Speaking My Language: Educating Students Who Are Culturally & Linguistically Diverse

Speaking My Language

Speaking My Language: Educating Students Who Are Culturally & Linguistically Diverse was offered on the campus of Lehigh University on April 2, 2016. Over 100 early childhood - 12th grade educators, school psychologists, counselors, administrators, undergrad and grad students as well as interested parents and community members attended. 

The Lehigh Valley area is home to many individuals who are culturally and linguistically diverse, including a large and growing Spanish-speaking population. It is imperative that educators expand their knowledge and skills to better support this population of students.

The panels, workshops, and keynotes of the conference built pedagogical knowledge and skills and address understanding of the broader educational, economic, socio-cultural, and legal context of students who are culturally and linguistically diverse. Attendees gained a holistic understanding of students who are culturally and linguistically diverse, including undocumented students. 

The conference sessions consisted of four inter-related strands. Sessions ran approximately 45 minutes.
 
Strand 1: Building Foundations: Cultural Competence

  • Enhance understanding of students and their families who are culturally and linguistically diverse, including families’ strengths and challenges 
  • Raise awareness of participants’ own beliefs, values, and practices that may facilitate or hinder interactions with students and families who are culturally and linguistically diverse.
  • Gain knowledge and skills to effectively and respectfully interact with students and families who are culturally and linguistically diverse (e.g., valuing perspectives, communicating with students and families, developing an inclusive environment)

Strand 2: Understanding Policy and Practice: Beyond the Classroom

  • Raise awareness of legal and administrative issues that may impact students and families who are culturally and linguistically diverse (e.g., DACA, enrollment in higher education, district requirements) and how these issues may influence students’ educational experiences
  • Gain knowledge about supportive services that pertain to the education of students who are culturally and linguistically diverse, including undocumented students.

Strand 3: Learning from Community & Family Voices

  • Improve cultural competence and enhance understanding of students and their families who are culturally and linguistically diverse through hearing student, family and community perspectives about school-family-community partnerships, including what facilitates and hinders partnerships.
  • Learn about initiatives to develop and sustain school-family-community partnerships at the district, building, or classroom level.

Strand 4: Teaching: Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment

  • Explore instructional strategies to prepare students who are culturally and linguistically diverse for success in the classroom 
  • Gain knowledge about effective assessment practices for students who are culturally and linguistically diverse

This event was sponsored by LVAIC and the College of Education @ Lehigh University.