We are preparing to teach an upcoming section of our course, Accessing Inquiry for English Learners through Primary Sources, and reflecting on what specialists in English language acquisition tell us about making history and social studies accessible.
In 2010, when Emerging America first focused on teaching strategies using primary sources to engage and support English Learners, we built the course content around immigration history, expanding the investigation to include the history of American communities that speak languages other than English. A key part of making curriculum accessible to all learners is teaching topics, concepts, and skills that are directly relevant to their lives. Not all English Learners are immigrants, of course. Yet many are, and today’s volatile politics of immigration impact all English Learners.
A new lesson for high school students uses primary sources to engage students, including those whose reading levels may not yet be at grade level, in exploring the changes in policy in who is admitted to the United States.
Initiatives to restrict specific groups of people from immigrating to the US are important topics in US History, included in standards for the US History I and US History II high school classes. This lesson uses the 21st century “travel ban,” ruled constitutional in 2018, as an entry point to explore previous shifts in US immigration policy.