An asset-based approach to teaching focuses on the strengths of students and recognizes they come to the learning process with knowledge, backgrounds, and experiences that can contribute to their continued learning and growth. Teachers who take the time to gather information on their ELLs and tap into their funds of knowledge can design effective instruction that builds on their rich cultural and linguistic resources.
Part 1: Mentor Interview
Interview your mentor teacher about how information is gathered on ELLs and used to leverage their cultural and linguistic assets. Include the following in your interview:
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- What are examples of cultural and linguistic assets or funds of knowledge your ELLs possess?
- How do you collect ELL student data and information related to their knowledge, backgrounds, experiences, and interests? What type of student data/information do you have access to when you have a new student that is an ELL? How might student data/information differ based on special population or ELL typology (e.g., newcomer, student with limited or interrupted formal education, refugee, long-term English learner)?
- What laws or special considerations for your state or school district must you adhere to regarding the collection and use of student data/information?
- What are examples of how you use ELL student data/information in your classroom to build on the background knowledge of your ELLs?
- How do you use multicultural or multilingual resources in your classroom to connect ELLs to the curriculum and what benefits have you seen from their use?
- How do you cultivate an understanding of the larger community that your ELLs belong to in order to develop an asset-based perspective?
- How do you support other teachers and staff in developing an asset-based approach to teaching and working with ELLs?
Part 2: Inventory Tool and Mentor Discussion
With your mentor, review and identify inventory tools for evaluating culturally responsive curriculum or multicultural resources in a classroom or school library (e.g., textbook Figure 6.6 Assessing Multicultural Resources Tool, Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard in topic Resources, a tool found online or provided by your mentor teacher).
Collaborate with your mentor to select and complete an inventory tool and discuss areas of strength and opportunities for improvement in ensuring the curriculum is culturally responsive or multicultural resources in the classroom or school are accessible to students.
Part 3: Reflection
In 250-500 words, reflect on your mentor interview and the time spent evaluating resources in collaboration with your mentor teacher. Include the following in your reflection:
- How you plan to collect and use student data and background information to learn about the personal, cultural, and linguistic assets of your ELLs and tap into their funds of knowledge.
- Key criteria you will look for to ensure curriculum or resources are culturally responsive and leverage the backgrounds of ELLs in your classroom/school.