Language Teacher in Focus: Million Kelati
Thanks to the efforts of teachers on the OEA bargaining team, elementary schools with high numbers of newcomers now receive extra support. These teachers on special assignment, called Elementary Newcomer Teacher Leaders (ENTLs), provide pull-out newcomer instruction, as well as PD and coaching to other teachers at their school. We spoke with one of these ENTLs—Ms. Kelati—and some of her students about uplifting newcomers' home cultures and languages.
Elementary Newcomer Teacher Leader
Franklin and Garfield Elementary Schools
Describe how your instruction has shifted as we've moved from in-person to distance learning.
My instruction has shifted in a number of ways, including being more concise and clear about objectives, more intentional about relationship and community building, and using more visuals and multimedia to increase learning and understanding.
What classroom practices or routines do you have in place to demonstrate to your newcomers that their home languages/cultures are valued and assets for their learning?
One routine we have in place is a slide that has information, like the days of the week, in each child's home language. Also pictures and visuals that represent the class's diverse cultures are prioritized. Students also teach the class and the teacher words in their home languages.
What are some specific practices or strategies you have used in your distance learning classroom (specifically that support ELL access to rigorous instruction)?
- Building relationships
- Making time for quick weekly 1:1 check-ins
- Using visuals and extra emphasis on vocabulary, especially for all new learning
- Concise and clear lesson organization
- Sentence starters
- Building classroom culture and community