Teachers College Columbia University

Leveraging Cultural and Linguistic Diversity for Academic Achievement

Available dates

This course has no confirmed dates in the future. Subscribe to be notified when it is offered.

About the course

The dynamic and ever-changing forms of cultural and linguistic diversity found in New York City Public Schools present unique challenges and opportunities for educators and youth development workers seeking to coach students to academic success. Although students’ cultural practices and modes of communication may differ from those emphasized in traditional academic settings, they can serve as rich resources for learning and expression if strategically tapped. Departing from the premise that practitioners from CBOs and nonprofits already have deep experience working with culturally and linguistically diverse student populations, this certificate workshop aims to build upon this experience by providing theoretical frameworks on second language acquisition and culturally sustaining teaching approaches that can be used to further enhance their work with these populations. Exercises that help participants to explore practical applications of the theoretical frameworks to the educational materials and activities used by their organizations will be integrated throughout the workshop.

Day One: Language Learning Theories and Application

This session will focus on methods to scaffold the learning of English Learner (EL) populations of different ages and at different levels of second language acquisition. Strategies to develop students’ second language literacy skills as well as to leverage students’ first language skills will be explored. Connections between the Common Core Curriculum and second language learning will also be drawn.

Day Two: Addressing Diversity Within Diversity

This session will focus on methods to develop a baseline background knowledge of students’ cultural practices, histories, and knowledge; multi-modal approaches to teaching that expand traditional views of literacies; culturally sustaining approaches that embrace cultural diversity; and narrative approaches that encourage students to share their stories with others in safe, supportive spaces. Importance and techniques for involving families and communities in classroom learning will also be explored.

Learning Objectives

Participants will leave the workshop with an understanding of:

  • Linguistic and sociocultural theories to develop EL’s second language skills and leverage first language skills
  • Culturally sustaining, multi-modal, and narrative approaches to learn about and capitalize upon student’s cultural practices and background experiences
  • Practical applications of theoretical frameworks and approaches to address and support cultural and linguistic diversity

Who should attend

The program is designed for educators and employees and managers of school-based nonprofit organizations and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) who seek to improve their knowledge and effective strategies for being culturally and linguistically responsive to young people, including to immigrant and English Learner (EL) students, in educational settings of great diversity.

Trust the experts

Regina Cortina

Regina Cortina is Professor of Education in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her most recent book, Indigenous Education Policy, Equity, and Intercultural Understanding in Latin America (2017, Palgrave), is a comparative study of p...


Amanda Earl

Amanda Earl is a Ed.D. student in the International Educational Development Program of the International and Transcultural Studies Department at Teachers College. She is also a doctoral recipient of the Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship through Columbia's Institute of Latin American St...


Course reviews