PL-CI-136 Cross-Cultural Communication for Understanding and Academic Success (PK-12)


PL-CI-136 Cross-Cultural Communication for Understanding and Academic Success (PK-12)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017          3:45 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017            3:45 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017            3:45 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017              3:45 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017              3:45 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.

Total: 15 hours


The 15 PDPs from this offering may be used by participants toward meeting the DESE requirement of 15 PDPs in ELL for licensure renewal.

The international student population in public schools across Massachusetts has grown significantly throughout the past decade.  The percentage of students in the Lexington Public Schools who are English language learners has likewise steadily increased, especially students from Asian cultures.  As educators we embrace the diversity and richness that students from around the world bring to our classrooms, and we teach in ways to provide multiple ‘entry-points’ for students and families who come from a wide variety of countries and cultures so that they may become acclimated to our schools and our community.  The content of this 15-hour course will give LPS educators an opportunity to focus on useful techniques and strategies for effectively integrating international students and families into our classes in ways that support cross-cultural communication and that foster mutual understanding.


Each session focuses on a particular aspect of the transition process, including the initial shift of learning in a second language or culture, the acclimation phase when students and families understand two systems, and the full integration stage when students can feel more comfortable in their second language or culture.  Part of the course centers around how educational systems, particularly for students and families originally from high-pressure testing-based systems, influence both classroom and family dynamics, including parents' expectations for their children and interactions with their children's teachers. Through this course, educators will be able to:

  • understand how underlying cultural influences shape student' approach to learning in their home environment and how those qualities may manifest in a different learning environment,
  • understand how educational systems influence learning styles, not only in terms of how students approach learning and studying, but also how they interact with peers and teachers, and
  • understand how to support students transitioning from testing-based educational systems and also then how to effectively communicate key educational principles used in LPS to their families

The knowledge and insights into these testing systems, which are found predominantly in East Asia but also exist in many parts of Asia, the Middle East and Africa,  will be used to develop practical tools and techniques to support both students and families. We will then use multiple case studies of students from elementary through high school to discuss additional strategies to facilitate their transition and integration, as well as develop solutions for educators who would like to better support their students throughout this process.  Ample time will be provided to discuss real life cases so that educators can benefit from actual strategies and techniques that have been implemented successfully to support both the students' learning process and communication with families.  Through these case studies, educators will:

  • brainstorm and discuss practical, easily implementable techniques that they can use in their classrooms
  • develop strategies to support students to be able to transition more smoothly and learn communication tools to ease their parents' concerns
  • strengthen their cultural lens to be able to more quickly and easily identify the reason behind a student's classroom behavior and then devise a targeted solution


About the Facilitator:

Kerianne K. Panos, Founder and President, MCML Consulting  

Ms. Panos founded MCML Consulting almost a decade ago to provide a comprehensive support system for international professionals and families living and working in their second language and/or culture. As a speaker of three Asian and three European languages, she uses her linguistic and cross-cultural skills to help people from different backgrounds understand how to more effectively communicate and interact with each other.  She honed her skills working around the world, first as a project manager for an international educational program, supporting over 115 assistant ESL teachers, and then as a technical expert for the Japanese Government for the ITER Project, a multinational effort to make fusion power a reality.  

For the past 10 years, she has focused her efforts on supporting the international community by providing coaching and training programs to improve understanding and awareness of how our environment shapes our learning process and communication style.  Her consulting work has grown to include multiple educational, scientific and technical organizations, from the Boston Red Sox to MIT Media Lab, and almost 250 international professionals. She travels regularly around the New England area to conduct training sessions and workshops with educators in public and private schools with large international student populations, and to Asia to work with educational institutions and study abroad organizations, as well as globally expanding organizations in the fields of medicine, science and technology.


Who May Enroll:  All General and Special Education Teachers & Administrators

Location:  Central Administration and Professional Development Center, Room 1

PDPs/Credits:  15 PDPs and 1 in-house credit upon successful completion of course requirements

Class Size:  20


Kristen McGrath
Phone: 781-861-2580 x68043


Seat Availability: 3 of 20 available.
Last day to register: 3/21/2017

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Central Administration and Professional Development Center, Room 1
146 Maple Street
Lexington, MA 02420The zipcode must be numeric with at least five numbers.