When it comes to the development of young people, many different elements go into the creation of a well-rounded individual. Certain skills, such as language arts, are more fundamental to the process than others. After all, the ability to communicate is the foundation on which all other teachings rest. Without the ability to effectively convey ideas, there would be no way to teach or learn anything else. No matter the method, everyone must be able to effectively exchange information.
As parenting website Raising Children points out, learning to “understand, use and enjoy” language is one of the earliest steps to literacy and the basis of future communication. By learning strong language skills, children and students can better express and understand feelings, solve problems and develop quality interpersonal relationships. It’s a crucial part of the developmental process.
Unfortunately, the opportunities to develop quality language arts skills are not equal everywhere, and research has shown that children from economically underprivileged neighborhoods are “less likely to have complex language building opportunities both in home and at school,” which can put them at both an academic and interpersonal disadvantage when compared to their peers.
With a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Urban Education with a concentration in English from Norfolk State University (NSU), graduates will have the relevant skills and strategies necessary to assist the diverse needs of both urban and rural student populations. NSU graduates will learn about the theory and intersections of language, perception and culture, as well as the necessary technical skills to empower student learning and improve academic achievement.
As noted in a blog post from the Hope Abilitation Medical Center, a child’s language development closely connects to their literacy abilities. When children don’t receive enough opportunities to develop their language skills, they can fall behind from a learning perspective and even have a more challenging time relating to their peers. Delayed language development can have other consequences, including learning disabilities, anxiety disorders, behavioral issues and more. However, students can catch up with the proper teaching and strategies.
In these situations, the responsibility to address this disparity falls on the teacher. Having the appropriate tools and strategies is critical in order to bridge these learning gaps. Language disparities can be especially glaring in urban and rural areas, leading to adverse learning outcomes. NSU’s program graduates will be positioned for success in this realm.
Teaching Strategies to Support All Students
The Hope Medical Center suggests several strategies for building up learners whose language development is lagging. A structured system of leveled literacy intervention helps to meet students at their current skill level while simultaneously challenging them in a way that facilitates meaningful improvement. Encouraging reading comprehension and building vocabulary through relatable, engaging reading materials are also ways to support language development and literacy.
Norfolk State’s online M.A. in Urban Education program helps students develop a deep knowledge base of effective teaching and leadership methods for school environments. They will also learn how to parlay that knowledge into real-life strategies that foster a positive learning environment for diverse school populations. Cultural competence and the function of American English grammar make up large parts of the program, allowing educators to better understand students in a variety of different education environments and create stronger learning connections with all students.