Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sociocultural Aspects of Schooling for ELs

One goal of mine as a future educator is to create an environment where each student feels a sense of belonging.  I have noticed that students who have been in the United States for many years tend to stick with other peers similar to them.  Students who are recently new to the United States seem to be segregated from the dominant race as well as their own.  It is important for me as a teacher to make sure everybody feels comfortable.  One way I plan on doing this is to introduce the class to a project I have been thinking about.  The project, “Sailing around the World,” will provide each student an opportunity to teach the class about the culture, country, and demographics of an area in the world that they are from.  Students can work in groups with people from similar backgrounds.  Each day I will have the ship “dock” in a different part of the world.  The students will also be required to tell the class how the ship was able to get there (wind currents, ocean currents, etc.).  Another idea I have is for students to pick out of a scientist from their part of the world.  The students can write a brief paper that describes who the scientist is, where he is from, and what he is famous for.  I think it is important for students to see that scientists and other famous people come from all over the world.  On the first day of school, I am going to ask each student to put their name on a placard and draw pictures of their hobbies, what they’re proud of, or what they simply like to do with their free time.  After I have learned all of the students’ names, I will hang up their placard on the wall in the class so that all of the students can see what their peers enjoy doing.  Not only will this give the student a sense of pride, but students can also see what other students like to do and perhaps form a new friendship.  It is also important that students know a little about each of their peers.  I am going to develop a classroom website where each student will have to post during the first week a brief history of their life.  Each student will be required to read and to post on at least five different student’ blogs.  By reading the blogs, students can also identify similarities in other students’ blogs and develop relationships.  Without using the blogs as a method to communicate, students would probably not be able to see what they have in common with the students outside their immediate group of friends.  It is extremely important for me as the teacher to have background information about my students, as well as the students knowing about their peers.  Catherine Little stated in her article that she was terrified of animals.  I think her teacher could have prevented a traumatic experience by simply having a little background information.

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