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A Welcoming Classroom Community for All Students

July 23, 2014

I am continuing my series on Precepts for the Classroom….


Providing a safe and welcoming classroom is vital to building relationships and community in the classroom. Getting to know students, celebrating who they are and where they come from, and providing needed social and academic supports are essential to student growth and achievement. Our students come from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds. It is up to educators to get to know and understand students.

Precept #2: Welcome and Accept ALL students.

Subtle and overt forms of racism and prejudice hinder relationships between students and teachers and impede learning. The more obvious one’s cultural difference is, the greater are the chances one may experience prejudice or discrimination.

(Lindsey, R., Graham, S., Westphal, R., & Jew, C., 2008, p. 12)

Seventh and eighth grade Reading teacher at Oregon Middle School in Oregon, WI, Amy Vatne-Bintliff teaches anti-bias standards as well as grade-level standards decrease bias and advance students’ reading levels.

Five Essential Elements of Cultural Proficiency

  • Assessing Culture
    •  Being aware of what you know about others’ cultures, how you react to others’ cultures, and what you need to do to be effective in cross-cultural situations.
  • Valuing Diversity
    •  Making the effort to be inclusive of people whose viewpoints and experiences are different from yours and will enrich conversations, decision making, and problem solving.
  • Managing the dynamics of difference
    • Viewing conflict as a natural and normal process that has cultural contexts that can be understood and can be supportive in creative problem solving
  • Adapting to Diversity
    • Having the will to learn about others and the ability to use others’ cultural experiences and backgrounds in educational settings.
  • Institutional cultural knowledge
    •  Making learning about cultural groups and their experiences and perspectives an integral part of your ongoing learning.

(Lindsey, R., Graham, S., Westphal, R., & Jew, C., 2008)


Cultural Proficiency – Making the commitment to lifelong learning for the purpose of being increasingly effective in serving the educational needs of cultural groups.

(Lindsey, R., Graham, S., Westphal, R., & Jew, C., 2008)

As professional educators we have made the commitment to lifelong learning….including a commitment to achieving cultural proficiency. Enjoy the journey.

Interactive Journal Precept #2




Lindsey, R., Graham, S., Westphal, C. & Jew, C. (2008). Cultural proficient inquiry: A lens for identifying and examining educational gaps. Thousand Oak, CA: Corwin Press.


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