How can we help students deal with all of the new experiences coming their way?
Culture shock. We hear about that when we visit other countries. Can you imagine moving to a new country without knowing people, the culture, or any of the language there?
Students often are placed into the category of English Language Learners"", but they are learning so much more than that. They may be learning how to "do school" for the very first time. More than that, they may be learning how to turn the lights on (have they had electricity before?), how to use a Western toilet/bathroom (don't forget to flush!), and to throw things in the trash can (garbage removal doesn't happen everywhere!). We may focus on the letters and numbers in class, but there is a whole different learning curve these students must go through just to engage in the school environment. Don't forget to give them explicit instruction when needed, grace for the times they unintentionally do something that is inappropriate, and patience as they learn much more than their ABCs & 123s.
Being new also comes with the opportunity for a lot of "firsts" - whether it is the first time for the student to experience something, or the first time for others to experience something that student brings! Watch this video to hear more from a refugee who had trailblazed many firsts for herself!