As I have been implying in the last few posts, teaching teens is a unique challenge – one on which we thrive despite the complexity and capriciousness that characterizes our work with this learner group. Teaching teens learning English as an additional language is a particular joy, yet a hugely frustrating experience at the same time. Teaching refugee learners adds yet more challenges. This post offers some potential resources for use with your new learners.
You want to do the best you can for each student. They are eager to learn. You search for appropriate resources, often finding yourself having to rewrite materials so they become more accessible to your learners. Still you persist. Having a network of colleagues who share materials and ideas is also a huge bonus in these efforts.
As we continue to gear up for the growing number of refugees coming to our area, lists of potential resources – keeping in mind that many may have to be adapted – are circulating. Here are some I have been sent recently [thank you, Daphne] for you to peruse.
What I immediately noted, given my recent work with teens, is that the resource lists include primarily non-fiction for the older learners. I would be checking out the many picture books listed for elementary to gauge those that could be considered appropriate for teens and then go in search of more. I would also be on the lookout for what is called ‘beginning chapter books’ for those who come to our classrooms with a high beginner level of English.
I was pleased to see many information books about Syria are available but I would be carefully checking these out in terms of who wrote them, how much of an insider perspective they have, how recent the work is and more. We know that a book written in 2010, for example, will be a reflection of a very different reality than one written in the last year or so. Then there is the fact that many of the refugees have not lived in Syria for years while awaiting a chance to emigrate to a safe haven. Thoughtful choices need to be made.
Finally, I would be spending my own money if need be on my all time favorite for teens, picture dictionaries – in this case ones that are in Arabic and English [ or perhaps Kurdish and English]. Oxford has [IMHO] the best ones but it is worth checking out other publishers – they are getting better all the time. The students love them.
Here are the resource lists – all from EduCan Media – for your perusal. If you have additional suggestions, do let me know and do share these lists with your colleagues.