We always celebrate all language weeks at our school. We are a school that cherishes and values all cultures and ethnicities. It is so much in grained into the system that I take pride when visitors at our school say that there is a great feel about coming into our school.
We have a Afghani family at our school. We had searched high and low and had not found any afghani language week. So we (Ashley my co-teacher and myself) started to look for Afghani festivals that we could celebrate. I met my students' mum at patrols and quickly grabbed the opportunity to and ask about festivals they celebrate. She said that Eid was round the corner and that it is a huge celebration in their culture. I quickly took the notes and asked her to give me a recepie of a traditional dish.
Next day Mojtaba (our student) came with a recipe. I must say that this was a big effort on the part of Mojtaba's mum because she does not know English very well. So I had this recipe, though not in correct English but made perfect sense as everything was written in steps. I was so delighted to get the recipe and more so being able to bring this mum in who is otherwise so shy to communicate with us.
Finally we started with the celebrations. We invited Mojtaba's little brothers to celebrate with us. Ashley found a song on Eid and we all learnt the song. We made Greeting cards on Eid with a moon and a star on it. Ashley had baked cookies in the shape of star and we all took turns to decorate them.
I made the traditional dish 'sevaiyaan' and we went to each class to say 'Eid Mubarak'
It was great way to build bonds and to know about our Afghani learner. Our afghani students were delighted. Their faces were glowing and they were not tired talking about their festival.
One of the principles of TESSOL is the to Know your learners - their language background, their language proficiency, their experiential background.
Visit this website for more ideas on how to build a cultural village in your classroom.