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    By Julianne

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    Hey, you got my class from last year. We had kids from Cuba, Mexico, Nepal, Vietnam and Bulgaria. It's quite a challenge. Many of ours are refugee families, or at the very least, extremely poor. It's difficult to get their families over for lots of cultural exchange stuff. It helps if you can find translators to help you speak to them. At a previous school the out-of-country kids were the children of college professors so they often spoke English and were more willing to come share with our class.

    Helping the kids to share what they know about their country is a great starting place. Also try to find materials and books about where they are from, if only for the pictures. Help them share some of their language with your class. If they can write some words, have them do that. Otherwise, ask them how to say simple things.

    ESL learners are often tense and worried. They don't want to make mistakes. They can be tearful, mute, withdrawn, nervous or depressed. They need a safe, comfortable place in which to learn. I really love the diversity in our classroom, but it sure is a challenge some days.

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