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The Real Cost of Culture Clash


Imagine you had to move with your toddler to China, where you were told the best thing was to speak only Mandarin to her so she could learn the dominant language. Unless you’re fluent, or at least conversant in this language, chances are your communications at home are going to be blunt and sloppy. Although you do this as an act of love, to help her assimilate, you one day discover a language-comprehension discrepancy so insurmountable that you can’t even speak to your child at all.

This is but one scenario Carrie Woodcock of the World Language Academy, Hall County School District, shares with us in a series of conversations about getting Georgia reading. Encouraging use of the mother tongue around the home is a one critical recommendation she makes to educators, who she implores to re-evaluate what we consider to be a supportive learning environment for English learners.

Please watch Carrie’s talk. You don’t want to miss the story of Miguel. A Georgia school’s poor understanding of this young boy had devastating consequences.

Then go back to our last installment with Scholastic’s Evan At. Lifer, who breathes new life into the topic of school readiness.