Dual Language Education: A New School Year
Dual Language Teachers, Administrators, and District Leaders:
At the beginning of the 2019 – 2020 school year, we could not have anticipated that COVID-19 would forever change the way in which we engage in schooling in the United States. For those of us who serve emergent bilingual students via dual language education, the challenge has always been to engage in work that is inclusive, multilingual, and multicultural, in spaces that often are not. But, what this world pandemic has also made us realize is that like the students and families we serve, we are resilient.
I am so very inspired by district leaders who have defended the right to continue to offer the most culturally-sustaining educational program available, despite those who have called for its termination in the midst of decision-making surrounding remote instruction. I am in awe of campus administrators who literally did everything possible to ensure that students continued to have educational access in the midst of chaos. And, finally, I am in debt to dual language educators who have continued to embrace students’ fully even during crisis resulting in virtual instruction.
Things have not been easy for dual language educators in the last couple of months. We have had to completely re-shift our thinking about how we have always facilitated biliteracy instruction. Our pedagogical tool belts have had to be loosened to allow for new tools needed, to engage in instruction that is no longer in person. But, as always, our community of dual language advocates and facilitators of instruction in multiple languages, have found a way.
I am scared. I know that you are too. We are worried about the health of our students, their families, our communities, our own family members, and we are nervous about our ability to serve while COVID-19 infection numbers continue to grow. But, our journey as defenders of equity and social justice has never been easy.
We will focus on content, language, and culture integration. We will allow students to be co-facilitators of biliteracy instruction in remote, hybrid, or in-person models. Our students will continue to make cross-linguistic connections and embrace their full linguistic repertoires. Dual language program models and language allocation plans will continue to guide the way. And, more importantly, our emergent bilingual students will continue to understand that we are working to become better people and in service of others, as we also strive to become bilingual & biliterate and achieve grade level academic achievement in two program languages.
Dual language educators, you are important! You are fabulous! And, you are ready for anything that comes your way! Have a great 2020 – 2021 school year! ¡Adelante!
Your amigo and colega,