U-46 Teachers Learn Nuances in Cultural Differences

By Ryndak, Heather | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 2, 1998 | Go to article overview

U-46 Teachers Learn Nuances in Cultural Differences


Ryndak, Heather, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Heather Ryndak Daily Herald Staff Writer

For some teachers, it may seem a student is shirking away from responsibility by something they say. Or by standing too close or constantly staring, that a student is challenging authority.

But Else Hamayan, director of training and services at the Illinois Resource Center in Des Plaines, said in many cases it boils down to cultural differences.

"In some cultures, the language itself shifts responsibility," said Hamayan, who presented a workshop Friday in Elgin about the role cultures play in student assessments and instruction for Elgin Area Unit District 46 teachers.

"For example, in English, we'd say, 'I missed the bus,' " Hamayan said. "In Spanish, that translates to 'The bus passed me.' Responsibility is different."

Hamayan's workshop was one of nine at U-46's Third Annual Special Education Institute Day. About 450 district employees attended the five-hour sessions at Elgin Community College that ranged from signs of substance abuse to interpreting test results differently.

During Hamayan's crash course in cultural issues, she explained that a cultural difference is not a taboo subject as long as teachers don't pass judgment.

Hamayan said it's easy for teachers to include bicultural instruction. …

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