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how language and culture interact to form a student’s identi

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Kendra Kaneversky

on 12 August 2014

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Transcript of how language and culture interact to form a student’s identi

Language, Culture, and Identity
How do language and culture interact to form a student’s identity?
How does a student’s
self-worth affect
his/her academic
How is a student’s identity is linked to his/her
...differ in the way they tell
stories (Ahearn, et al., 2002):
Language, in part, creates culture (Ahearn, et al., 2002).
Family history
Cultural songs
Oral Traditions
Much, if not all, of a culture will be lost if one loses the ability to communicate through a form of language (Ahearn, et al., 2002). Children learn their culture (and therefore, identity) through language.
A child's first language is almost always the language spoken at home. Language is the embodiment of culture, which is what makes up a person's identity.
"Who am I?"
Children learn who they are and what their place/role is largely through observation. This occurs both at home and at school. Observation begins from birth and includes observance of language, behavior, and ways of interaction - all of which make up what we define as "culture."
Children spend their first 5 years (minimum), as well as significant time after school hours, in their home environment. Because of this, their identity is rooted in their home language, ideas, values, traditions, and general "culture." This may or may not agree with culture that students find themselves in during the school day.
is largely
based on
(which plays a
large role in
defining IDENTITY).
CULTURE is created by LANGUAGE.
"[T]he behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group" (LLC, 2014). These behaviors and beliefs are both purposefully and inadvertently taught using language.
"[T]he sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another" (LLC, 2014). A certain way of living is a way people groups often identify with each other.
CULTURE (created by LANGUAGE) plays a large role in defining IDENTITY.
Special issues that students bring with them to the classroom that are based on home language and culture:
...value listening and paying attention silently verses
participating in discussion.
...look down upon asking questions of the teacher for understanding but instead value simply memorizing facts.
Students' self worth will often be linked to their identity within their respective cultures.
Some cultures value family over individuals; males over females; cooperation and harmony over assertiveness; obedience over thinking and doing for oneself; directness over indirectness, etc.
Family cultures differ as greatly as racial cultures. Whether or not a child feels loved and valued by those in the home will affect what he/she identifies as and will either degrade or build up a child's self-worth.
Self-worth, also called self-esteem, is often wrapped up in how students perceive themselves and their identities.
Some cultures do not value excelling in school and place more value on being "loyal" to who you are culturally. For some, this may mean actually
school related topics (i.e. the African American culture may require embracing the "street image" as seen on t.v.) (Brogan, 1998).
(weLEAD Corporation, 2006)
Self-worth (self-esteem) is also wrapped up in what students have already achieved. Psychologically, if a student is already resigned to failing, he/she is far more likely to fail.
If a student is already resigned to failing, he/she is far more likely to fail.
As teachers, it is our job to help students succeed. Boosting self-esteem is one way to point students in the direction of success.
5 Ways a Teacher Can Build
Students' Self Esteem:

1. Establish a positive atmosphere.
2. Set realistic expectations.
3. Applaud the activity, not the child.
4. Create cooperative learning situations.
5. Use mistakes as learning opportunities.

(University of Phoenix, 2014)
...differ in the way of sharing information:
Getting straight to the facts.
Telling a story that includes an experience surrounding the fact.

...value sharing information.
...view "sharing" information as cheating.
...place family obligations over school achievement.
Every culture is different; every student is different; every people group is different. All are bound to
value certain aspects of life over others and will undoubtedly look at the same situation a little differently.
University of Phoenix, Inc. (2014). Retrieved from
Ahearn, C. et al. (2002).
The diversity kit : An introductory resource for social change in education
. Providence, RI: LAB at Brown University.
LLC, Dictionary.com (2014).

Retrieved from
weLEAD Corporation (2001-2006). Retrieved from
Brogan, Cynthia (1998).
The Interaction between Self-Esteem and Academic Achievement: A Review of Selected Research Studies.
Retrieved from
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