Kavita Mahendra’s Journey from Hyderabad, India to ESL Excellence in the U.S.


In this episode of the Equipping ELLs podcast, we welcome Kavita Mahendra to the show!

Kavita is an experienced ESL educator with a rich multicultural background. Kavita’s story is a testament to the transformative power of embracing linguistic diversity and cultural heritage in ELL education. In this enlightening conversation you’ll hear:

Navigating and Embracing India’s Linguistic Mosaic

In our conversation, Kavita fondly reminisced about her upbringing in Hyderabad, India, a cosmopolitan city teeming with cultural vibrancy. Growing up amidst diverse traditions and languages, Kavita shares how her upbringing shaped her perspective on language and identity. With over 30 languages spoken across different states, Kavita paints a vivid picture of the linguistic tapestry.

The Power of Home Languages

One of the key insights Kavita shares is the significance of maintaining home languages within ELL communities. Drawing from her own experiences, she underscores the emotional connection and sense of belonging that home languages provide. Kavita advocates for the preservation of students’ cultural identities through the continued use of their native languages, highlighting the profound impact it has on their educational journey.

Transitioning to ESL Excellence

Kavita’s journey from India to the U.S. marked a pivotal transition in her career as an educator. She shares the challenges and triumphs she encountered along the way, from unlearning old teaching methodologies to adapting to the nuances of ESL instruction in a new cultural context. Her dedication to empowering educators and supporting ELL students shines through as she reflects on her experiences teaching ESL endorsement classes and spearheading ESL initiatives in her school district.

Tips for ELL Educators

For fellow ESL educators, Kavita offers valuable insights and advice gleaned from her years of experience. She emphasizes the importance of visibility in the school building, community connections, and personalized student support in fostering a conducive learning environment for ELLs.

Kavita Mahendra’s journey serves as a beacon of inspiration for educators navigating the complex terrain of ELL education. Her story underscores the transformative impact of embracing linguistic diversity, fostering cultural awareness, and advocating for the educational rights of our multilingual students. Tune in to the full episode! You’ll be glad you did!

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More about Equipping ELLs:

We all know that teaching isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be this hard. Equipping ELLs is a podcast for both ESL specialists and homeroom teachers who are looking for effective and engaging ways to support their English Language Learners without adding to their endless to-do list. Tune in each week to hear tips, strategies, and inspirational stories that will empower you to better reach your ELL students, equip them with life-long skills, and strengthen relationships with colleagues and parents.

Your host, Beth Vaucher, is the founder of Inspiring Young Learners. She is an ESL certified homeroom teacher with over 10 years of experience teaching in the US and internationally. Her background of M.Ed in ESL and Curriculum and Instruction combined with her experience has led her to develop a bestselling newcomer curriculum that has sold in over 90 countries around the globe. She brings a different perspective to teaching ELLs from her years teaching and living abroad and working with ELLs from around the world. You will walk away from each episode with the ideas and tools you need to transform your experience as a teacher and cultivate a thriving and welcoming environment for your ELL students.



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