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Hillary: How important would you say teaching acceptance of others in the classroom?

Dr.E: Teaching acceptance is an extremely important topic throughout K-12. The fact that
we don't teach it enough is why we have many incidences of bullying. Saying nothing
condones the behavior and deems it acceptable.

Hillary: How have you taught this topic in your classroom and could you give me an
Dr.E: One of the things that I did in my classroom (even with 7 year olds -- second graders)
is having students research and present a news piece (local, national, or world news). A
different student can report each day. As a teacher you can dictate the topic. This allows
you to address topics such as 'acceptance' while at the same time integrates the language
skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

I have also taught lessons on empathy. Where I share how meanness and hurtful behavior
comes about from students who may have experienced disappointment, loss, or negative
situations in their life, which makes them hard, resentful, and later they manifest into hurtful
behavior. Students learn to talk about those instances to obtain understanding, and
hopefully to eliminate the outward behaviors that can be injurious to others.

Hillary: How many years have you taught ESL instruction in the classroom.
Dr.E: The number of years vary between my time as a teacher, literacy coach, and
administrator who supervised teachers who taught English language learners. Overall, over
10 years.

Hillary: From your experience teaching culture in the classroom how much of an effect did
you notice from your students?
Dr. E: There were times where I explicitly taught culture, but more importantly was the
implementation of culturally relevant instruction. This means providing resources and
allowing discussions that allow for students to see or share their culture with others.
Overtime, students begin to see this as part of the classroom culture and inevitably students
don't just 'tolerate' but accept/embrace differences (in race/ethnicity, language, gender, faith,
ableness and more).

Hillary: How has working with ESL students and their families differed from working with
mainstream students?
Dr. E: In terms of caring, there is no difference. It is, however, much more difficult to discern
family background with respect to education from the get go but as you spend more time
with parents (mostly with the assistance of an interpreter educator or family member) you
can ask all the questions you need that would lend to working with parents for the best
interest of their child. Parents of English learners are often apprehensive about participating
because they feel they don't have as much to offer due to language barriers, but this doesn't
have to be true if educators build relationships that make them feel comfortable and

Hillary: Do ESL teaching techniques work with mainstream students?
Dr. E: The short answer is 'yes' ESL strategies and techniques do work with mainstream
students, particularly students who may need additional scaffolding. For instance, students
who come from low socio-economic households may have challenges with academic
language or concepts that may relate to standards that need to be taught. Also, not all
students may have mastered learning strategies that help them understand content and
vocabulary. Techniques such as using visuals and graphic organizers such as thinking maps
helps mainstream as well as ELs.