Jun 9, 2017

Building Culture For All

This week I stumbled across an article from Castlegar News. It told the story of Emily Kandborg and her journey as she became a teacher of teaching English as a second language. The first quote from her spoke to me immediately. She said,

“Learning and teaching culture is my passion, and while my students are here learning English and what becoming Canadian is about, I get the opportunity to learn everything about them as well. Being able to give them the language tools to express themselves and share their culture is the most gratifying thing.”

As an inclusion teacher for my grade level, something resonated with me about the ability to teach and learn culture. Often times when you think of teaching students who are learning English as a second language you think of the work that needs to be done. The speaking, listening, reading, and writing tasks that need to be taught and learned. You get lost in the "to-do" and can forget that the culture is the core of who we are. There is no place for it on a lesson plan  - maybe there should be. Students come into our classrooms where the culture is very different and the way that we interact can even be different. As a small child I am sure this can be overwhelming and even scary.

Emily made another comment in the article about how resilient her students were despite everything they had been through. I think about that all the time when I look at my students. It amazes me how small children can come to school with all of this “stuff” weighing on them and manage to sit quietly, follow directions, and do as they are asked. Most of the time all while exceeding my expectations.

I have taken time to build culture within out classroom, but this makes me stop and reflect. Have I taken the time to let in my students culture? Have I made time to tell them how proud I am for how hard they work?

Each year is an opportunity to be a better version of yourself. Looking forward to all that the new school year will bring!  

Service, W. (2017, June 08). Selkirk College TESOL program brings international experience home. Retrieved June 09, 2017, from http://www.castlegarnews.com/community/selkirk-college-tesol-program-brings-international-experience-home/

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