To what extent are my differentiation strategies, technology integration, content delivery, and classroom culture affected by a Low German Mennonite classroom context?
For my Professional Inquiry Project I am focusing on teaching in a Low German Mennonite context (LGM). Due to the recent disruption in school and student learning as well as the gaps in learning and general lack of independent study at home, there is a wide range of student ability and understanding in my classroom. Many LGM students have large gaps in their learning and have very limited formal schooling with high absenteeism. These variables present challenges when delivering content, ensuring outcomes are met by each student, and assessing student understanding.
The LGM classroom context demands a differentiated content delivery, as a lot of topics are considered sensitive. Content related to biology, evolution, LGBTQ+, divorce, other religions, snakes and magic (witches, ghosts, monsters, etc.) may make students feel uncomfortable, confused, or upset. Additionally, many of the students travel back and forth between Mexico, which is one of the contributing factors to their absenteeism and resulting knowledge gaps. Technology is rarely used at home for some of the families, so the current need for technology integration and using online platforms places many LGM students at a stark disadvantage. Many students have extensive responsibilities at home (chores, working on the farm or the family business) and are not inclined to not read or do extra school work at home. Because of the language barrier, many parents are not able to help their children with homework.
One way teachers in the school address these challenges is through implementing cross-curricular learning. This approach creates a more well-rounded and inclusive environment in the classroom, while covering a broader range of outcomes and competencies in each class.
The LGM context is clearly very interesting to teach and learn in, and it is a population that is not widely recognized. Through my PIP, I am aiming to create awareness of this population and to document effective strategies for teachers who teach in this context or have students from this cultural context.
Madison grew up in Calgary and attended TLC, private, and public schools, and moved to Lethbridge to attend the U of L. She is a B.A English/B.Ed major who has a passion for literacy, project-based learning, and inclusive learning. Madison is completing her PSIII in Vauxhall, where she also started my PSII.