Microaggressions: Forever Alien in One’s Own Land

“How do they celebrate Three Kings’ Day in Mexico?” I once observed a teacher ask one of her Dual Language students.   The question seemed innocent enough.  She was trying to build sociocultural competence in her classroom by being inclusive of all her students as the upcoming holiday approached.  However, the student felt uncomfortable.  While his […]

5 Do’s When Someone Accuses You of Racism and Bonus: 5 Don’ts

Being Called Racist Every so often, I hear stories from indignant people about how someone called them racist.  These indignant souls are looking for me to affirm for them that the accusation is not true.  Unless the accuser thinks that the active dismantling of historic racism is in fact racist, I, rather than absolving anyone, […]

6 Strategies to Elevate the Status of Bilingualism

The Status of English I stayed at home with my daughter for the first five years of her life, largely because I wanted to ensure that she would speak our mother tongue, Tamil.  I feared that sending her to daycare would introduce her to English way too early.  Nevertheless, once she started school, even when […]

Names Matter – Beginning the School Year Correctly

Building Relationships With all else that plagues us as we begin the third school year impacted by Covid-19, it can be easy to forget that at the start of every school year, our focus should be on building relationships with our students.  One of the greatest ways to build those relationships with students is by […]

Honoring Students From Collectivist Cultures

The Microaggression A former colleague of mine called me the other day to let me know how her supervisor had ridiculed her for still living with her parents in her late 20’s.  The supervisor talked about how when she had been younger, she couldn’t wait to become an adult and be able to leave her […]

Words Matter – The Impact of Our Words on Native American Civilizations

Words Matter As Dual Language educators, our lives revolve around the theme of words and languages.  We teach students the fundamentals of pragmatics, how to respect regionalisms within languages, and how to distinguish among nuances.  We know that words matter and that they must be carefully and intentionally chosen for effective communication. But how often […]

How to Measure Cultural Proficiency

I have written several articles concerning the idea of biculturalism and why it’s time to retire the term.  However, there was a time when biculturalism was one of Dual Language Education’s recognized goals, and therefore, many well-meaning educators continue to use the word.  So in this post, let’s further explore what biculturalism really means and […]

Transnumbering – The Concept of Numbers Across Cultures Part I

In a previous post, we defined sociocultural competence, the third goal of Dual Language Education, to mean being able to fight for the rights of those who don’t speak, look, or think like you. It is about grappling with our racist and discriminatory history and being willing to change the future.  To do this, we […]

The Four Statuses of Identity and How They Relate to Sociocultural Competence and Dual Language Education

Among Third Culture Kids, additional examples may include students who refuse to speak their home language both at home and at school because they have committed themselves to an “American” identity or a student who refuses to accept anything American because it violates their home identities. Both of these examples may be results of others trying to force assimilation upon them.


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