by Larry Ferlazzo
"Before I became a high school English as a second language teacher 9 years ago, I spent 19 years as a community organizer, primarily in immigrant neighborhoods and with institutions focused on immigrants. Organizing is a process of helping people—many of whom might be reluctant to change—learn new skills and engage in the world in a way that improves their situation. Organizing means helping people use their assets—their experiences, traditions, and stories—to reimagine themselves and their dreams. It's about helping them tap into their intrinsic motivation and embark on a journey of action, discovery, and learning. I call the process that successful organizers use the organizing cycle. As a teacher, I've adapted this cycle to help English language learners become accomplished readers and learners.
"The organizing cycle includes five actions: Build strong relationships with students; access prior knowledge through stories; help students learn by doing; identify and mentor students' leadership potential; and promote the habit of reflection."