Example of an intercultural welcome project, some ways to make foreign students feel welcome at your school. For comprehensive institutions

In a historic moment where the theme of inclusion is strongly marked, with reference to foreign students, it is of fundamental importance that our schools and our school actors (students, teachers and ATA) are ready to meet the growing need for equality often. victims of prejudices, preconceptions and phobias of all kinds.

But the school is markedly more. It must be something else. The number of foreign students enrolling in schools has been rising in Italy and elsewhere for several years. There are undeniable benefits to this – writes K. Savage – as students who learn together with people from different countries acquire perspectives that they would not otherwise have. For educators, this trend is also a real challenge. How do you integrate students into your class, make them feel welcome and address their specific needs? You can start by implementing these strategies. If you can help students integrate better into the classroom, you will achieve more than if you help them achieve academic success. You help them have a better overall experience in your school and their new reference community.

The welcome gift

If you are able to give it or can get help from your school, it can help to give students a welcome pack. This could include stationery to take notes, gift cards or vouchers at a local bar or shop, a key unit with information material, even in a foreign language about the city, customs and habits, how to get around and what to attend, social services, sanitation and municipal. Anything that helps students feel at home and allows them to become productive faster is a great addition to the welcome gift.

Give students the local experiences they want

Whether students go to schools in other countries by choice or circumstance, most – Savage writes – are interested in learning about the local culture and lifestyle. As a teacher, you can help make it easier for them to get the experiences they want. Consider – writes K. Savage – organizing trips to places that are local haunts, exposing students to local foods and informing them about the events and traditions celebrated by the locals.

Involve them in and out of school

Many foreign students are scared, introverted, sometimes difficult to involve in inclusive processes. Others are simply overwhelmed by the novelty of it all and cultural differences. One thing teachers can do is provide guidance and encouragement. Ask them what their interests are and help them find activities that suit them. If possible, consider setting up an after-school group where students can perform activities or work on projects that are relevant to your class and primarily with new peers.

Encourage participation by welcoming other languages

Likewise, a language gap can also prevent students from participating in class discussions. Keep in mind that even though native speakers may simply be reporting a thought or example, a non-native speaker may not. They need to translate things, worry about whether their example will be recognizable or not, etc. Consider encouraging students to move on and engage in lively classroom discussions using their own language or a mixture of their language and what commonly spoken in your class. Once they have got their thoughts out, they can translate for others as needed. This helps them stay engaged and has the added benefit of exposing other students to different languages, Savage writes.

To bridge the language gap

The language allows you to express your feelings even in the new country. In the new language, small but important information can actually be lost while words are being translated. It is necessary to close the translation hole whenever possible. For example, you can have important lesson notes translated into different languages ​​and provide other relevant information in the students’ native language. A resource like Google Translator can help you find services for foreign students who have arrived in our state land and in our schools.

Discover the difference between lack of understanding and communication gaps

It can be hard to know when a student does not understand something and when a student is just struggling to communicate his thoughts. One thing to keep in mind is that many students struggle more with written communication when a task is cognitively more difficult. You can help non-native students, Savage writes, by giving them time to review written work and guidance as they do so.

Connect them with the most empathetic and accommodating students

There are some things that are best done carefully when helping students integrate. As a teacher, you may not always be able to give students the individual attention. Instead, you can encourage the formation of groups between foreign students and other students to implement guidance and peer-to-peer business. To help with this process, some schools – Savage writes – have created cultural guidance programs. Schools could, for example, recruit students to help fellow foreigners easily integrate into their new schools.

Take it time to learn about students’ culture and traditions

People feel comfortable and welcome when their traditions and culture are recognized. By knowing their students’ culture, teachers can also identify areas where they may need to be a little more sensitive.

Use visual aids when teaching

First-aiders and doctors often use visual aids when working with patients who do not speak the same language. These can be used to teach concepts and to ensure that everyone has the same understanding of something. For example, a student who does not speak Italian may not understand the differences between words like sad, crushed, worried, depressed, and crushed. You can use images to help them see these differences, Savage writes.

Encourage students to use examples from their cultures in discussions

It is always helpful to relate the lessons to your own experiences. When students are able to convey these experiences in class discussions, everyone involved can better understand these examples. To help foreign students, make sure they feel safe in the classroom by sharing their experiences when dealing with class discussions. There may be language and comprehension barriers that can cause some disruptions and it is important to deal with them carefully.

Institute intercultural reception project

The comprehensive institute Don Andrea Santoro from Priverno, masterfully led by Rector Prof. Paola Di Veroli, has created and adopted an excellent “department’s welcome project”, which in a specific section provides the welcome approach for foreign students. Reading it allows you to structure with excellent examples for structuring project interventions in your schools. The valuable protocol reads “” Intercultural education forms the background from which the specifics of educational courses aimed at foreign students start, in connection with activities that are to characterize the pedagogical action towards everyone. The school is in fact the central place for constitution and sharing of common rules, as it can act by activating a practice in everyday life that refers to respect for democratic forms of coexistence, and above all, it can impart the indispensable knowledge. for the formation of citizenship active. In fact, intercultural education rejects both the logic of assimilation and coexistence between closed ethnic communities and is oriented towards comparison, dialogue, mutual recognition and enrichment of people in terms of different identities and affiliations and plurality, often multidimensional experiences for all, Italian and non-Italian. ” (Introduction to the Guidelines for the Admission and Integration of Foreign Students, MIUR, 2014.) This and other documents issued by MIUR over the last few years confirm the framework within which the Italian school realizes the integration of foreign students. model based on the inclusion and inclusion of students in the peer society, in mutual respect for different identities ”.

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