English-Language Learners

Site Offers Advice For English-Learner Teachers Discussing the Election

By Corey Mitchell — November 11, 2016 1 min read
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Colorín Colorado, a bilingual website for educators and families of English-language learners, has compiled a resource list for ELL teachers who are discussing the 2016 presidential election and its implications with their students.

The guide provides links to advice on preventing bullying, ensuring respect for differences of opinion, and allowing an open forum for students to share their thoughts.

Immigrant communities across the country have expressed fear that President-elect Donald Trump will follow through on his campaign promises to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, deport scores of undocumented immigrants, and ban Muslim immigration.

Schools across the nation have offered counseling and support for anxious students in the aftermath of Trump’s victory. Since Election Day, dozens of reports have surfaced of students invoking Trump’s name and statements to harass Hispanic and Muslim peers.

The Colorín Colorado guide also includes a link to an Education Week post exploring how Erwin High, in the Buncombe County, N.C., schools, responded after students posted anti-immigration signs in a school hallway last fall as part of a class assignment. The display roiled a school community that assumed it had a solid relationship with its immigrant students, including Spanish-speaking English-learners.

The guide includes a message that Kristian Robertson, the Roseville, Minn., schools English-learners program administrator, shared with her staff.

“This election included a difficult conversation about immigrants and immigration. Today our students may be worried that some of the plans discussed will be enacted and cause harm in their lives. Please be sensitive this week as students bring up election results, wish to vent, or may act out in some way,” Robertson wrote.

“Listen and acknowledge their feelings, but redirect them to focus on the positive things in their lives that will continue to be there supportive family educators and a school community that will keep them safe. Be careful with your own words and discussions that students may overhear.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.