Theoretical Foundations

Overall I found that the Capacity Building Series was where I gained the most insights and ideas so I’m sharing here the two articles I found most useful.

  1. Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

This article explains how teachers can approach ESL with a culturally responsive pedagogy.  This is a pedagogy that sees cultural diversity as an asset rather than a challenge or obstacle.  It also challenges some notions and biases that teachers may have when teaching students from different cultures. 

I’ve selected it because I know that it is very relevant to both my ESL teaching and general courses as well.  Examining my own innate biases and looking for ways to become a more inclusive teacher has been one of my goals since beginning teaching.  I believe that I will be consulting this document and many of the articles it references throughout this course and beyond as I work to better plan classes for diverse groups of students.

The article is specifically important in the context of working with ELLs because they are more often from diverse cultural backgrounds (although that assumption is challenged in this article!)

2. A World of Words

This article looked at vocabulary and the acquisition of new words and how this can be a very large factor in determining student success in the long run. 

As a Spanish teacher I’ve always been focused on vocabulary but this article really hit home both the benefits of vocabulary acquisition and the barriers that a lack of vocabulary can have.  I appreciated the concrete examples but mostly just the research in convincing anyone who reads it of its importance.  Looking at this through the lens of working with ELLs I am even more aware of how important this is for students trying to be successful in a school environment that is taking place entirely in a new language. They will need strategies to incorporate huge amounts of new vocabulary and this article is a good place to start thinking about how to help them do so.

Preparing for ELLs

Developing Social and Academic Skills

Literacy Development and Engagement

Building Competence and Confidence