I too would like to thank you Lesley for such a light, easy to read article. My reactions are as follows:
1. I find Sonia Nieto's ideas inspiring and perhaps even necessary when it comes to designing curriculum. I spent two weeks last summer reshaping the curriculum for our Spanish level 4 classes and would have to say that I am as guilty as charge! We did think about standards, expectations, current issues, inclusion of technology, etc. However, the idea of finding ways to make it a reflection of what "our students" need never crossed my mind. That will be something I will try to focus more instead of what needs to be covered by the end of the semester.
2. I also enjoyed reading Severian's ideas. I truly believe in the importance of clear expectations and make students accountable for their learning. Students need to know why they are learning the material and what they can do with it. It is also important for teachers to bring the students to reach the expectations instead of lower them. Students can see what we really think of them, even when we "flower" our talk or make a big deal when something simple is done. I see it as an insult when teachers praise everything, even when there is no evidence of reaching an academic or personal goal. My comment on that: "Let's keep it genuine and real people!"
3. Overall, the article reaffirmed what we have read from Johnson, Bartolome and my favorite Delpit. It is extremely important to celebrate cultural differences in our classroom by genuinely including different aspects of these cultures in our teaching. As a teacher, I find a bit unrealistic visiting families due to our time restrictions, although as a parent I must admit that I love the suggestion. And finally, I think the main idea of this article is very simple - genuine respect - when you genuinely respect your students, you want to know more about them, help them and assist them in becoming respectful productive citizens.