Advice for Digital Immigrants
by Doug Bowen-Bailey
Effective Interventions to Support Marginalized Students
Diversifying the interpreting profession is a need that has been identified by many. A very practical resource for this work is Bandwidth Recovery: Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Resources Lost to Poverty, Racism, and Social Marginalization by Cia Verschelden.
Verschelden is very concise in making the argument that students who experience marginalization and oppression have to divert resources to address those realities. The first half of the book explains the resource that shows this to be true, but she invites readers who are already convinced of these facts to jump ahead to the second half of the book to see what interventions have been shown to be effective.
Within the chapters, Verschelden explains how important it is for educators to support a growth mindset for students – that is a recognition that skills are not innate but come through effort and time. Carol Dweck, who came up with the concepts of fixed and growth mindsets, explains this as the power of yet. Explaining to students that it is not that they can’t do something, it is just they can’t do it yet.
Another intervention is alleviating stereotype threat or more broadly identity threat – where one part of a students identity might be associated with a stereotype of doing poorly in an academic subject. She provides a variety of strategies to help students overcome this.
The book also gives a variety of techniques for fostering a sense of belonging in academic spaces. This is critical for students who may not come from environments that take going to college for granted.
Finally, Verschelden identifies institutional and structural processes that can be put in place to help students recover cognitive bandwidth. Some things, like block scheduling, make it easier for students to navigate childcare and working a job. She gives as a case study Georgia State University in Atlanta for their institutional embrace of a growth mindset.
Overall, this book is definitely worth your time if you are an educator interested in creating a more welcoming space for students who experience racism, poverty, or other forms of marginalization.
Video: A white man wearing a dark grey short sleeve shirt and glasses sits in front of a grey background. He signs an ASL version of the English text above.
The video begins and ends with an image of the book cover reading the title of the book:
Bandwidth Recovery: Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Resources Lost to Poverty, Racism, and Social Marginalization by Cia Verschelden Foreword by Lynn Pasquerella.
To the right of the signer on the screen in yellow letters, the following list is gradually displayed:
- Growth Mindset
- Alleviating Identity Threat
- Fostering Belonging
- Institutional & Structural Processes