Leveraging Cultural and Linguistic Diversity for Academic Achievement | Teachers College Columbia University

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Leveraging Cultural and Linguistic Diversity for Academic Achievement

October 18, 2018 - October 19, 2018

Sponsored by the International and Transcultural Studies Department

Two Day Workshop:

  • Thrusday, October 18 from 9am-2:30pm
  • Friday, October 19 from 9am-2:30pm

Registration Fee Per Attendee: $295

Eligible for 1 CEU


The dynamic and ever-changing forms of cultural and linguistic diversity found in our public schools present unique challenges and opportunities for educators and youth development workers seeking to coach students to academic success. Although students’ cultural practices and modes of communication may differ from those emphasized in traditional academic settings, they can serve as rich resources for learning and expression if strategically tapped. Departing from the premise that practitioners from CBOs and nonprofits already have deep experience working with culturally and linguistically diverse student populations, this certificate workshop aims to build upon this experience by providing theoretical frameworks on second language acquisition and culturally sustaining teaching approaches that can be used to further enhance their work with these populations. Exercises that help participants to explore practical applications of the theoretical frameworks to the educational materials and activities used by their organizations will be integrated throughout the workshop.

  • Day One: Language Theories and Their Implications

    This session will focus on methods to scaffold the learning of English Learner (EL) students of different ages and at different levels of second language acquisition. Theories and strategies to develop students’ multilingual skills and to leverage their linguistic and cultural resources will be explored.

  • Day Two: Addressing Diversity Within Diversity

    This session will focus on methods to develop a baseline background knowledge of students’ cultural practices, histories, and knowledge; multi-modal approaches to teaching that expand traditional views of literacies; culturally sustaining approaches that embrace cultural diversity; and narrative approaches that encourage students to share their stories with others in safe, supportive spaces. Importance and techniques for involving families and communities in classroom learning will also be discussed.

The program is designed for educators and employees and managers of school-based nonprofit organizations and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) who seek to improve their knowledge and effective strategies for being culturally and linguistically responsive to young people, including to immigrant and English Learner (EL) students, in educational settings of great diversity.

Participants will leave the workshop with an understanding of:

  • Linguistic and sociocultural theories to develop EL’s second language skills and leverage first language skills
  • Culturally sustaining, multi-modal, and narrative approaches to learn about and capitalize upon student’s cultural practices and background experiences
  • Practical applications of theoretical frameworks and approaches to address and support cultural and linguistic diversity

Regina Cortina is Professor of Education in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her most recent book, Indigenous Education Policy, Equity, and Intercultural Understanding in Latin America (2017, Palgrave), is a comparative study of policies designed to increase the educational opportunities of Indigenous students, protect their rights to an education inclusive of their cultures and languages, and improve their education outcomes. The Education of Indigenous Citizens in Latin America (2014, Multilingual Matters), her previous book, examines unprecedented changes in education across Latin America that resulted from the endorsement of Indigenous peoples’ rights through the development of intercultural and bilingual education. Among her other major publications are Women and Teaching: Global Perspectives on the Feminization of a Profession (2006, Palgrave), Immigrants and Schooling: Mexicans in New York (2003, Center for Migration Studies), and Distant Alliances: Promoting Education for Girls and Women in Latin America (2000, Routledge). Professor Cortina has a Ph.D. in Education, a master’s degree in International and Comparative Education, and a master’s degree in Political Science, all from Stanford University; and a bachelor’s degree from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. Since the spring of 2009, she has served as Director of the Program in International and Comparative Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She was elected Vice-President of the Comparative and International Education Society in 2016 and will become President-Elect in March 2017, then President in March 2018. 

Amanda Earl is a Ed.D. student in the International Educational Development Program of the International and Transcultural Studies Department at Teachers College. She is also a doctoral recipient of the Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship through Columbia's Institute of Latin American Studies where she is learning Nahuatl, a language indigenous to Mexico. Her research interests converge around educational policies and teaching practices that affect marginalized and Indigenous students in Latin America and Latino and recent immigrant students in the US. She has worked as an educator for over nine years, both as a teacher in Philadelphia and Argentina and in college access for recent immigrant high school students in New York City. She holds an M.A. in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.A. in Classics from Brown University.

Martha Rosas is the Director of Academic Support Services for the School of Education at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus. Prior to working at Long Island University, she worked as a SEEK counselor at Baruch College and a first-grade Spanish-English dual language teacher in the New York City Public School System. In each of these capacities, she has served diverse student populations. She is currently working towards an Ed.D. with a focus in Language, Literacy, and Culture in the International and Transcultural Studies Department at Teachers College.

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