Posted on 01/23/2017 at 07:48 AM by Liz Determan

It’s 2017, and, yes, our CLD students may display behaviors that we often perceive as aggressive and/or confrontational. Perhaps the behaviors are or perhaps these behaviors are a way to communicate. Or, perhaps, these students do not know what is considered normal classroom behavior. How do we address these behaviors in a school setting? The following includes guidelines and best practice from the Department of Educations in Iowa and Federal, RTI Networks and Teacher Vision.


  1. Working with students and families from CLD backgrounds can pose special challenges, thus the idea and concept of becoming “culturally competent” is important.
    1. What is cultural competence? It is making sure that the school building, district, and teams gain additional knowledge about the students they are educating and incorporate it into standards, policies and practices.
    2. Research shows high correlations of an increase in effectiveness of services when schools indicate to such families they are reaching out.
  2. Providing a collaborative relationship with CLD students and families.
    1. Being collaborative not only involves the families and students, but also outside agency supports, which may help provide translators, resources, and guidance for such families in terms of norms in the community.
    2. Outside agencies can also help provide PD and training to schools so that the CLD students values can be explained, which in return, helps with cultural competence.
  3. Teachers may insist on attending training to provide a “culturally responsive classroom management” technique(s).
    1. This extension of practice is a way for teachers to use students’ backgrounds, social experiences, prior knowledge and learning styles by incorporating into lesson plans. This helps influence and engages CLD students.
    2. This may involve interviewing parents and elders in the community for supports and suggestions.
  4. Accommodations – pending the language level of the student, specific accommodations may be provided to help with assignments, homework, etc.
  5. Build relationships with students. Interview and interact with your students. Invite them to participate in school activities.
  6. Observe how your CLD students learn. Allow for creative accommodations. Instead of writing a paper, perhaps they build something or provide a portfolio/sample of work.
  7. Teach, via your own room or in collaboration with outside agency/guidance, to help CLD students learn how to behave differently per the setting. I.e., in the classroom versus at an NFL game, etc.
  8. If all else does not work, and numerous efforts have been tried, the LEA or local school should have a student handbook policy in place. This is applied to all students. This handbook along with administrative support, documentation and meetings with parents, elders of the community, etc., should be followed.

Northwest AEA does have an EL team. Three of the members are from the general education side and can offer many classroom supports. Please contact your local AEA with questions and ideas for support.





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