Strategy 7

7. Teachers include daily sharing as an important activity in their classrooms.

Cultural factors influence the style of oral language. People from diverse cultures differ in what they tell and how they tell it. Because of language structure and tradition, English speakers tend to center on a topic, present information in a sequential order, and tell linear stories using cause and effect; however, not all cultural groups organize their communications this way. When students from culturally diverse backgrounds share stories in English, teachers sometimes perceive these narratives as rambling or disorganized. Yet, adult members of the students' own communities judge these narratives as well-structured. While it is the responsibility of the school to teach socially valued and academic ways of speaking, effective teachers avoid judging narratives that spring from diverse cultures as evidence of poor thinking skills.

It is important to understand that limited English proficiency and culturally diverse styles of narration influence how students share stories and experiences in class. Effective teachers welcome all students' contributions to class conversations, but also provide guidance in the narrative styles for which students will be held accountable.

Teachers say things like:

It sounds like you had so much fun when your cousins visited.
I can tell that you really enjoy them.
I want to make sure I hear about all the places you took them, so let's make a list:

    What day did they arrive?
    How long did they stay?
    Okay, I'll write down Saturday, Sunday, and
    Let's write down the things you did on each day.