Culturally Responsive Teaching: ELLs
“The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources -because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples.” - Lyndon B. Johnson
Since 1994, I've taught in multicultural classrooms. My students have come from various countries. Some were international students who stayed in America without their parents for a few years. Some were immigrants or migrants with very little English or literacy skills who had overcome overwhelming struggles to be in the country. One year, I taught refugees in Greece. Many came to school with the same clothes everyday, struggled with literacy and the language, and some never had much formal schooling. In all these cases, my students were hungry to learn and better their situations. This motivated me to learn more about them and try my best to support their literacy and learning needs as well as help them assimilate and feel welcomed. Below are a few tips and resources from my presentation, Culturally Responsive Teaching: Tips and Resources for Teaching Immigrants, Migrants, Refugees, and ELLs to help teachers who feel lost when it comes to supporting the needs of all their learners. Feel free to download the slides as a pdf.
Tips and Resources
- According to Brown University’s Education Alliance, “Culturally Responsive Teaching is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students' cultural references in all aspects of learning” (Ladson-Billings,1994).
- Culturally Responsive Teaching has 7 characteristics, which include high expectations, knowledge of learners’ cultures, student-centered teaching, teachers as facilitators, culturally mediated instruction, parent partnerships and reshaping the curriculum to be more diverse and culturally inclusive (Brown University’s Education Alliance).
- For students to be successful, teachers must reach out to parents. Find resources for engaging parents here. Recommended tools include:
- Remind helps teachers quickly and safely communicate with parents in over 70 languages.
- Google Apps for Education (GAFE) makes it easy to translate emails, spreadsheets, and documents. Formmule is an addon that helps you send 100 emails quickly that you can tailor very quickly. Find GAFE resources here.
- It is important to have your learners constantly learning about other countries and cultures. The resources below will help you with international projects or starting global projects:
- Skype or Hangout with guest speakers and classes worldwide!
- Try Mystery Skypes or Mystery Hangouts. Find student jobs for these here.
- Join an international project or have pen pals. Find classes to connect with on Epals and The Global Classroom Project.
- Blog with classes worldwide. Try Quadblogging or Edublogs’ Student Challenge.
- Try a project this year to help your learners share their experiences:
- The websites below have culturally diverse lesson plans, tips, and resources: