In today’s climate, many of our students’ families are feeling anxious. Anxious about whether they are welcome in the United States. Anxious about escalating disagreements and protests surrounding immigrants from countries near and far. Anxious that loved ones may be deported. Regardless of our own political beliefs, as teachers, we are called to empathize with, support, and love our students. We are called to respond to their social and emotional challenges as much as their academic ones. I am reminded of this each day that I open the newspaper or read about current events online, and over and over, the following story pops into my head, as clearly as if I had experienced it yesterday.
This week on the Heinemann blog, we’re sharing a series on Language in the Classroom. The series was inspired by an article published by NPR on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, on the ways we teach English Learners in our country. While the NPR article was specific to English Learners, our hope is to use that as a jumping off point to broader topics of language instruction in the classroom. Each day this week we will feature articles, excerpts and insights directly from Heinemann authors and affiliates that further the conversation surrounding language diversity in the classroom, the challenges it presents, and what we know works.
Sharing Power for Authentic and Effective Language Study
A critical component of language study is to share power with students and families. While teachers typically hold the most power in classrooms, and while their expertise is essential to moving classroom learning forward, language study is a platform for instruction that encourages you, your students, and their families to share this power, and for all to become more active participants in the classroom. If children feel their teachers and peers value their ideas, consider their perspectives, and share academic and social power with them, they are more likely to focus on and learn the information at hand.
In Celebrating Diversity Through Language Study, author Jen McCreight introduces us to a new approach to grammar study, a subject area all too often taught without students and their unique backgrounds in mind. In this post adapted from Sonia Nieto's foreword to the book, we see the true importance of this kind of work in the everyday classroom.
In Celebrating Diversity Through Language Study, author Jen McCreight introduces us to a new approach to grammar study, a subject area all too often taught without students and their unique backgrounds in mind. In this post adapted from Jen's introduction to the book, she argues for a more personal approach to grammar is necessary if we want to reach every learner in today's linguistically diverse classrooms.