Key Facets of a Platform for Best Practices with CLD Students
Teachers need to be reflective, serious, and open to change when it comes to evaluating their practice regarding CLD students. Are they being effective? Are there any biases that are preventing them from providing the best service to CLD students? These and other questions must be asked in order for a teacher to fully realize excellence in educating CLD students.
There are three benchmarks which need to be observed during evaluation: self-assessment, critical reflection, and refinement of practice. Herrera and Murray (2011) note that "after self-assessing current practices, effective educators critically reflect on the changes in ideology, perspectives, and attitudes that typically emerge before change in instructional practice can be realized." In order to realize change there are four facets that teachers must recognize.
Facet 1: Language Development and Learning Dynamics
Herrera and Murray (2011) note, "effective teachers of CLD students know how to negotiate meaning using as many supports as possible in order to provide CLD students with a wide range of content-based material from which to construct meaning. Such teachers understand the levels of language proficiencies that their students bring to educational experiences and adapt language and instruction accordingly."
In order to evaluate whether or not a teacher is providing their CLD students with an enriching experience they first need to consult and follow professional standards. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) , the Center for Research on Education, Diversity, & Excellence (CREDE), and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) all provide appropriate standards for teachers to follow.
Facet 2: Sociopolitical and Sociocultural Realities
Herrera and Murray (2011) state, "culture lies at the center of the CLD student biography. Integral to engaging and motivating the CLD student is the consideration of his or her sociocultural realities. Failure to consider a student's sociocultural realities can deny the child equitable access to educational opportunities." (p. 371) It is important for a teacher to reflect on what they might be ignoring when it comes to CLD students. It is often easy to forget that many CLD students face cultural and monetary struggles both inside and outside of school.
Facet 3: Planning, Implementing, and Managing Instruction
It is important to recognize that most CLD students are not lacking academically. Most of the time the only barrier between them and academic success is a language barrier or physical disability. Effective teachers do not let CLD students get away with performing below-par because of their language deficiencies. Effective teachers hold CLD students accountable for their academic success and ensure that they are held to a high standard along with the other students.
Here are some links that can help teachers find out more ways that they can challenge all of their students:
Facet 4: Professionalism, Reflection, and Evaluation of Practice
Teachers themselves are learners who are continually seeking out ways that they can improve their practice. Herrera and Murray (2011) state "in a more professional conception of teaching, teachers plan, conduct, and evaluate their work both individually and collectively. Teachers analyze the needs of their students, assess resources available, take the school district's goals into account, and decide on their instructional strategies" (p. 381) Teachers need to make a concerted to take a professional approach to their practice and continually work to adjust and refine what they are doing. In this way teachers can be assured that they are putting forth the best possible effort in the interest of their CLD students.