Student Engagement

10 Things Gained From Working With Your Hispanic Students
by Don Cassetori

1. Appreciation
We will learn to appreciate the effort of our International students as they attempt to learn a second language, especially if we try to learn a little of their language, culture, and customs. The appreciation gained goes both ways as they come to appreciate the efforts that their teachers are making to help them.

2. Professional development
Many teachers seek out professional development courses to assist them in accommodating their Hispanic and other international students thus expanding understanding and knowledge.

3. Pedagogical advancement
Using non-verbal communication, pairs and groups, compare and contrast, ongoing and repeated feedback and scaffolding are all ways of helping our ESL learners. These turn out to be techniques that help us a great deal in mainstream education also.

4. Second language acquisition
The conscientious teacher will make some effort to enlist help from translators and may develop a bit of insight into understanding some parts and nuances of another language. They may even find programs that are fun and informative that helps them to learn many useful phrases for the classroom.

5. Acculturation exchange
By learning about our students’ culture there develops a cultural exchange and this contributes to acculturation. Many Hispanic and other international students will learn to accept new ways and become Americanized but usually hang on to many of their own customs in the process. We educators may learn to accept a dish that is native to a student’s country or a custom like Cinco de Mayo with which we became familiar and therefore somewhat acculturated. We may learn to develop lesson plans built around Hispanic literature and/or history, geography or politics.

6. Dedication
By continuing to apply good techniques and taking a personal interest in our Hispanic students we develop a dedication to success for both our students and our country. By investing in the success of these students we guarantee the future of our Social Security program, as well as other programs that lead to the financial stability of our nation.

7. We become good listeners
Much like with our native-born students good listening skills need to be developed in order to gain insight into the personal interests of our immigrant learners. We need to find common ground that may tie an interest like sports, hobbies, skills, etc. that may need a caring adult to help foster the augmentation of development. Inventories may need to be verbalized due to the lack of expression skills in the new language.

8. Joint planning is developed
We may need to enlist the aid of fellow students, parents, church leaders, and support staff to assist in plans for educational and social advancement. Many times guest speakers are a great help in fostering interests and dedication on the part of our ESL learners. We may also utilize fellow students to assist during study halls or actual class work.

9. Establish family outreach
A subgroup of your school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) or Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) for Hispanic or international parents is always a great idea. They may feel more in control and useful when given the chance to contribute ideas and resources for the education of their children.

10. International opportunities
Many teachers are able to seek, pursue, and be presented with opportunities for foreign travel through groups that may visit some of the international areas or be sponsored through agencies that seek representatives for travel and fun.