This issue of "Occasional Papers" is filled with stories by and about "strangers"--people of all ages who perceive themselves or have been perceived by others as outsiders either because of who they are, where they have come from, or even how recently they have arrived in this country. Successful educators know that the ability to welcome the stranger into the classroom, indeed an entire group of strangers each September, is essential to building a productive, caring community of learners. They know, too, that, from the point of view of students new to the school or society, the culture of the classroom may feel very strange. Welcoming teachers are willing to step outside of their own cultural frames to see the school from the student's perspective. Common purposes and goals emerge in classrooms only when there is a genuine sharing of the things that really matter to everyone present, not just when the rules and routines are posted. In classrooms where students can tell their stories, they come to feel safe, to know that they will be heard, and to recognize that they can legitimately hold on to parts of the past even as they move into the future. Students also learn that difficult emotions--uncertainty, ambiguity, loss--can be managed, contained, and shared rather than ignored or silenced. Beyond the school itself, greeting the stranger is at the heart of the democratic experience.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.