My friends Kathryn Haydon and Gina Danley recently authored a book along with Joan Smutny and Olivia Bolaños, titled Discovering and Developing Talents in Spanish-Speaking Students.
As someone who taught in Southern California, I’m glad to see them addressing this need.
The authors address the changing demographics of schools, noting that students from Spanish-speaking homes have increased from 11 million to 35 million since 1980. Their presence in gifted programs, however, hasn’t reflected this growth. This book focuses on the unique needs of this population and how we can improve our systems to address their under-representation.
The authors detail how to specifically identify and develop the talents of students from this background. They cover some basics of the Mexican culture, especially in how it relates to schools and examine potential roadblocks in identifying students from Spanish-speaking homes.
There’s some great information focused on connecting with the parents of Spanish-speaking students, from setting up large, multi-lingual parent meetings to making small changes to ensure a more welcoming environment for parents.
The book covers the advantages of bilingualism, including a fascinating look at how interpreting for parents develops positive traits in students.
Finally, the authors encourage taking a broader view when identifying gifted students, especially taking into consideration skills that stand out but don’t require fluency in English.
Although this work focuses on Spanish-speaking populations, the larger ideas are great reminders of how important it is for educators to understand their students’ culture in order to be most effective.
You can pick up a copy at Amazon.
Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy of this book.
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