What kind of teacher are you?
As teachers we should be constantly evaluating ourselves and our classrooms. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to see where you stand as a teacher of multilingual students.
1. Do you believe that you should only teach English literacy development in your classroom?
A. Yes. I should not have to teach a language other than English in my classroom.
B. Yes, but I would allow the student to speak to their friends in their native language.
C. No. I would try to incorporate some of their native language into my classroom curriculum.
D. No. I would try to foster the student's native language while enhancing their English language literacy.
2. What would you do if a multilingual student wanted to turn in an assignment in his or her native language?
A. Tell the student every assignment must be in English.
B. Tell the student that they may write their name and the date in their native language, but that the rest of the assignment must be done in English.
C. Tell the student that they may turn in an assignment in their native language once every week.
D. Tell the student that they are free to turn in any assignment in their native language.
3. How would you respond to a student wanted to teach the class to say something in his or her native langauage?
A. I would not allow the student to teach the phrase to the class.
B. I would allow the student to teach a single phrase to the class.
C. I would plan a single lesson about the child's native culture. During the lesson, the child would be allowed to teach the class several words in their native language.
D. I would plan a unit based on the child's culture. In the unit, I would incorporate many elements of the child's language and culture into the classroom. The student will also teach the students many phrases in his/her language.
4. Do you do any special activities or lessons to incorporate the native languages of your multilingual students?
A. No, I feel that English is the only language that should be taught in my classroom.
B. No, but my multilingual students are free to discuss their native languages amongst themselves.
C. Yes, I try to do an activity once a month to incorporate the languages of my multilingual students.
D. Yes, I try to frequently incorporate the different languages into my activities and lessons.
5. Have you explored your own native language?
A. No, I do not care to explore my native language.
B. No, because I think that English is my native language.
C. Yes, but I am not sure if I should bring my native language into my classroom.
D. Yes, and I am always happy to discuss and share my native language with my students.
If you answered mostly A's, you may be a teacher that forbids multiliteracy in your classroom. A teacher that forbids multiliteracy may do so by ignoring a child's native language.
If you answered mostly B's, you may be a teacher that allows multiliteracy in your classroom. A teacher that allows mulitliteracy may only allow students to use their native language when speaking with other multilingual students.
If you answered mostly C's, you may be a teacher that maintains multiliteracy in your classroom. A teacher that maintains multiliteracy may help parents and other teachers form after-school clubs for students that speak the same language.
If you answered mostly D's, you may be a teacher that fosters multiliteracy in your classroom. A teacher that fosters multiliteracy brings the students' native languages into the classroom routines.
Regardless of your answers to this test, we should all strive to become better teachers for our monolingual and multilingual students. For this reason, we have provided tips to help teachers foster multiliteracy in their classrooms.