Summer Session I

Course Syllabus
Field Experience in Cultural Diversity
3 Credits

This course addresses the following Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s Program Content Guidelines:

Developmental, Social, Political, and Cultural Contexts: Teachers of English language learners address the developmental, social, political, and cultural contexts of their students' lives and educational experiences. They comprehend how these relate to classroom performance and educational practice.

Course Description

This course provides the opportunity for students to gain in-depth first-hand knowledge of the cultural background of English language learners. Particular attention will be given to techniques that encourage and secure parental involvement. Positive effects of special programs for ELLs will also be emphasized in this course.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:

Required Texts

Selected articles


Course evaluation will be based on the sum of points collected by accomplishing the following assignments:
  1. Home Visit — 200 points
  2. Parent-Teacher Project — 200 points
  3. Cultural Immersion — 200 points
  4. Support Program Project — 200 points
  5. Classroom Observation — 200 points

Seeking graduate credit, students are also responsible for the following assignment:
  1. Instructional Unit Plan — 300 points

The following grading scale will apply:

A = 90-100%; B = 80-89%; C = 70-79%; D = 60-69%; F = 59% and below.


Each assignment will be written in APA or MLA format. They must be double-spaced using Times New Roman 12-point font-size and have 1-inch margins on all sides.

Due dates

Each assignment must be submitted no later than 14 days after the last day of class.

Description of Course Requirements

1. Home Visit — 200 points

Teachers will visit the home of at least three English language learners in order to become familiar with the student’s family and culture. This assignment should provide teachers the opportunity to develop rapport with families and signify that the family is welcome in school affairs. The home visit may have many different purposes, depending on the needs and cultural background of the student.

Writing assignment
After the home visit, in a two-page paper, teachers will summarize the collected information and develop an action-plan that indicates ways the learned knowledge will be included into the curriculum or instructional strategies of classroom activities. At the end of the semester, teachers will write another two-page reflection analyzing ways the home visit improved their teaching skills and advanced the student's academic development.

Due date
Each home visit has to be completed by the end of the third week of the semester. The action plan has to be submitted no later than the fourth week of the semester.

2. Parent-Teacher Project — 200 points

After a successful rapport with the three families has been established, teachers will invite one or both of the parents of the families to participate in classroom activities. Parents can introduce one aspect of their culture for the students. Their sharing might include, but not be limited to, reading a book, helping with crafts, or cooking a meal. The theme can be anything that is appropriate for the grade level and with which parents feel comfortable. While the main purpose of this activity is to build a positive relationship with parents, this event also shall develop cultural awareness and tolerance among the other students.

Option 1. Writing assignment
In a three-page paper, teachers will document and analyze the outcome of the event; specifically, the impact of the activity had on the parents, on the English language learner, and on the class. The paper will also indicate the knowledge that teachers gained by this activity and their plan to utilize that knowledge in the future.

Option 2. Alternative assessment
Teachers are encouraged to choose an alternative method to present the outcome of this project. However, the same issues have to be addressed that are spelled out above under the writing assignment.

Due date
Teachers will accomplish this project no later than the seventh week of the semester. The paper/project will be submitted no later than the eight week of the semester.

(Teachers who feel that home visit and parent-teacher project are not appropriate to implement in their school districts may choose another way to connect and involve parents of English language learners. They might choose a parent outreach project with a goal that is relevant to their particular setting.)

3. Cultural Immersion — 200 points

During the course of the semester teachers will visit at least three cultural events that reflect the values and beliefs of a heritage community. For example, they might visit a cultural event of their students, such as a wedding, a birthday party, a funeral, a worship service, or participate in any other event that is organized for non-mainstream population. It is important that teachers immerse themselves into another cultural or ethnic group setting, step out of their comfort zone, and take the role as an “outsider”.

Option 1. Writing assignment
In a three-page paper, teachers will introduce the event in which they participated and reflect on their feelings and emotions of being an outsider. In addition, they will note those behaviors of the group that made them feel comfortable or uncomfortable. In accordance with the event, teachers will also observe and reflect on their students' experiences in the school and document situations in which ELLs are excluded. Finally, teachers will record ideas to help English learners to become fully accepted in the school community.

Option 1. Alternative assessment
Teachers are encouraged to choose an alternative method to present the outcome of this project. However, the same issues have to be addressed that are spelled out above under the writing assignment.

Due date
This is an ongoing project in which teachers will be involved throughout the semester. Each reflection is due on the last day of class.

4. Support Program Project — 200 points

In the first eight weeks of the practicum, teachers will read current research on the influence of support programs, such as after school tutoring service, Saturday school programs, and summer programs, and their relations to the academic achievement of ELLs. For this task, the instructor will provide relevant literature. Students will be asked to write reaction papers to the reading material, posing questions that reflect the arguments of the texts.

The Desire2Learn will provide a space for a discussion forum among students. Students in groups of five will analyze each reading. Each student will be responsible for at least one posting per reading. Students also will be required to reply and follow up on the questions of their classmates.

In the second eight weeks of class, students will examine the opportunities of English Language Learners in their own schools. In a 3-5-page paper, they will introduce those special programs that are available for ELLs in their school district. In light of the discussed literature, students will evaluate the offered programs and make recommendations for improvement. In case the school district lacks after-school programs, tutoring service, or summer programs specifically designed for English learners, teachers will speculate ways the school district can allocate current resources to create programs from which English learners would benefit.

5. Classroom Observation — 200 points

In consultation with each student, the instructor will arrange one classroom observation visit during the semester. For each of the lessons, the student will complete a pre-observation form and a post-observation reflection. The instructor will write a classroom observation report and give on-site oral feedback. Forms will be posted on D2L.

Graduate Credits

Students taking this class for graduate credits are also required to submit the following assignment:

6. Instructional Unit Plan —300 points

Teachers will develop a lesson plan or a unit to teach cultural diversity and tolerance for their students using their experiences collected throughout the semester. Any lesson plan format will be accepted as long as it covers at least the following areas: synopsis of the lesson and skills that will be taught, objective(s), introductory motivator, order/procedure including strategies, materials, and activities that will be used during the lesson, and assessment techniques to evaluate students’ outcomes.

Special Notice

“Any student who may need an accommodation due to a disability, please make an appointment to see me during my office hours. A VISA from Services for Students with Disabilities authorizing your accommodations will be needed.”
(Office of Students with Disabilities, 2005)