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PBS Offers Teachers Tips On Handling Undocumented Students

PBS Offers Teachers Tips On Handling Undocumented Students

In the past eight months, nearly 60,000 undocumented school-aged children have entered the United States, some unaccompanied by a family member. 

So says an article on, where writer Amy Mazur said these children "are eligible to enroll in U.S. schools and to be given access to the same school-based resources as children born in this country."

"These resources require professionals who are skilled in teaching as well as other seemingly unrelated fields like nursing, nutrition, speech and language, occupational and physical therapy, psychology, psychiatry and social work, just to name a few," said Mazur. "Individuals working from these disciplines have field-specific training and certification, yet all have to acquire new skills in order to understand how the background of their new students impact successful instruction."

Mazur offers teachers and professionals tips on how to "facilitate school success for these undocumented students, and what they need to know about them." One of the tips is "just because a student may think with an accent doesn't mean they think with an accent."

Mazur said that many of the students "know the academic content but do not have the English language skills to express their knowledge."

"It is important not to jump to conclusions about a student’s prior knowledge or aptitude based on their lack of English language-expressive or receptive language skills," she said. "Professionals must ask themselves how else they can assess student knowledge."

Mazur suggests that teachers should ask the question: "what other ways can they bring new information to these students?"

"I suggest dramatization, hands-on activities and movies, as well as shared learning experiences in which new students are paired with peers who speak their language and have access to the curriculum in both English and the student’s native language," she said.

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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