Embracing diversity within our classrooms and communities

In the arena of international teaching, diversity in the classroom is a non-issue.  We come to expect that TCKs can speak multiple languages, have lived in multiple countries, and may have parents from different countries, and maybe even siblings adopted from foreign lands.  In contrast, on the local level in the United States, in small towns across the country, diversity in the classroom is still a touchy subject.

Communities face pressing issues.  Should we utilize bilingual instruction?  Should we provide for differentiated instruction?  What does acceptance, respect and tolerance of different ethnicities and cultures look like in APPLICATION, and not just in theory?  Can teachers do more than just "tolerate" the differences between individual students, and instead EMBRACE the colorful environment, and encourage empathy, compassion and even love?

After attending the Montclair State University Summer Conference on Monday, June 27th, I am even more excited for my new opportunity in Shanghai.  I look forward to making use of diversity as a resource and not a detriment in my classroom.  I look forward to providing differentiated instruction, and providing an opportunity for student success regardless of perceived limitations.

After spending time in Europe, I notice that here in America, we stress the individual over the community.  Many people are quick to think of the effects of things like bilingualism on their own life, rather than how it will benefit the community at large, (in the case of one teacher at the conference complaining she wouldn't be able to go into a shop if the signs, products and people were of Korean influence, instead of reflecting on how beneficial it would be for the community of Flushing, Queens, which is made up of Korean immigrants).  Do we bleed less red, white and blue if we let other colors join our countries?  Can national pride exist in light of language differences or socio-economic immobility?

People in power in our government are normally white, native-English speakers.  We need more immigrants and non-native English speakers to represent the interests of those who are without a voice.  We need to lessen the effect of those who are over-represented and fight to rebalance the disproportionate amount of wealth in the community.

In order to best serve our students, teachers must embrace problem-solving diversity.  We must instruct our classes using the collective intelligence and experience of every student in the room.  Our communities must work together to maintain a balance of power, which is true democracy in a global, interconnected economy.

Keynote speaker Dr. Naiditch on changing the dynamic of diversity in classrooms and society at large:

Pictures from Montclair State University Summer Conference 2011
"Teach for the World: Teaching our 21st century Students"

I won a prize in the participant raffle! I never win anything! :)

Dame vida.. con luz?

 la impresionante labor de colaboración entre los países, los deportes, y los científicos a cambiar la forma de ver la cultura y el acceso a las cosas sencillo como la luz.

Me encanta la idea de este proyecto, y voy a compartir con mi clase. La educación interdisciplinaria es lo que los niños necesitan para nuestra economía global.  Cuando el mundo comparte sus recursos económicos e intelectuales, el resultado es increíble.

Huecco explicando su participación con "Dame Vida" en El Hormiguero aquí.

Información sobre este proyecto en Inglés aquí.

Gone Too Soon

Dear Keith,

Your journey was just beginning
sudden death leaves me spinning.

So many questions without answers
this wasn't because of cancer.

You bought a cute house
all set to be a spouse

Prepping for the big day
with your gorgeous fiance

Dreams are now crushed
it happened with a rush.

She stood by your casket
holding cards in the basket.

I hope you saw her strength
at a close arm's length.

It's so sad that you're gone
but fate has been drawn.

On the eighth of June
you left us too soon.


I will never forget your smile and friendship. 
Thank you for the memories full of laughs and funny times. Rest in Peace.

Love, Laura

Memorial Day 2011 in New York

Pictures from this year's Memorial Day Parade, held in Levittown, New York.

In special memory of Sgt Danny Fuentes and my grandfather, Errico Cartusciello, originally from Padula, Italy, who proudly fought as an American in WWII. He earned a Purple Heart in his service to our country.

My last post for Madrid.. the best for Last!

What a whirlwind past few weeks it has been, here in Madrid.  I have learned so much about Spanish culture in the midst of an exciting, revolutionary time for the country. I met so many amazing students and families, ate delicious, healthy food, exercised in beautiful parks, enjoyed time with friends and new family members and most of all, made beautiful memories that will last a lifetime. Madrid is a vibrant, beautiful, classical city; one that I hope to return to very soon.

Disfruta las fotos de Parque del Buen Retiro!