George Lucas Educational Foundation

How to Welcome Newcomers in the Classroom

Putting supportive systems into place for newcomers and creating a classroom culture that celebrates each student’s heritage helps all learners feel like they belong.

January 12, 2024

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, in 2021, nearly one in four students in the U.S. came from an immigrant family, and a growing number of those students are new arrivals to the country. These learners often face complex obstacles in the classroom when it comes to understanding a different language, connecting with other students, and catching up academically. By intentionally honoring home cultures, encouraging peer support, and providing technology to bridge language gaps, teachers can help newcomers settle into the classroom—and set them up for success. These strategies not only support students who have just come to the country, but create a holistic culture of acceptance, collaboration, and risk-taking.

To find more resources for supporting newcomers, read Nirmala Ramsaran’s article for Edutopia titled “4 Effective Strategies for Supporting Newcomer English Learners,” and to see more of the strategies from the teachers featured in this video, watch “Making Space for Native Languages in Newcomer Classrooms,” “Tailoring Instruction to Support English Language Learners,” and “Developing Confidence Through Delayed Grading.”

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  • Culturally Responsive Teaching
  • English Language Learners

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