This is a guest post written by Katelyn Sedelmyer.
This summer there has been much talk around issues pertaining to immigration. As we head back to school, it’s likely that these public conversations will continue, and as teachers, we know that rhetoric matters. In these times, how can districts and schools ensure that immigrant and refugee students feel safe and free from discrimination? How can teachers facilitate productive classroom conversations about diversity, politics, and current events that affect their students?
Below are some resources NCTE has compiled for teachers looking to have these tough but important conversations in their classrooms.
- Teaching Poetry of the Immigrant Experience, six lesson ideas by Sara Burnett
- Teaching Resources from Made into America, an immigrant stories archive
- Elementary-level lesson from ReadWriteThink: “Seeing Multiple Perspectives, An Introductory Critical Literacy Lesson”
- The New Americans, PBS lesson plans on immigration
- Teaching Tolerance’s Educator Guide to the Immigration Debate
- Teaching Tolerance’s resources on the 2016 election, lessons on civic activities and countering bias
- Guidelines for Discussing Difficult or Controversial Topics, from the University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching
• Teaching after Tragedy
“Coming to school on tragic days is one of the toughest parts of teaching. It’s also, of course, one of the most important.” -Ken Lindblom
• Teaching the 2016 Presidential Election: Racism, Immigration, and Xenophobia
“As educators, there are some important ways in which you can empower students to use the current rise of xenophobia and intolerance in the US and abroad to inspire global competence. Doing this will, in turn, help develop your students into young leaders who can engage with the current political discourse in a way that is meaningful and authentic to their own lives and contexts.” –Apoorvaa Joshi
• Teaching Students to Consider Immigration with Empathy
“I ask students to see cultures, including their own, as experiments in sustainability. I encourage them to ask, ‘If we continue as we are (in this case, without immigration reform), what will things look like forty years from now–and what do we want them to look like?’” -Miguel Vasquez
• What Undocumented Students Bring to the Classroom
“Classrooms can be forums for the honest, uncomfortable, revealing conversations adults don’t make enough time for in their public lives. Every student has important insights to share.” –Andrew Simmons
Katelyn was NCTE’s policy and research intern in the DC office in 2015-2016. A graduate of American University’s MPA program, she currently works on ICF International’s Youth and Adult Education team. As a former ESL teacher of adult immigrants, she is interested in the intersection of education and immigration. You can find her on Twitter as @katesedelmyer.