Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: 6 Tips to Build Relationships with Emergent Bilingual Students

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

Culturally responsive strategies are those strategies that help minority students succeed.  These strategies can be grouped into six key tenets:

1) Building Relationships

2) Inclusiveness

3) Student Ownership

4) Student Culture and Tenets

5) Making Content Accessible

6) Self-Reflection

In this post, we will discuss tips to build relationships with our students.

6 Tips to Build Relationships with Emergent Bilingual Students

When students have strong relationships with their teachers, they feel safe, accepted, and ready to learn.  Their affective filters—negative emotions such as anxiety that hinder second language development—are lowered.  This allows students to learn both language and content.

  1. Use students’ names even if pronunciation feels difficult.  Ask how to say it, but don’t worry if you mess up.  Let students know you are trying and to please have patience with you.  They will appreciate your efforts.
  2.  Listen to students as they talk about their lives.  If you can, connect with them during lunch or afterschool activities.
  3.  Engage in real conversations with your students.
  4. Remember that smiling (and other positive body language) is universal and transcends language.
  5. Welcome students as they walk into your classroom.  At the middle and high schools, be right outside your room during transitions to greet your students.
  6. Building relationships with your students’ parents will help you build relationships with your students.  Call parents early in the year to introduce yourself.  Your school’s Family Liaisons can help.  Make as many positive contacts with parents as possible. 

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