SOE News

Welcoming children from other cultures to American classrooms: Resources and a workshop recap

Workshop Sessions & Resources

Keynote address: How do I approach my role in teaching kids with very different cultural backgrounds?

Keynote speaker Dr. Darla Deardorff of Duke University opened the workshop by discussing many steps that teachers can take to reach all students and meet their needs, including:

  • Understand yourself and the lens through which you see the world;
  • Get to know your students as individuals;
  • Learn about their cultures, in order to understand their world views;
  • Help your students understand each others’ cultures and perspectives;
  • Apply the Platinum rule and encourage your students to do so: Treat others ─ not as you would like to be treated ─ but as they would like to be treated.

She described a model of intercultural competence and how it enhances student outcomes.

“Becoming interculturally competent is a complex, ongoing, lifelong process,” Deardorff said. She urged the teachers to have open, respectful, curious attitudes and to work toward gaining knowledge and awareness of their own and others’ lenses, in order to become more effective with their students.

Teaching the N.C. curriculum with engaging Web-based resources

In a breakout session, Dr. Bobby Hobgood of LEARN NC discussed culturally responsive teaching as described by Wlodkowski and Ginsberg, including how to:

  • Establish inclusion in the classroom;
  • Help students develop positive attitudes;
  • Enhance the meaning and relevance of what students are learning;
  • Engender competence in students;
  • Find lessons, articles and Web sites related to all of these topics on LEARN NC .
Success for English Language Learners: Success for all

In another breakout session, Ivanna Mann Thrower, ESL, Title III Consultant with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, spoke on the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP). She described techniques and resources that teachers can use in their classrooms, including:

  • An overview of the SIOP model: “good teaching PLUS purposeful teaching of the language necessary for ELLs to understand content”;
  • Class activities that use cooperative learning;
  • References and SIOP publications;
  • Web sites of ESL and ELL resources and TESOL organizations.
Panel discussion: Being a 21st century teacher in a linguistically and culturally diverse classroom

Bobby Hobgood moderated an afternoon panel discussion among the following participants:

The panel members addressed a series of questions:

  • What is the single most important technique a teacher can incorporate to welcome all students in his or her classroom?
  • How do we enlist the support of others to help us as we endeavor to meet the needs of our ELL students?
  • How do we involve parents?
  • How is teacher preparation changing to prepare educators for diverse classrooms?
  • How do we stay abreast of changing policy and curricula?
  • How do we get involved in informing policy?
  • How do we create a common classroom culture when our students represent so many cultures, many of which we don’t understand?