6th August 2016
CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE TEACHING
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 - http://educationalandissue.blogspot.it/2016/06/world-refugee-day-and-education.html.
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 tolerance.org , 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 :
http://www.tolerance.org/kit/one-survivor-remembers about the history of a girl who survived the Holocaust
For ELT teachers
We were suggested this website :http://www.macmillanglobal.com/
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.http://www.schooleducationgateway.eu/en/pub/teacher_academy/catalogue/detail.cfm?id=20861
More resources online
Videos on Vimeohttps://vimeo.com/tag:culturally+responsive+teaching
I will try to learn more and maybe start a project with classes next year and teach about cultural differences and respect.