


I was pretty much stuck with worksheets analyzing words and never enjoyed writing. So after I became a teacher, I took writing training because I really want my students to love writing and actually learn to write.

-5th grade Bilingual teacher 2006

personal reflection
Personal reflection
  • On inside right flap, write a reflection.
  • Think about what you need to do to prepare yourself for the challenge of teaching in multicultural classroom.
  • Remember that some of your students might be second language learners.
is reflection worthwhile
Is Reflection Worthwhile?
  • After doing this activity and reflecting on your own learning, do you think having a reflection time in the classroom is worthwhile?
  • Do you think it enhances learning?
  • Would it matter what language the students are reflecting in?

Ways to use trifold to facilitate and display students’ writingAllow time for students to create and decorate the outside of the trifold. Extensions

works cited
Works Cited

Cappellini, M. (2005). Balancing Reading & Language Learning: A Resource forTeaching English Language Learners, K-5. Portland Maine: Stenhouse Publishers, and Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association.

Medina, J. (2004). The Dream on Blanca’s Wall: Poems in English and Spanish. El sueño pegado en la pared de Blanca: Poemas en inglés y español. Honesdale, Pennsylvania: Wordsong Boyds Mills Press, Inc.

Zentella, A. C. (2005). Building on Strength: Language and Literacy in LatinoFamilies and Communities. New York, New York: Teachers College Press, and Covina, California: Association for Bilingual Education.