Thursday, June 9, 2016

Breaking Language Barriers on Field Trips

Coiled Clay bowl from Martin Luther King's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Class
-Education Coordinator

At the Imperial Valley Desert Museum, we believe history and knowledge belong to everyone, regardless of language barriers. We have worked hard this year to bring information to as many students as possible. In the last few days we have had two major breakthroughs as we near the end of field trip season. We have hosted a History on the Go program in American Sign Language, and we have held our first field trip in Spanish.

Andrew Alvarez talking to students about history
Martin Luther King's Deaf and Hard of Hearing class requested the History on the Go program to come to their school.  Our Education Coordinator, Marcie Rodriguez, made this possible. As a student at the Imperial Valley College studying ASL as a second language, she was able to prepare curriculum in ASL and talk with the class of 11 students using sign language. The students could understand, communicate, and respond in the language they felt most comfortable with.

This week, we hosted our first field trip completely presented in Spanish. Education staff members Angelina Coble, Albert Lutz, and research intern, Andrew Alvarez, welcomed Calexico Rockwood Elementary's thirty-one 6th grade students to the museum.

This was the first field trip to come out from Calexico.  The students explored solar energy with solar cars and the history of the Imperial Valley in our exhibit. The ability to pilot a field trip that connects with the culture of the community is a pivotal moment in the future of the museum. The museum strives to be a reflection of the people, history, and culture of the Imperial Valley.

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