Addressing the Cultural Dissonance of ELLs with Limited Formal Education

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We identify salient cultural differences between individualistic and collectivistic cultures. Within this context, we examine the priorities of North American mainstream educators and those of ELLs with limited or interrupted schooling and consider how educators can establish pathways to culturally new ways of learning for this subpopulation of ELLs.

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Addressing the Cultural Dissonance of ELLs with Limited Formal Education

  1. 1. Addressing the Cultural Dissonance of ELLs with Limited Formal Education TESOL Convention BOSTON 2010 Andrea DeCapua The College of New Rochelle Helaine W. Marshall Long Island University
  2. 2. Students with Limited/Interrupted Formal Education • How do we refer to them? • LFS (Freeman & Freeman, 2002) • SIFE (NY State Department of Education) • SLIFE (DeCapua, Smathers, & Tang, 2008)
  3. 3. Needs of SLIFE • Learn basic and grade-level subject area concepts • Develop basic literacy skills • Develop academic ways of thinking • Adapt to cultural differences in learning and teaching
  4. 4. The Role of Culture in Learning, Teaching, and Understanding Culture acts as a filter or set of lenses through which we view and interpret the world around us. (DeCapua & Wintergerst, 2004)
  5. 5. Culturally-Based Assumptions of Teaching and Learning Literacy The learner comes to school with age- appropriate preparation for literacy development
  6. 6. Literacy Issues • Little print material in home and/or community • Family members have low or no literacy • Language not codified or only recently • Lack of print material available in the native language
  7. 7. Two Important Dimensions of Culture Individualism and Collectivism
  8. 8. Individualism • Personal efforts praised, rewarded • Personal interests, desires, wants primary • Personal judgments • Personal responsibility • “self-actualization” (Hofstede, 2001; Oyserman & Lee, 2008; Triandis, 2000)
  9. 9. Culturally - Based Assumptions of Teaching and Learning Individualism • One goal of K-12 instruction is to produce an independent learner • Students come to school with an urge to compete and excel as an individual (DeCapua & Marshall, 2009; Marshall 1998)
  10. 10. Collectivism • People see themselves as part of an interconnected whole • “Web” of relationships • Group is more important than any single individual • “We” rather than “I.” (Hofstede, 2001; Oyserman & Lee, 2008; Triandis, 2000)
  11. 11. Collectivistic Individualistic Cultures
  12. 12. A Continuum – not a dichotomy Individualistic collectivistic
  13. 13. Culturally-Based Assumptions of Teaching and Learning Academic Ways of Thinking Students come to school ready for age-appropriate classroom learning activities
  14. 14. Academic Ways of Thinking • Classification • Sorting • Sequencing / historical time • Compare/contrast • Defining
  15. 15. Pragmatic Ways of Thinking Daily Life • Cooking • Childcare • Farming • Crafts • Religious practices
  16. 16. (Ibarra, 2001)
  17. 17. Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm - MALP • Instructional Model • Elements from students’ learning paradigm • Elements from U.S. learning paradigm • Transitional approach to close achievement gap (Marshall, 1998; DeCapua & Marshall, 2010)
  18. 18. Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm- MALP A. Accept Learning Conditions from SLIFE B. Combine Learning Processes from Both Perspectives C. Focus on Learning Activities of US Schooling
  19. 19. Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm - MALP Instructional Model SLIFE U.S. Classrooms ACCEPT SLIFE Immediate Future CONDITIONS Relevance Relevance Interconnectedness Independence COMBINE Individual SLIFE & U.S. Shared Accountability PROCESSES Responsibility with Oral Transmission Written Word FOCUS on U.S. ACTIVITIES with familiar Pragmatic Academic language Tasks Tasks & content (DeCapua & Marshall, 2009 in press; Marshall 1994, 1998)
  20. 20. Bringing the two worlds together MALP & Project-Based Learning
  21. 21. Project-Based Learning • Allows for differentiation • Promotes integration of literacy and content knowledge • Improves student engagement student-centered rather than teacher-centered
  22. 22. …and from a MALP perspective • Fosters community • Provides immediate relevance • Allows for shared responsibility & individual accountability • Accommodates oral transmission & print • Encourages academic ways of thinking
  23. 23. Examples of MALP Projects • Surveys and Polls • Collections • Newcomer Booklets • Timelines • Shared Events • Concept Posters • Class Newsletters
  24. 24. More about MALP? Our website: http://malp.pbworks.com Andrea DeCapua adecapua@cnr.edu Helaine W Marshall helaine.marshall@liu.edu

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