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Teachers should pay closer attention to the ever-growing “Hispanic” community

By Chantale JimenezCSMS Magazine Staff writerCommunication is the foundation for understanding any culture. Everything that transpires between school and parent includes communication.  Communication is an important medium for instruction.  Most problems can be resolved through communication.  Everything that occurs within a school is interpreted through communication, such as behavior problems, instruction, assessment, counseling (e.g. According to Cross-Cultural Studies)            The United States is currently experiencing radical demographic shifts, which are changing the colors and the cultures of its citizenry (e.g. According to Cross Cultural Studies).  Recent statistics show that one in every four American defines himself or herself as non-white. By 2010 non-whites are expected to constitute more than one third of the American people and 50 percent of the school aged population.              According to University of Florida, Florida’s Hispanic population is now at the 2 Million mark and the population of Hispanics is largely younger than the rest of the state.  This had created a much need supply of people to fill jobs that otherwise might go unfilled, According to June Nogle, a demographer with UF’s Bureau of Economics and Business Research who helped produce the study.              Because Florida’s population is largely 65 and older, the need for younger people to fill jobs was a concern. The Hispanic population fills the need for younger workers and helps fuel the economy. “The younger Hispanic population buys children’s clothing, homes, second vehicles and other items that help Florida economy,” Nogle said.The UF study did not include examination of language, but a popular misconception is most Hispanic speaks Spanish. Nogle said, “The vast majority are born in the United States and speak English as their first language.” Prediction for the future of the growth of Florida’s Hispanic population is that Florida Hispanic population will grow at a faster rate than the states population, according to Nogle.              “Florida Hispanic population is radically and linguistically extremely diverse,” continued Nogel. There are white Hispanics, black Hispanics and a few people of Asian descent primarily Filipinos who consider themselves to be Hispanic.  This diverse population gives educators a new challenge for the education of the large growing Hispanic population.      Students with different cultures and such diverse backgrounds are at risk if educators have little knowledge and are lacking in sensitivity or appreciation of diversity in communication styles (e.g. According to Cross Cultural Studies).        Teachers may perceive differences as problems and respond to the student with a negative attitude and have low expectation for the student. This can cause the teacher to respond with culturally inappropriate teaching and assessment procedures.     Culturally diverse students may respond with low self-concepts and low academic achievements to a school climate they perceive as hostile (e.g. According to Cross Cultural Studies). The results of this inappropriate teaching are students getting placed in special education reduced placements in talent and gifted programs and high suspension rates.      The need for teachers to pay special attention to building curricula in the Language Art area can help the student with the feelings of the inclusion. The educator showing the importance of language and culture is giving the student respect.     Many schools are failing to take cross-cultural communication issues into account. That can contribute to school problems experienced by a specific group of children due to the failure of great communication.     Hillsborough County has a large Hispanic community. Some areas have a larger number of Hispanic children with very little English skills. Some of these children parents move with the seasonal crops. Because the students move in and out of the school system, the teacher has a responsibility to make the transition from school to school as smooth as possible.  When the teacher recognizes the student’s culture and history (religion, holidays, and culture beliefs) the student will feel the teachers respect and feel confident about their Hispanic culture.   Reference:  Cross Cultural Communication     htt://www.maec.org/cross/2html Source- June Nogle, University of South Florida http://www.napaufl.edu/oldmnews/hispanic.htm

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