Saturday, February 28, 2004

Susan Howell: communicating with English learners requires not only language instruction but also cultural, religious sensitivity

"Teachers must understand a child's culture, religion and background, Susan Howell said. Poverty and uneducated parents are also roadblocks for immigrant or refugee children trying to learn English, she said."

"'If language is all you're dealing with, it's a piece of cake,' Howell said. 'Language is not the issue. It's dealing with the individual and where they're coming from.'"

"Howell has worked for 25 years in the English language learner program in the Nashville, Tenn., school district. She spoke to teachers Friday during the conference 'Partnerships: Together Moving Every English Language Learner Forward' in Springdale, Arkansas. More than 300 teachers and administrators from around the state attended the two-day conference."

"Teachers must also be sensitive to religious and cultural beliefs, Howell said."

"'I think too often we don't see into the lives of our children,' she said."

Northwest Arkansas Morning News

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