The Value of Meaning-Making and Cultural Knowledge for Teachers Working in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Contexts


The tapestry of classrooms today is transforming into a mosaic of colors, languages, and backgrounds. As the population of culturally and linguistically diverse students continues to rise, a deeper understanding of how teachers construct meaning and understand their internal and relational experiences when working with these students has become an important area to examine. This study included in-depth interviews with ten public school teachers in the San Diego area, which assessed the teachers’ meaning-making systems and their cultural competence. The framework of constructive developmental theory (Kegan, 1982, 1994) was drawn upon to assess how teachers’ make sense of their experiences, and the framework of cultural intelligence (Earley & Ang, 2003) was used to determine their cultural competence. Although both frameworks provided some insight into this phenomenon, their limitations far exceeded their utility in terms of understanding the complex ways in which teachers understand and approach their work with culturally and linguistically diverse students. Additional frameworks for understanding teacher -student interactions are considered

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