Educators are expected to understand and be responsive to the different cultural and linguistic needs of the students in their classrooms. This is particularly important when working with and supporting ELLs and their families. Understanding what may be needed in the classroom, school, and larger community for this support to occur is critical to an educator’s role as an advocate.
Part 1: Mentor Interview and Discussion
Research the demographics for the school setting in which you plan to complete your field experience (e.g., race/ethnicity, languages spoken, ELLs, socioeconomic status). You may use the school’s website or your state’s department/board of education website.
Interview your mentor teacher about the school demographics related to the ELLs and their families in the school and larger community. Include the following in your interview:
How is a welcoming and inclusive school environment created for ELL families? How do you extend this to your own classroom?
How do the personal, familial, cultural, and social contexts of your ELLs affect their academic and English language learning?
How do you learn and familiarize yourself with the cultural identities of the students in your classroom? What practices do you have in place to support the cultural identities of your students?
What major concepts, principles, theories, and research related to the nature and role of culture and cultural groups informed how your school constructed learning environments to support cultural identities, language and literacy development, and content area achievement for ELLs? What are some major concepts, principles, theories, and research related to culture do you apply in your classroom?
Based on your school demographic research, create and discuss two additional questions or topics with your mentor.
Part 2: Observation
Observe your mentor for at least two hours or two class periods. You may also spend time observing other teachers the mentor has suggested as role models for working with ELL students. Focus your observations on the learning environment and how it supports ELLs’ cultural identities, language and literacy development, and content area achievement.
Part 3: Reflection
In 250-500 words, reflect on your mentor interview and observation. Address the following in your reflection:
What did you learn about constructing learning environments that support ELLs? Include how the learning environment you observed demonstrated major concepts, principles, theories, and research related to the nature and role of culture and cultural groups in supporting ELLs’ cultural identities, language and literacy development, and content area achievement.
What practices will you put in place to support the cultural identities represented in your classroom?