Supporting Students with Interrupted Formal Education - A Guide for Teachers

Sarah Digby has devoted her career to developing foundational Spanish literacy resources and highly specialized curricula for students with limited/interrupted formal education (SLIFE). She and I worked together at the English Language Learners International Support Preparatory Academy (ELLIS) supporting SLIFE in language and literacy development. This guide, written by Sarah, and produced by the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University, supports teachers working with Spanish speaking SLIFE from Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Before tackling learning concerns, Sarah takes us through ‘tackling trauma’ - how to recognize it, and how to create a trauma - sensitive environment. This crucial section, often not emphasized enough in SLIFE literature (or any education literature), highlights the role mental health plays in our students school experience and learning. The use of questioning directed at the teacher reading the guide, prompts teacher reflection of biases, knowledge, and awareness, driving teacher growth.

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Sarah then takes us through curricular suggestions as well as examples of resources that have worked with SLIFE. Many of the student writing samples in this guide are students I have seen thrive with Sarah’s attentiveness and knowledge. They have reached success in a classroom, when they may have otherwise ended up elsewhere. This guide is a must-read for administrators and teachers with SLIFE in their school.