Bunker Hill Community College

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Supporting English Language Learners Supports All Students

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

On March 22, 2018, Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) faculty and staff gathered for Spring 2018 Professional Development Day to reflect on, share and deepen their approach to teaching and supporting all students. Hosted by the Professional Development Day Committee, the English as a Second Language Department and the Building the Framework for Success Taskforce, the conference was a continuation of the Fall 2017 Professional Development Day on best practices for teaching English as a Second Language (ESL).

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Dr. Maria Puente, Interim Dean of Mathematics, Behavior and Social Sciences and Project Director of the AANAPISI (Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution) grant, welcomed the College community to the conference on behalf of President Eddinger. In her welcome remarks, Dr. Puente urged the College to go beyond reflecting on what they do to support students.
 
“Ask ourselves what our support is premised on,” said Dr. Puente. “Is our sense of support premised on what we think our students cannot do, or is it premised on understanding their dreams and aspirations, their linguistic assets and the strengths they derive from their communities and families? Building on the assets they already carry within them.”
 
Following the remarks, Dr. Andres R. Reyes, Professor of Early Childhood Development and Human Services, facilitated a panel discussion with thought leaders and scholars in ESL education from BHCC and Boston-area colleges and universities before faculty and staff participated in breakout sessions designed to gain a better understanding of the diverse backgrounds, assets and student work of the College’s English Language Learner (ELL) students. Workshops included digital storytelling in ELL education, a reflective conversation on becoming an equity-minded institution, evidence-based support for culturally responsive pedagogies in STEM and health sciences, integrating Asian American studies in the humanities and supporting ELL students inside and outside the classroom. As the day came to a close, participants gathered by divisional areas to share their major takeaways and ideas on initiatives that can be carried out on the divisional level to continue providing support for ELLs and all students.