My own experiences as both a Teacher and Teacher Educator, working with young children in primary school, encourage me to consider ways to enthuse learners to participate as socially and morally responsible citizens. In order to do this, we need to affirm their personal and social backgrounds, in particular, children from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. I believe that the best learning occurs when a child is self-motivated and this is linked intimately to his personal histories, language and social identity.
The changing demography of the West of Scotland has posed challenges for both Nurseries and Primary schools. Teachers have to work in settings where many different languages and cultures congregate and an awareness of second language acquisition and the importance of maintaining the child’s mother tongue are required.
In my opinion, a more accessible curriculum is required, which would be more open to the understanding, languages and expectations which the children bring to the learning process. A focus is also required on ways to encourage the recruitment of ethnic minorities into the 21st Century teaching profession. I am keen to work towards re-engaging classroom teachers in debate about their perceptions towards children from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds and their interactions with them.
Lecturer in Education
University of West of Scotland