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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lesson Plan about Culture within Education Systems: Spanish Community Service Learning

by Ann Abbott

Here's an outline of my class today. The question we want to answer by the end of class is:
¿Sabemos cómo trabajar en la comunidad de manera culturalmente apropiada?

Warm up

In our last class we talked about mandatos-commands (Lección 5 in Comunidades: Más allá del aula). So I´ll start with some Simon-Says-style commands, that they have to listen to distinguish if they are for the whole class or just one student.
  • Levántate.
  • Levántense.
  • Salten.
  • Salten dos veces.
  • Da la mano a la persona a la par.
  • Den la mano a la persona a la par.
  • Siéntense.

Lección 6 in Comunidades

This lesson starts off with one of my favorite activities of all time: asking students how many continents there are. Then sharing with them how many continents other countries believe there are. This really hits home the idea that even things we think of as "facts," things we were taught in school as "facts," are embedded with our own culture and cultural values.

Then we'll continue through the series of activities that points out how culturally-specific a school setting is--in the content that is (or is not) taught, in the way the school day is structured, and in the way that students and families interact (or not) with school personnel.

What are some specific cultural issues in our own Latino community?

I want to always move students along a continuum of learning "in general" about cultures, culturally-appropriate behaviors and transcultural competence to learning "specifics" about the cultural perspectives, practices and products of our local Latino community. So I will hand out the pink telephone message pads again, and ask them to take down a message regarding the information I read to them (details omitted for privacy):
El Centro de Refugiados ECIRMAC esta indicado en la pagina estatal GetCovered Illinois como uno de los centros donde dan ayuda con asuntos de cobertura medica. Se que muchos necesitan hacer cambios o tienen preguntas sobre la cobertura medica de sus hijos. El Estado me dijo que todas las familias que tienen hijos y ya estaban aprobados para tarjeta medica recibieron correspondencia para que eligieran su proveedor medico. A quienes no respondieron al aviso o no enviaron los documentos requeridos de regreso se les asigno la compania Molina automáticamente. En el Centro de Refugiados la senora Carmen puede ayudarles con cambios o a resolver sus preguntas. Por favor llamen al 217-344-1111y hagan una cita para reunirse con ella si necesitan ayuda.
Asking students to take this down as a message pad is practice (over and over again we practice this) for what they actually have to do in their work. I've written before about how difficult this is for them and why. And then I'll ask them what this has to do with schools. I hope they'll understand that health insurance is an important issue for the children in schools.

What have you learned?

If there is time, I want students to take a moment to reflect on the first four weeks of the semester. I'll ask them to write the following on a note card:
  • What do you consider the most important thing you have learned so far in the classroom?
  • What do you consider the most important thing you have learned so far in the community?
Let's see what they answer!

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