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Good Teaching is Good Teaching: English Learners and Museums

Category: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion

Dr. Veronica Alvarez, the Director of School and Teacher Programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, discusses an opportunity for inclusion sometimes overlooked: people, particularly children, who are learning English as a second language. She writes about a field trip experience when she was a child who spoke no English, and how the tour her class received did not engage her. She shares some research-based insights on the kinds of strategies that can promote learning in this demographic and open museums up to a broader section of their communities.

“In addition, the educator often asked students to translate some of the words during their discussion into Spanish, or spoke to students in Spanish. For example, he would say, ‘If you can hear me, clap dos veces’ [two times]. Or, ‘Does anyone know how to say ‘landscape’ in Spanish?'”

—Dr. Veronica Alvarez 


Dr. Veronica Alvarez, Director of School and Teacher Programs, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). After walking up a dark staircase from a concrete parking lot, this is the view that greeted me on my first field trip to a museum, a trip to The Getty Villa.

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