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Helping Emergent ESL Students Succeed in the Classroom: Cultural Factors to Consider and Strategies to Help Lori Searfoss, ESL Teacher.

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Presentation on theme: "Helping Emergent ESL Students Succeed in the Classroom: Cultural Factors to Consider and Strategies to Help Lori Searfoss, ESL Teacher."— Presentation transcript:

1 Helping Emergent ESL Students Succeed in the Classroom: Cultural Factors to Consider and Strategies to Help Lori Searfoss, ESL Teacher

2 Disclaimer Lori ’ s comments are based on observations during 20+ years of travelling to Latin American countries and working in rural areas with families in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity as well as MA program ( Latin American Literature and Culture ) at OSU. Lori ’ s comments are based on observations during 20+ years of travelling to Latin American countries and working in rural areas with families in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity as well as MA program ( Latin American Literature and Culture ) at OSU. Comments are based on personal observations of homes and conversations with adults and parents of our students in the US. Comments are based on personal observations of homes and conversations with adults and parents of our students in the US. All Observations are GENERALIZATIONS and do not apply to every student. They are GENERALLY true of poor countries in Latin America, specifically rural areas from which many Spanish - speaking immigrants come from. All Observations are GENERALIZATIONS and do not apply to every student. They are GENERALLY true of poor countries in Latin America, specifically rural areas from which many Spanish - speaking immigrants come from.

3 ESL students ’ success on classroom assignments, homework and school projects is significantly affected by communication between the family and school, parents ’ education levels and expectations, access to supplies needed to complete tasks, and acquisition of developmental skills. Often our Somali and Hispanic students are the ones bridging the gap between their family and school expectations and this can result in frustration and poor academic performance. The Premise for Today’s Discussion

4 Children should be “seen and not heard” in rural areas in Latin America. Children should be “seen and not heard” in rural areas in Latin America. Parents may have low level of education. Home country may be poor. Parents may have low level of education. Home country may be poor. Consider families’ home countries’ cultural/environmental norms: For example: Rural Guatemala Rural Nicaragua

5 Home country may lack modern aspects of American homes. These homes are in Los Robles, Nicaragua

6 This home in Los Robles, Nicaragua did not yet have electricity. This family generates income by making furniture ; the family income is about $40/ month.

7 Homes in both US and home country may lack books, newspapers, magazines, internet, English language television. Homes in both US and home country may lack books, newspapers, magazines, internet, English language television. Families may have limited or no experience with zoos, museums, educational TV shows, parks, restaurants, family outings, vacations, games, crafts. Families may have limited or no experience with zoos, museums, educational TV shows, parks, restaurants, family outings, vacations, games, crafts. Child playing in his “yard” in Palos Altos, Bolivia

8 Older siblings often supervise younger siblings while parents are working, busy, etc. Older siblings often supervise younger siblings while parents are working, busy, etc. Corporal punishment is the norm, including in response to school issues. Corporal punishment is the norm, including in response to school issues. Large families means limited time spent with children. Large families means limited time spent with children. Children laughing at camera flash. Los Robles, Nicaragua

9 Los Robles, Nicaragua Los Robles, Nicaragua This family has six children…and counting.

10 Outdoor kitchen, Palos Altos, Bolivia Outdoor kitchen, Palos Altos, Bolivia Los Robles, Nicaragua Family’s Home Bathroom, Los Robles, Nicaragua

11 Home country’s educational setting may be primitive. Education may not be mandatory. Education may not be mandatory. Schools may not be accessible in rural areas. Schools may not be accessible in rural areas. Bench-style seats possible. Bench-style seats possible. School in Sapecho, Bolivia

12 Likely no learning groups, learning centers, independent work stations, partner work, posters, reference materials, etc. Likely no learning groups, learning centers, independent work stations, partner work, posters, reference materials, etc. Teacher usually instructs, students repeat and memorize, not asked to “participate” individually. Teacher usually instructs, students repeat and memorize, not asked to “participate” individually. School in Los Robles, Nicaragua

13 No indoor gym No indoor gym No cafeteria No cafeteria Few books, supplies Few books, supplies Parents have not be able to pay for uniforms and supplies; education is not always free Parents have not be able to pay for uniforms and supplies; education is not always free School Yard, Los Robles, Nicaragua Sitting on “basketball court” outside school, Los Robles, Nicaragua

14 Academic Support Considerations Do the parents read English? Do the parents read English? Do the parents read ANY language? Do the parents read ANY language? Do the parents both work? Do the parents both work? Can parents help if the parents cannot read the homework? Can parents help if the parents cannot read the homework? Is a parent home to supervise homework time? Is a parent home to supervise homework time? Do the parents understand the expectation to do homework? Do the parents understand the expectation to do homework? Can the parents communicate with the teacher? Can the parents communicate with the teacher?

15 Also… Can the homework be done independently? Can the homework be done independently? Is there a lot of reading required? Is there a lot of reading required?

16 Are there pencils, sharpeners, erasers and paper in the home? If so, are they accessible? Are there pencils, sharpeners, erasers and paper in the home? If so, are they accessible? Do students have fine motor skills to operate scissors, glue, markers, etc? Do students have fine motor skills to operate scissors, glue, markers, etc? How long will the homework take? How long will the homework take?

17 At-Home Project Considerations Are there school supplies at home? A computer? Are there school supplies at home? A computer? Is there money for supplies? Is there money for supplies? Materials for projects can be expensive. Materials for projects can be expensive. Does the family know where they can purchase supplies inexpensively? Does the family know where they can purchase supplies inexpensively?

18 Is there a place to work on projects at home? Is there a place to work on projects at home? Can the project be safe- guarded from younger siblings? Can the project be safe- guarded from younger siblings?

19 Does the family know what/where a library is and how to use it? Does the family know what/where a library is and how to use it? Do they have transportation to the library? Do they have transportation to the library? Is it close enough to walk? Is it close enough to walk? Is it safe to walk? Is it safe to walk?

20 Does the family have more than one car? Does the family have more than one car? Do they live close enough to walk to library/stores? Do they live close enough to walk to library/stores? Is it dangerous/too dark to walk? Is it dangerous/too dark to walk? Is there anyone home who can drive children to the library or to the store to buy supplies? Is there anyone home who can drive children to the library or to the store to buy supplies?

21 Communication Factors to Consider Parents’ educational levels? Parents’ familiarity with American culture? Parents’ ability to communicate orally and in writing; Does communication require interpreter/translation? Take-home folders and parental signatures may be unfamiliar requirements. Do parents have access to internet and ?

22 Suggestions for Educators: Allow students time to do projects in school. Show examples of projects/pictures of past projects. Give access to supplies in school. If possible, have students work with a peer or tutor in school.

23 Suggestions for Educators Send supplies home in a Ziploc bag. Make sure homework is short and can be done 100% independently. Modify homework expectations. Modify project time and complexity. Allow students to make up points lost due to missing homework/projects.

24 Other suggestions Schedule a parent conference with an interpreter* at the beginning of the year to explain expectations, homework, and projects requiring time outside of class Create/Explain the Communication Folder Explain Field trips/Permission slips at conference – translate building documents. To schedule an interpreter, first contact your school principal. To have a document translated, go to the district’s intranet: Our Departments / Office of Pupil Services / ESL / Resources / Forms & Reports / Request Forms / Request for Translation:

25 What do you think? What other ideas do you have to help students succeed? What did you find helpful? What would you still like to know?


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