Issues in Instructional Design: Cultural Sensitivity
In order to conduct a proper learner analysis the population for whom the instruction will be created must be identified. Diverse cultures and backgrounds must be taken into consideration and curriculum developers need to be sensitive to those issues in their learning environment.
Chowchilla Union High School is located in the Central Valley of California. It was established in 1916 with just fourteen students and has now grown to approximately 1,000 students. As of November 2012, 57 % of the students “receive free meal benefits and 11% reduced meal benefits” (Directors, 2012). With a total of 68% of our students eligible for assistance it is safe to say that we are a school with a high percentage of socioeconomically disadvantaged students.
In addition to the challenges that a high level of underprivileged students brings, we also have a high percentage of students that have previously been considered a minority. Chowchilla Union High School, as broken down by Ethnicity: 47.3% Hispanic or Latino, 40% White, 3.67% American Indian, 3.37 African American, and a small percentage of Asian, Pacific Islander and Filipino (Directors, 2012). With such a high percentage of Hispanic and White students the cultural differences can be vast and challenging. Not only are the cultural differences an issue, but the language differences make a huge impact as well. “The Chowchilla Union High School District serves 18% English Language Learners (ELL). ELL students are in the process of acquiring and learning English Language skills” (Chowchilla Union High School District, 2010).
Another category of students that we cannot leave out are the students who are on Individual Education Plans (IEP) due to a specific learning disability. Chowchilla Union High School has 6% of their students on an IEP and as educators we must make very specific accommodations in order for these students to learn.
As an English teacher in this very diverse environment I have had to learn to differentiate with all of the above mentioned population of students. I have used many types of teaching strategies in order to better educate my students and provide them with material that would work best for them in an overall general education setting.
Our largest subgroup on campus is our socioeconomically disadvantaged students. They tend to be visual and kinesthetic learners. Over the years I have learned to incorporate short video clips as one way to help them understand a topic. For example, when teaching Edgar Allan Poe’s, “The Raven” I always show a short clip that recreates the poem. The Simpsons television show brought this poem to life during one of their Halloween episodes and it really helps the students put the complex vocabulary into perspective when they can actually see it come to life on screen, with characters that they know and are comfortable with. For the kinesthetic...