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Our ESL kids share their stories
Yesterday was Diversity Day as STHS. One of the projects I was happy to help with was our ESL Stories. We asked our little group of students from Ukraine, China, Tibet, and Korea, to share their personal stories about coming to America.
While our initial intent was to create opportunities for our ESL students to practice written and spoken fluency, what happened as we presented these stories–most of which were about the decision to come to American–audience changed everything. Giving the kids a stage resulted in the collateral benefit of empathy and new understanding from the students who have lived their lives in Springfield.
Mainstream Springfield students got to know the quiet ESL kids in their classes through a different lens.
The stories, with their themes of loneliness, fear, and sacrifice, fostered genuine respect for these students’ hardships and struggles. And for how hard they have to work to catch up.
About Joyce Valenza
Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza
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