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Myth or Truth? Accepting Cultural Differences for a Global Mindset

A guest post by Deborah Cochran ESOL Teacher for grades K-5 at Craig Elementary School, Parkway School District in St. Louis, MO Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning. *The following article is an updated version of a prior post by the author.   Multiculturalism is a hot topic in education today; just ask any teacher. As more multicultural students enter the classroom, educators have to continually challenge old ways of thinking about culture. But where to start? Like it or not, most assumptions about other cultures arise from cultural stereotypes or complete myths. And debunking those myths is an important first step when entering the pathway to a global mindset.
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How Do You Say Your Name? Thoughts on Student Identity

A new boy shows up at school. As he walks through the classroom door, the teacher welcomes him by saying, "Tell us your name." The boy, who has just moved to America from the Philippines, announces his name as Banoy Pamatmat. Whereupon the teacher asks, "Could you repeat that?" Welcome to an increasingly common scenario in today's schools. As more immigrants relocate to America, educators encounter a wider array of new names and faces. And many of those names are challenging to pronounce.
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The Importance of Multicultural Equity in Education

A guest post by Colleen Chung Teaching Coordinator for ELL,Title 1, & 21st Century Grant - Alvah Scott Elementary School (Aiea, HI) Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning. Designed by Freepik   My husband is Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese, while I am third-generation Irish. As a diverse couple, we decided that when we had children, we would raise them here in Hawaii, the state of Aloha. Interestingly, our family's multicultural trends don't stop there. My daughter just married a man from Norway and we expect their children to speak both Norwegian and English. Their wedding represented families from four continents. Diversity is the American way! It not only helps us learn from each other, but it also inspires greatness, as you will see from the following example.
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An irresistible way to change lives with a book

We know books can shape lives in many ways.  Here is one easy way to bring that power to your elementary classroom or home. I learned this lesson my freshman year in high school.  I attended a diverse Chicago high school.  And I can tell you, there were plenty of students who wished they were anywhere but school. But one thing the school had going for it was a gifted veteran English teacher who knew the power of books.  And she gave us a gift some 35 years ago. She had us read the gothic romance novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.  (Not exactly the coolest book for a high school boy to read.  The cover looked like a romance novel your mom would read at the beauty shop.)  To my surprise, it was a great book.  But I was in for a much bigger surprise a few days later.
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Increasing awareness of language diversity

Did you know that English learners are the most rapidly growing student population in U.S. schools? (See this report.) As this population continues to grow, it’s important to be aware of other languages and realize the impact language diversity can have on our schools and lives. Yet sometimes it can be easy to feel that the language we speak is the only language out there. What can we do to be more aware that not all students speak the same language?
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