“It is an amazing resource center, a generator of great ideas, a great sharing tool for educators. Great job and well done!” – Participant
Between 2010 and 2030, immigrants and their children will account for 85 percent of net workforce growth, and by 2050 one in three children under the age of 18 will be either an immigrant or the child of an immigrant. Data and trends on the changing face of America and its evolving classrooms highlight the vital role that K-12 and adult educators play in shaping the future of this country. For this reason, The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute hosts an annual, free, online workshop, Immigrant Student Success: Models and Tools for K-12 and Adult Educators, for teachers to capitalize on the assets their immigrant students bring to the classroom.
This year’s online workshop was held on July 8 and 9, 2015, and featured 10 experts from across the U.S. discussing the value of immigrant students and offering models and techniques for encouraging immigrant student success for the benefit of the entire classroom. Participants from 29 states actively engaged in the conversation, interacting with the presenters and sharing ideas and resources with their fellow teachers from across the country. According to one participant, “This was excellently organized and moderated. I enjoyed the expertise of all presenters and the ability to share ideas with other attendees. I will definitely refer colleagues to future workshops.”
Led by Director of The ILC Public Education Institute Denzil Mohammed, with support from Assistant Director Chiara Magini and Program Assistant Cho Salma Win, the workshop offered six modules and a panel discussion over two days.
Main takeaways from the online workshop include:
- Maintain an asset-based perspective of immigrant students that values and builds on the strengths that all students bring with them.
- There is a need to go beyond the classroom in order to contextualize our immigrant students’ experiences as part of families, cultures and communities.
- Engage with immigrant students as a part of that bigger picture in order to help enrich the classroom community.
- The teacher has a key role as facilitator of an inclusive learning experience for all students and facilitator of community-building within and outside of the classroom.
Mohammed opened the first day outlining data and projections on immigrant demographics in America’s Evolving Communities and Classrooms. Dr. Usha Tummala-Narra of the Lynch School of Education at Boston College offered a compelling psychological perspective of immigrant students in Immigrant Identity: Mind and Motivations of Foreign-Born Students, before a self-reflection activity aimed at Developing an Asset-Based Perspective on Immigrant Students, led by Magini. Finally, a discussion on Models that Value Classroom Diversity featured a variety of presenters who shared models and practices to support and value immigrant students in and out of the classroom. Moderated by Silja Kallenbach (World Education, Inc.), panelists included Eileen Kugler (Embrace Diverse Schools), Claire Tesh (Community Education Center at the American Immigration Council) and Susan Rojas (The ILC).
The second day was opened by Sarah Lynn of Pearson ELT with a lecture on Key Elements for Immigrant Student Success, which was followed by two hands-on modules on classroom activities to enhance immigrant student success while providing benefits for the whole classroom. Sara Burnett of the Community Education Center at the American Immigration Council led the first module on Crossing Borders with Digital Storytelling while Katie Li of Charlestown High School engaged participants in lesson planning activities for Teaching Language and Content through Projects.