Teacher Resources

Globalization in East Asia—Shagufta Ellam

McNeil High School

McNeil High School is located in a suburban area between Austin and Round Rock, Texas. The community is largely composed of business, technical and professional people who commute to jobs in and around Austin. McNeil High School, in its 15th year of operation, has 2,827 students in grades 9-12 and a staff of over 284 professionals.

Ethnic Population

Shagufta Ellam

Shagufta teaches world geography and world history. Her background is as a social studies teacher—geography, world history, U.S. history, economics, and government. Much of her preparation in geography came by way of continuous staff development in content and pedagogy, mainly from the Texas Geographic Alliance, attending annual conferences as well as workshops, and gathering resources, Those opportunities led her to become a trainer.

She admits that she eats, drinks, and lives geography. She enjoys traveling and sharing her experiences with her students. Shagusta considers herself a continuous learner and loves to see students continuously learning and having those light bulb moments, when they see connections or make new connections. She enjoys learning from students because they have a different perspective on any topic.

Her advice to new teachers is to not try to do too much, keep it simple. If you find that you need to constantly reiterate skills, such as the ESPN charts used in the video lesson, take the time to do that. Students develop skills incrementally. Also, as a new teacher, you don’t need to know everything. There are resources available, such as professional development opportunities and National Geographic. Use the resources of your state alliance for content sources and also for guidance on how to teach lessons.

She further advises, “Sometimes I think with new teachers when you get in there you…feel overwhelmed of not knowing where to start. Look at the standards. That’s where you start first. Then collect the resources or ask for the resources and then develop your lessons.”

Shagufta loves to support students’ active participation in their learning. She says, “I want to be doing this active participation, monitoring rather than grading. Grading is the last, if I could have a personal secretary to just grade then I could be just part of this facilitating in the classroom, that would be awesome.

On preparing a new lesson, she says: I look at the standard. What standard am I going to be utilizing? Where in the scope of sequence are we? What is required from the district at that time as well? So I look at the standards relative to that region or that theme and then from there go and develop the lesson. What is it asking? What kind of performance is it asking for? Then I collect the content and then use of some sort of processing method for students to grasp the understanding.

I’ll use anything from databases such as ABC-CLIO Social Studies Data Base or Population Reference Bureau or Population Connections. Also creating my own materials, looking at the verbiage that the standards have and creating a task out of that

I usually start off with a connection that is relevant to them. For example, look at the surroundings, especially with this globalization lesson. How are we connected within this room or something? How are you connected? What do you have on? Things like that usually make a personal connection of some sort at the beginning of the lesson. The story with Lizzy’s Morning was really ideal because how many of these students actually paid attention? They are very much connected.