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Project Based Learning and Newcomers

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In this conversation around using project based learning to support multilingual learners and accelerate learning we chat with Donna M. Neary. Donna teaches high school Social Studies to English learners in Louisville, Kentucky. She is part of a team that piloted the Accelerate to Graduate (A2G) program at her school to help newcomer students graduate on time. Donna’s role on the team is to teach US History, World History, Exploring Civics, Global Issues, and Humanities.

Her concentration on the importance of field trips to student learning is firmly rooted in her experiences guiding tours for students and observing the impact that being in proximity to art, history and authentic artifacts has on development of students critical thinking skills and cognition.

Guided listening questions:

  • How can project based learning strategies help accelerate the learning of multilingual learners?

  • What kind of community partnerships work best when implementing project based learning in schools?

  • How might teachers facilitate learning outside of schools in ways that are mutually beneficial to students and community members?

I was encouraged by Donna’s description of project based learning strategies that not only allowed newcomers to finish their high school education, but also provided them with meaningful learning opportunities through authentic connections with their community. As is the case with most effective instruction, the educational experiences that Donna describes can reach far beyond the ELL classroom to bring diverse groups together.

You can connect with Donna on LinkedIn and Twittter. She also recommends the following resources:

You can listen and subscribe to Highest Aspirations on iTunes here.