Globalizing Environmentalism: Immigrants in Maryland Share their Environmental Knowledge and Practices While Learning English
This study investigated using a Funds of Knowledge Approach (Moll, 1992) in an urban after-school program for high-school students. The goal of the program was to promote student awareness of their connection to the environment, to improve student self-perceptions, to teach English language skills, and to promote immigrant involvement with the, predominantly Caucasian, environmental community in the United States. Ethnography of Speaking (Hymes, 1974) discourse analysis was used to examine the possible effects of student participation in the after-school program that targeted English language learners attending a Baltimore City charter school. This program focused on water-related activities designed to engage students, improve the environment, provide content for teaching English, and to help create an ethnically diverse environmental community. Students developed English skills through meaningful activities such as: writing letters to public leaders; giving a talk to a public audience about some of the environmental practices/beliefs in their native countries; learning to kayak; and writing a Blog to inform kayakers of river conditions. This presentation would be of interest to: educators who teach in a multicultural classroom, science/environmental educators, urban high- and middle-school teachers, community organizations seeking to include immigrants, environmental and social activists, public officials with an interest in empowering urban youth and minority populations, and scholars.
Keywords: Environmental Education, English Language Learners, Diversity Initiative in the Environment, Second Language Instruction, Funds of Knowledge, Ethnography of Speaking, Content-based Instruction, Multicultural Science Education, Global Environment, Maryland Environmental Diversity Initiative
Lori M. Edmonds
Student/Graduate Assistant, Language, Literacy, and Culture, University of Maryland