Indeed, let’s ask — as my friend Marjorie Faulstich Orellana has asked — What if we start thinking more carefully about multilingual contexts? They exist all over Missouri, and yet many continue to think of Missouri as a monolingual, English-speaking space, where we have “bilingual kids” or “English Language Learners” that need to learn English. But we’re more than that. We are communities — large and small — that use a whole range of languages and language varieties to communicate and work with each other. More and more school districts are thinking: how can we work in these multilingual contexts and support the development of our multilingual kids? Check out the latest newsletter from the Missouri Dual Language Network (MODLAN) to see what’s up regarding language education and opportunities in our state: http://eepurl.com/bZ0Zc1 You might also “like us” (lots!) on our FaceBook page or visit our website. Hasta luego!
Join colleagues and I on April 12 at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meetings, as we interrogate the climates of multi-language schools from the perspectives of students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Meeting AERA’s mission to promote research that improves education and serves the public good, we’ve put together a symposium that is designed for those interested in the culture and climate of multilingual schools: spaces where either students have multiple language backgrounds, or educational programs aim to develop bilingualism. Our symposium’s research presentations include views from diverse stakeholders who shape school climate and analysis of its key dimensions. The first two papers will explore the institutional environment and relationships at new language immersion schools, from children and parent perspectives; the next paper will examine how teachers can establish multilingual contexts for literacy learning in English-as-a-Second-Language and general-education classes, and the final one analyzes how school leaders ensure the welcome/safety of undocumented student populations. See you there!
In June 2015, colleagues and I joined together at the annual Cambio de Colores conference. New this year: an entire ‘track’ of presentations on dual language and English Learners (EL) education. I was especially excited to be part of a panel discussing the development and challenges of dual language programs in Kansas City and Carthage, Missouri and community bilingual outreach at libraries in Springfield. There is great work happening – and great needs – across the state. Join us to discuss the “cambiodecolores.org” – Change of Colors – in Missouri and the Midwest.
“Cambio de Colores is a multistate conference about integration of immigrants in new destinations in the Midwest.” It is one of my favorite professional development opportunities because everyone comes to this conference: practitioners, teachers, researchers, advocates, policymakers and others who work with immigrant communities. Consider joining us to share your experiences, or to learn more about a related growing network discussed below – the Missouri Dual Language Network plans to meet there, too, and hopefully plan some visits to multilingual Missouri communities! More information at: http://www.cambiodecolores.org/
Educators, parents, and other community members around our state are thinking beyond monolingualism. On February 4, a group of us will convene at the University of Missouri to discuss what we need to move forward. “Like” us on FaceBook – https://www.facebook.com/moduallanguage – and post your ideas: How can we support and develop the multiple languages and cultures of our communities and our kids? Updates will be posted on Twitter, too, for those who prefer that social media forum – https://twitter.com/lisamdorner!