Draw on students’ experiential background and skills to meet learning goals.
Students learn best when their home language, learning preferences, and community practices are leveraged to further advance their academic, socio-emotional, and spiritual development. Teachers can improve English learners (ELs) learning outcomes by using culturally and linguistically responsive teaching practices (Tharp et al., 2000; Villegas & Lucas, 2002) that draw upon students’ cultural and linguistic resources by accessing their prior knowledge and relevant experiences and skills. These practices have been found to develop literacy comprehension and decoding/encoding skills among ELs (August & Shanahan, 2006; Escamilla et al., 2013).
Indicators of Student-Centered Value of Learners
- acknowledges the diversity of the students in their classroom by including the multiple cultural identities that children have acquired from their home/community practices;
- offers opportunities for students to use their different learning preferences by engaging them through various forms of learning such as dancing, singing, art, and music participation;
- values students’ home language as a resource for learning across different disciplines;
- learns about students’ and families’ funds of knowledge (Gonzalez, Moll & Amanti, 2005), cultural and linguistic resources, and experiential practices by engaging students, parents, and community members in the development and application of place-based learning;
- practices multiple ways of valuing success in the classroom by including academic, socio-emotional, spiritual, and social justice approaches to learning and assessment;
- assures children’s participation in their learning by embracing a stance that ALL children can learn, and
- makes the classroom culture inclusive of ALL children.