Monday, March 7, 2011

Code-Switching—NCTE Belief: Literate practices are embedded in complicated social relationships

As part of P1, I’ve become a member of the NCTE Ning Page. There is a group about the 11 NCTE beliefs. After reading the belief that, "Literate practices are embedded in complicated social relationships," I think that literate practices are not only imbedded in complex social relationships, but that all subject area teachers must learn how to view their students and students’ perspectives from diverse points of view. 
Many of the issues dealt with in this belief avoid speaking about the importance of these concepts while developing strong teacher-student and teacher-parent relationships. These beliefs barely touch on the importance of a teacher’s ability to code-switch. As I taught, I found myself constantly code-switching, and I believe it was my ability to do so, which helped me to develop strong relationships with the students and their parents. 

Instruction about the ability to “code-switch” can often be difficult and complicated, but I do believe that there are several things that people and teachers can do in order to become more efficient at doing so. First of all, it’s essential for teachers to read a variety of literature from various perspectives about different cultures, societies, histories and origins. All teachers should become well versed in a variety of world literature and other multi-cultural literature. These pieces will give teachers insight into worlds and lives unknown to them. Also, teachers must become constant learners and listeners. When we encounter people with different cultures, origins, or background from ourselves, then we must take those opportunities to gain insight into other personal perspectives. 

We must learn to get to know people for who they are. We all have common threads in our lives and communities despite our cultural differences, and finding those commonalities can also be a strength in developing code-switching abilities. Teachers must also be willing to listen to the students, and try to see things from a teenage perspective. Teachers often avoid attending to the obvious differing perspectives of age, but that is one of the greatest distances between a teacher and student. 

We must realize that our high school students are not adults, and we can’t be surprised when they don’t act that way. Teenagers might overreact, be emotional, and dramatic, and we shouldn’t just brush it off as if it doesn’t matter. We need to see that their issues, as trivial as they may seem to us, are important and meaningful to them and their lives. Once we begin to understand one another, then we will be able to move ahead with positive social interactions.

1 comment:

  1. I love your point at the end "our high school students are not adults, and we can't be surprised when they don't act that way". There often seems to be a perception that teenagers (and all children, perhaps) are just unsuccessful adults. There seems to be this assumption that if we just get them to behave "right" they will reach that goal of being an adult. However, like you, I feel that this demeans our students by not taking into account who they are and where they are at in their lives. Once we can respect our students as people (not adults in training) they can respect themselves and us allowing for more meaningful learning. Thanks for bringing this up!