When schools tap the expertise
of newly arrived English language
learners, both teachers and
classmates have something to learn.
students—from Nepal, Bhutan, the
Congo, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Russia—who are at great risk of dropping
out of the high school. To encourage
these students to stay in school, she
recently arranged for them to visit New
When we learned of Anna-Marie’s
goals for this visit, we hatched a different
plan. Instead of having the students visit
our college simply to sample the post-secondary experience, we decided they
should also come to teach. They could tell
our preservice teachers what they believed
every teacher should know to successfully teach new American students like
On the day of their visit, with deer-in-the-headlights looks on their faces, 14
students walked into our classroom of 32
teacher education students. They began
© STEFANIE FELIX
Kumar was the first to speak. He was
Bill Preble and Carlton Fitzgerald
from Bhutan and had lived in Nepal for many years. He qui-
New teacher will know I feel frustrated. I speak three language,
but not understood. English not good. In my school, I cannot say
my heart. I frustrated because I cannot find the word. I am sad.
© S TEFANIE FELIX
After a round of applause, Narapati from Nepal went next.
He said that teachers need to give language learners extra time
when they ask students a question in class. He explained,
I hear a question in English, translate my language, come up with
answer my language, translate into English inside my mind, and
get English words out.