Mindset Reflections - Can I Measure Students' Level of Situational Appropriateness?
In the spirit of if you cannot beat them, join them, there are ways of measuring your students' level of situational appropriateness. We educate in a time when if it cannot be "assessed", then it is not worth teaching (supposedly). Unfortunately, aspects of cultural responsiveness have fallen under the evaluation and assessment guillotine. In reality, there are ways to assess the goals of CLR, specifically as it applies to how your students are developing and evolving in their ability and willingness to practice situational appropriateness (SA). Before delving into the assessment of SA, here is the definition of situational appropriateness:
"The concept of determining which cultural or linguistic behaviors are most appropriate for a situation. In other words, students are allowed to make choices around cultural and linguistic behaviors dependent on the situation, but without giving up or sacrificing what they consider to be their base culture or language. Situational appropriateness is the crux of CLR."
We want students to know where they are in their situational appropriateness and we want to know how to guide, support, and teach students to be situationally appropriate based on the data. Thus, The Situational Appropriate Scale is a reflective tool for teachers and students to use to consider next steps for addressing issues that may arise. The rubric has four levels.
Achieving Situationally Appropriate Behaviors and Language
Practicing Situationally Appropriate Behaviors and Language
Developing Situationally Appropriate Behaviors and Language
Struggling with Situationally Appropriate Behaviors and Language
The difference in the levels is in large part related to the number of contexts and situations that the students have successfully practiced situational appropriateness. These could range from the classroom, to the hallways, to the playground, to the cafeteria. Then, a variety of behaviors, such as voice level, communality, high/low movement, conversational patterns, are then examined in these various situations. For a full description of the scale, go to our text, Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning: Classroom Practices for Student Success, 2nd Edition.
When using the Situational Appropriateness Scale in classrooms, teachers should consider not only the grade level of the students but the implicit and explicit messages students are receiving about behaviors, whether from school, the community, or the media.
As always, you must start with validation and affirmation to ensure students know that they are not being asked to compromise their home culture in any way. As you begin the lessons on situational appropriateness, all dialogue about behaviors and languages must occur without judgment. Students should not be made to feel as if their home culture is beneath, less, or lower than school culture.
The overall point here is we can assess what it means to be validating and affirming for teachers and students.