Empowering English Learners as Assets

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Institutional Author
Language Magazine
Resource Type
Acquisition Number
Published Date
07-05-2018 3:53 PM
Published Year
Subscription Only
A refugee from Ethiopia has just joined your first-grade class. During the first two weeks, you learn the following about him: 1) He does not know a word of English. 2) He has already been in three fights. 3) He wears the same clothes several days a week. 4) His mother has never been to school and his father is legally blind. What thoughts do you have about this boy? Do you worry about his future? Now, consider these additional facts: 1) This boy already speaks two languages, his native Tigrinya and Arabic. 2) He can already add and subtract. 3) He is an excellent soccer player (he played every day in the refugee camp). 4) His parents value education and ensure he arrives at school on time every day. The young boy in this story is Mawi Asgedom. The first set of facts focus on his deficits, the second on his assets. Because Mawi had enough educators who saw his assets that he was able to recognize and build upon them. Mawi went on to graduate from Harvard and become a bestselling author and founder of Mawi Learning.
Instructional Effectiveness
Immigrant Students
English Learners
English Learners