REMEMBER ENGLISH? Over 100 student languages in Iowa school district:
Many of the students come from violent countries like Honduras and El Salvador, and teachers are taking numerous steps to accommodate their cultures while introducing them to the language.
“When they first come, if we know that their culture is where they’ve only been used to all girls together or all boys together, then we make sure we seat them near the same gender students. Then we ease them into working with others,” Meredith Middle School Intensive English Language teacher Jillea Bueso told the news site.
Bueso said educators also take special steps to ensure they don’t offend their immigrant student.
“Passing things out with your right hand and not just your left” is important, she said, because “in some cultures the left hand is like a dirty hand.”
Other teachers are using music to coax non-English speaking students into participating in school, and to learn new ways educators can craft culturally sensitive lessons.
“Their cultural backgrounds just give me energy,” teacher Meredith Marlou Sayor told WHOTV. “My mission is to get to know those cultures and then to let our regular staff know it too because it’s the not knowing that keeps us from connecting with students.”