Resource Page – Designing culturally responsive and culturally sustaining pedagogy for struggling adolescent and adult EAL learners with Dr Andrea DeCapua

Webinar, Tuesday 14 September, 9-10:30am

Andrea DeCapua, Ed.D. is a teacher, researcher, and educational consultant. She has held university appointments at several institutions of higher learning in the United States, including New York University and the University of North Florida. She consults with school districts and professional organizations and is an invited presenter in North America, Europe, and now Australia. Her research interests include struggling culturally and linguistically diverse language learners, particularly students with limited/interrupted formal education (SLIFE) culturally responsive pedagogy, and cross-cultural awareness training. Dr. DeCapua has published numerous articles, book chapters, and books, including a three-book series on SLIFE with H.W. Marshall: Meeting the Needs of SLIFE (2020); Breaking New Ground: Teaching Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (2011) and Making the Transition to Classroom Success: Culturally Responsive Teaching for Struggling Language Learners (2013). In addition, her e-book: SLIFE: What Every Teacher Needs to Know targeted toward all classroom teachers with SLIFE in their classrooms, appeared in 2019.

Session Description

English as an additional language (EAL) learners are a highly diverse group entering our schools with a wide range of backgrounds and needs. Many of them readily develop the necessary language skills, are able to access grade-level subject area content knowledge, and progress satisfactorily in school. However, there are other EAL learners for whom school presents major challenges, who do not progress smoothly, and who are at high risk, particularly those learners who have experienced limited, interrupted, or in some cases no formal education.  Despite best intentions, teachers frequently find that conventional pedagogical practices are not effective with this population. While there are numerous reasons why these learners struggle and accepted pedagogical practices are largely ineffective, I argue that it is not only the new language and unfamiliar content, but also – and more critically – the nature of formal education itself that is a key barrier to their success. I outline the Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm (MALP®), a culturally responsive instructional model that builds bridges to formal education for struggling culturally and linguistically diverse learners.  This model promotes academic achievement by helping these learners access the literacy practices and academic ways of thinking of our schools and contemporary society while honoring and respecting their own learning paradigm.  I conclude by examining ways to infuse this model into the classroom through project-based learning.

Please note that the resources from this session will only be available for session registrants, but may be made more freely available in the future. We thank Andrea for making these resources available.

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