For some newcomer children and youth, the stress and trauma that they have experienced can interfere with daily routines and activities, and can result in emotional struggles. Responses to stress and trauma can be complex and may vary depending on the child’s age, the duration and intensity of the traumatic events, the child’s personality, and the child’s experiences in a new country.
Have you noticed that about halfway into the school year, new ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students, who once seemed excited and energized, seem to hit a wall? Students who once were bright-eyed and cheerful come to school looking listless and detached. More than just the mid- year doldrums, they may be in the crisis stage of the powerful phenomenon of culture shock.
Chances are that your English language learners (ELLs) come from a culture with traditions and family values that differ from mainstream American culture. These young children not only have the challenge of learning a new language, but also of adjusting to an unfamiliar cultural setting and school system. Imagine what it would be like to step into a foreign classroom where you didn't understand the language, rules, routines, or expected behavior. On a daily basis, ELLs are adjusting to new ways of saying and doing things. As their teacher, you are an important bridge to this unknown culture and school system. There are a number of things you can do to help make ELLs' transitions as smooth as possible.