Citizenship educators rarely, if ever, have the chance to learn best practices, develop skills for working with their diverse students, or network with and lean on other citizenship instructors for support. Often, the instructor—without any formal training on the topic—must navigate the naturalization process and what works best for their student.
Knowing this, we want to share a new opportunity from the Naturalization Network and partner USAHello. They decided that tutors, and, therefore, their students, could benefit from citizenship-focused professional development led by experts in the field.
“It’s always been a challenge for citizenship educators to access detailed, up-to-date ways to inform their practice.”
On the second Wednesday of each month, the Naturalization Network will use the ECHO model to provide free professional learning in a collaborative virtual environment that will connect citizenship educators who have typically been isolated. Panelists will include Shalini Thomas, New Mexico Immigrant Law Center; Bill Bliss, Language & Communication Workshop; and Lynne Weintraub, Jones Library ESL Center and author of the popular ProLiteracy New Readers Press Citizenship: Passing the Test series.
“It’s always been a challenge for citizenship educators to access detailed, up-to-date ways to inform their practice,” Weintraub said. “Using a renowned distance education protocol developed at the University of New Mexico, each one-hour ECHO session features a short presentation about one particular aspect of citizenship education, followed by a case presentation where participants are encouraged to dig in, discuss an authentic instructional challenge, and propose solutions.”
Sessions will provide mentorship and help educators improve their teaching skills to help grow their programs and assist more students. Topics covered include:
- Best practices for teaching citizenship
- Helping students manage stress and reduce anxiety about their interview
- The importance of staying within the scope of teaching
- Updated information from USCIS and announcements
“Whether you’re a classroom teacher, a volunteer tutor, a novice, or a seasoned professional, by participating in these sessions, you will have the opportunity each month to learn something new and make connections with colleagues around the country,” Weintraub said.
The next session will take place January 10, 2024.