I’m so glad that you are here today. My husband, Alex, and I have been in America since Tuesday and are visiting our families. It’s been so nice to have everyone back together and to feel connected to our roots again!
We are here for a month, and then we will head back to Taiwan just in time for the school year to get started there.
Since being back home, I’ve had some realizations (ya know… just like “the year of realizing things “ ;)). I will be the first to tell you how different the Asian culture is to western culture. It was an adjustment when we first moved for sure, but it has been fun to learn and grow. Being home though, I’m having some slight culture shock again. Which sounds crazy because I am American and grew up and lived in the same city my entire life before moving to Taiwan, but really there are little things you don’t remember but I’m realizing that those things are like typically specific to America. That is what has been a bit of a shock like, “whoa” I forgot about that…. But everyone around us is just moving on like normal life!
These thoughts and feelings prompted me to want to talk to y’all about cultures in the classroom and culturally responsive pedagogy!
Being international, you would think I would be experiencing many cultures in my school. Mostly, my school consists of students who are Taiwanese. This gives the school an air of mostly Taiwanese culture, but you find little pockets where the students are multicultural! Just in my class from this last year, I had Canadian, American, Cantonese (from Hong Kong), aboriginal Taiwanese, Japanese, students who held duel nationalities but had only grown up in Taiwan, etc. Next year in the incoming grade one classes, there are students from India, Canada, The Netherlands, and hopefully more! In the other grades, there are students from Japan, South Africa, The Netherlands, Spain, and other students who are mixed Taiwanese and another western nationality. This is actually a relatively low number of international students! Many other schools have a much higher international population than we do!
All these cultures wrapped into one classroom can lead to students misunderstanding each other or differences of opinions or actions. I like to approach culture in my class by asking my students to tell us about their culture or what languages they speak at home with their families. We also use the language conversation to discuss how we are a bilingual school, so although we may all speak different languages at home, in school we use English or Chinese to communicate with each other.
Something that I am also doing is reading about different cultures to my students. The read alouds help with student conversational vocabulary, give examples of good fluency, allow for different opportunities for the students to practice comprehension skills, but also they teach the kids about others that are different than them. I also like helping students to feel represented by reading a book or telling a story that connects to their culture.
I also enjoy show and tell type activities, where the students bring in different things from their family that show importance. I often show pictures of people in my life, or things that I have done to my students and then tell them a story about it. The students have the chance to bring in something that gives the class more information about them as well, and we allow them to share in either English or Chinese, whichever they are most comfortable with. An example of a time that this was especially exciting was when a student of mine wore to school her aboriginal ceremonial dress! She looked so sweet and got to tell the entire class about why that dress was important to her family.
Lastly, last year my class had a sister class at an international school in Seoul, SK. We would call or email them, and I would like to build up to straight up pen pals too! It was so awesome for the kids and we had so much fun learning more about each other! If you think you would be interested in doing a sister class with us, send me a message! I would LOVE that!
Recently, I posted on my instagram about a book my husband found on our trip to Target (oh how I miss Target!). The book is called All Are Welcome (my instagram post is LINKED HERE and the amazon book link is HERE). I’ve got some things that I am making to use in my classroom with this book that I am super excited for! Once I finish them, I will post as a freebie on here!!
Talk to me! Tell me how you incorporate and highlight the different cultures in your school and classroom. How do you make your students feel seen/heard? Comment down below so we can all read and learn more ideas!
I’m also going to be writing a better post about culturally responsive teaching soon! This will have more research and data backed information for y’all to read. I’ll include the articles, etc. that I have used to help me gain a deeper understanding of how to be more culturally responsive and to ensure I am making my students feel seen and included!
I am even considering doing a series on it! It’s just an important topic and I want to be apart of the conversation! If you want to collaborate on it with me, I would love to work, learn and grow with you! Send me a message on my instagram (@taylorteachesinternational) or you can email me from here! I hope we can open up a conversation and share some knowledge specific to culturally responsive pedagogy and teaching!!
Today, my main goal was just wanted to touch base and say hey to everyone after a crazy week of traveling and share a few things I do in my classroom!