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Preparing Nebraska Teachers to See Demographic Change As an Opportunity:. Reflections on Immigrant Integration and the Role of Government, Communities, and Institutions April 28, 2007 Edmund “Ted” Hamann & Jenelle Reeves. Nebraska’s Students Are Changing, But Its Teachers Are Not.

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Preparing Nebraska Teachers to See Demographic Change As an Opportunity:

Reflections on Immigrant Integration and the Role of Government, Communities, and Institutions

April 28, 2007

Edmund “Ted” Hamann & Jenelle Reeves


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Nebraska’s Students Are Changing, Opportunity:But Its Teachers Are Not

  • A 459% increase in Hispanic student enrollment in K-12 from 1991 to 2006 (to 11.5% of Nebraska’s total K-12 enrollment)

  • Five majority Hispanic school districts

  • Less than 1% of K-12 teachers are Hispanic

  • Hispanic enrollment in CEHS is 2.4%


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How Latinos are Faring in Nebraska Schools Opportunity:

% Not meeting Neb. state writing standards


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The ITLE Project Opportunity:

  • Goal: To engage preservice teachers in considering the implications of Nebraska’s demographic changes for their future professional practice.

  • In fall of 2006, 10 practicing teachers and 44 undergrads participated in mentor groups.

  • Mentors were recruited from TEAC 840D “Schooling in Demographically Transitioning Communities” and TEAC 890 “Teaching in Demographically Transitioning Communities.”


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Project Results Opportunity:

  • Undergraduates engaged with texts (e.g., Gouviea, Carranza, & Cogua 2005; Hamann, Zúñiga, & Sánchez, 2006; Reeves, 2004), with videos (e.g., Hannah Meyer’s Escuela), and with mentors.

  • They visited schools in Lincoln, Westside, Crete, and Norfork (and also corresponded with teachers in Lexington).

  • They wrote reflection papers, and generated 93,000+ words of Blackboard reflections.


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Conclusions Opportunity:

  • Initial skepticism/confusion ---> Compliance ---> Engagement/enthusiasm

  • Mentors varied in their mentoring capacity (from fine to exceptional).

  • Students varied in terms of prior experience with diversity and change, but none overtly chafed at class premises.

  • The chance to interact with practicing teachers was an asset in both preservice courses.


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