Immigrant students are assets to classrooms, immigrant parents are very much interested in their children’s education, and schools need to actively engage with immigrants instead of only providing them with information.
These are some of the assertions made by the experts in the free, annual, online workshop Immigrant Student Success: Models and Tools for K-12 and Adult Educators, hosted by The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute and the American Immigration Council on July 12 and 13, 2016. Participants from 35 states collaborated with education experts from across the country on lesson plans and strategies to create a culture of respect in classrooms, debunking myths, building relationships with immigrant parents and communities, and empowering U.S.- and foreign-born students alike.
This year’s free online workshop featured a record number of 13 esteemed presenters with expertise in K-12 education, adult education and workforce development: Federico Salas-Isnardi, Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning; Claire Tesh and Sara Burnett, American Immigration Council; Dr. Usha Tummala-Narra, Boston College; Dr. Tatyana Kleyn, City College of New York; Eileen Kugler, Embrace Diverse Schools; Dana Brown, Malden High School; Julie Mann, Newcomers High School; Dr. Steve Burby, Brentwood School District; Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld, Molloy College; Alaísa Grudzinski, psychotherapist; Andrea Garcia-Fernandez, Year Up and a former undocumented student; and Denzil Mohammed, The ILC Public Education Institute.
Some of the main takeaways included:
- Storytelling breaks stereotypes, makes “foreigners” human and real, and helps students relate with each other and be empowered/inspired.
- Be aware of all the prejudices and biases you bring into the classroom as an educator, and then help your students realize their own. Make a safe space for honest and open discussion and a place to tell their stories.
- Immigrant students often experience more negative psychological outcomes than American-born peers due to stress of migration, discrimination and other acculturative stress (e.g. intergenerational conflict)
- Parents can be valuable partners in education. Reach out to them in places where they’re comfortable; don’t just have them come to you.
Learn more with recordings, presentations and other resources from the online workshop.
The ILC Public Education Institute hosts free webinars and online workshops throughout the year that bring immigration experts together to offer best practices to educators, immigrant-serving organizations and faith communities. To be notified of the dates of the next free webinar, sign up here.