Meaning Beyond the Words

I recently took The Meaning Beyond the Words. How Language, Race, & Culture Impact Science Teaching & Learning self-guided Professional Learning Unit offered by the NSTA and it reminded me of the importance of engaging students in an inclusive manner which encourages interest and ownership, else we risk alienating students as cultural outsiders in their own classrooms.

These are the questions I was prompted to answer and I would like to hear your thoughts too!  

  1. How do you signal to your students that both the ideas they are communicating and how they are communicating those ideas are valued in the classroom?
  2. Think about the lesson you are currently teaching or have taught.  If you asked your students how what they are doing in the lesson is connected to their own lives, their community, or the world, what do you think they would say?


I have short results of a poll around question 2 above.  ESOL adults state they are better able to communicate in English with their neighbors or through their daily lives in the community.  They also said they are better able to understand communication from their child's/children's schools.  100% reported positive experiences with learning and using English.