sabato 6 agosto 2016

Culturally Responsive Teaching - an interesting webinar by Shelly Sanchez on 5th August 2016

6th  August  2016



In one of the  posts  I wrote  about world refugee day  in  June I presented the great issue of young people and their families who were forced to leave their home country . I underlined  the importance of education  for  their children who needed more  help and support as they had to live in difficult situations and often they are considered  just refugees, people who have to wait years before they can start living a new life  -

A key issue was also teaching respect for the others and this is more and more important today  as millions of children are leaving home to search for better life in countries where there is no war.

                      Yesterday  I watched the interesting  webinar by   Shelly  Terrell  Sanchez about  Culturally  Responsive  Teaching that has to do with  education and the importance of  teaching young students and children who have migrated and  live in a new  country. Every Friday  Shelly presents  her webinars and provides lots of ideas and weblinks which are worth checking. I have become  addicted to her energy and the engaging presentations she is able to prepare: a must see for any educator who cares!!

The term " Culturally Responsive  Teaching" regards the teachers, the children, and students  who are  studying and learning with the new learners.
 In some ways we can say that educators need to focus on the students and their cultural backgrounds to share their ideas and  start  working together. This implies  acceptance, inclusion and respect and  these values need to be shared  while enriching the  other  students and the community.

Key ideas about this pedagogic approach can be found online:

I particularly liked the definition provided in the article by Matthew Lynch  where he  stated that " Culturally responsive pedagogy is a student-centered approach to teaching in which the students’ unique cultural strengths are identified and nurtured to promote student achievement and a sense of well-being about the student’s cultural place in the world."

Sometimes it is difficult to cope with the needs of the new learners and we have some students who cannot cope with the new school and the tasks but   I like the idea that educators need to design tasks that are focussed on the  learners and we must promote  their achievements and a sense of  well-being. A great problem is the language they can speak and how educators work with them to start and establish  relationships and  develop activities that aim at inclusion and learning and working in the new community. I have also faced this  problem with  students who came from non-European countries and integration was a great aim, sometimes the learners  could cope with  Italian but they needed support from the teachers  as their parents did not speak good Italian.
 For sure we will all have to work on this approach in the next  decades as more and more young immigrants are reaching  Europe and the USA and it is important to provide a good learning environment for them. Educators are important in this  learning  process as they can facilitate and design tasks that help these children or  teenagers who are studying in our  schools.

I searched online as  Shelly made me realize that in some ways we are dealing with this approach also in our  schools - I teach in Italy- and could find interesting  documents shared by  teachers and researchers. I found a lot of material from the Usa as I understand that the country has welcomed a lot of immigrants.

Now I will  reflect on what  Shelly told us in her great webinar: hopefully there are a lot of  links for  educators  which can  help them develop activities that respect the  needs  of their learners and teach values like inclusion to the other students, the importance of values like  working  together, sharing and learning from the others too. The social and emotional aspects are important as students may come from countries with great differences in relationship to the topics covered at school and also in relationship to their family  backgrounds.  It is also important to underline the problem of the language as families can have a lot of difficulties when communicating with educators.  Some children have also  experienced cruelties and violence and starting to live  a new life in a new land might also be  a stressfull  situation.

Useful weblinks I have checked online:

I particularly liked , a blog to learn about issues like  equity, justice and diversity: the topics seem to be related to the USA but we might find ideas about  the best ways to care when dealing with immigrants and children in our  schools.

Edutopia has a dedicated page to the topic and it provides  links to videos and webpages :

I could find some interesting videos to teach  tolerance :      about the history of a girl who survived the Holocaust

                                                                   For  ELT teachers 

We were suggested this  website :

This  is  the  slide which was  commented by  Shelly in her webinar: I cannot but say thanks for providing so many  interesting  ideas!!

Shelly Terrell presented a webpage about the topic of  her  webinar and suggested some  tasks or activities to get learners and families of immigrants more engaged:

First tip : all families should be  reached  and teachers should connect with the children's parents so that they will learn and benefit from the new environment

Second tip: learning about  other  countries is  important  and  educators should work on  international or  global projects

Third tip: start a project where learners share their experience  and work with videos, webtools for presenting their  stories

Link to the  webpage:

This is an interesting collection she has been working on:

Refugees Immigrants, by shellterrell

For European  teachers- CPD online In September there will be a new MOOC course about " Cultural diversity" . It starts on 12 September  2016  and it finishes on 9 October.

More resources online
Videos on Vimeo

I will try to learn more and maybe  start a project with classes next year and  teach about cultural differences and respect. 

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