WIDA Español: Enhancing Opportunities for Spanish Instruction

By: Samuel Aguirre

Director of WIDA Español


In a recent column, Dr. José L. Medina speaks about the way in which English instructional practices filter into the teaching of Spanish, what he calls teaching Spanish “a la English.” As he points out, given the focus on English language development across bilingual education programs in the United States, Spanish is often times taught using pedagogical practices that originate in English. The lack of instructional resources, tools, and professional learning opportunities developed in Spanish for Spanish continues to be an area of need. WIDA Español looks to fill that gap.


The WIDA Español Program supports educators in advancing Spanish language instruction and expanding opportunities for PK-12 multilingual learners through the development and delivery of high quality standards, assessments, professional learning, and resources grounded in research. WIDA Español supports educators both inside and outside the WIDA Consortium.


In a conversation with an educator in Georgia who works with multilingual learners, she shared her frustration with the lack of Spanish-based tools and professional learning opportunities provided by her district. I have heard similar experiences from educators all across the country, from Florida, to Wisconsin, to Texas, to Washington. With this in mind, WIDA Español published a WIDA Focus Bulletin titled Educación en el mundo actual: Equidad en los programas bilingües (which is also available in English). This Focus Bulletin was written in Spanish, and the ideas that originated in English were transadapted to fit responsibly into the instructional settings of Spanish-English bilingual education. Key components of the bulletin, including opportunities for embracing Spanish oral traditions (page 4) and a close look at translanguaging as an instructional practice (pages 7-8), give rich opportunities for educators working with Spanish instruction to develop and adapt tools and practices in a culturally and linguistically responsive manner that will lead to the greatest gains for their students.


As director of WIDA Español, I am excited to share the Focus Bulletin linked above and additional resources with educators via duallanguageschools.org. This column presented here is the first in a series. Every month, I will share updates on resources, tools, and professional learning offered by WIDA Español. As indicated above, these resources are designed for implementation in bilingual settings where Spanish is the language of instruction. In this work, you will notice a level of responsiveness to the sociocultural environment of the learning experience, which allows administrators and teachers alike to find ways in which to adapt WIDA Español resources to their local settings and further enhance the bi/multilingual identities of their students as they learn Spanish and English.


Learn more about WIDA Español

WIDA Español provides resources and professional development for educators supporting Spanish instruction for multilingual learners. The components of WIDA Español are flexible enough to work alongside existing content curriculum, structures, and initiatives in schools. These are designed to correspond to the WIDA English Language Development system and other English language development standards. For updates about WIDA Español resources, products, tools and services follow WIDA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For questions or comments, contact us at espanol@wida.us.

About the Author

Samuel Aguirre is the Director of WIDA Español and oversees all products and services developed for the program. He manages the research, development and delivery of WIDA resources focused on Spanish language instruction in the United States and abroad. His work oversees major areas, including those of standards for Spanish language development and for Spanish language arts, professional learning opportunities for educators working with Spanish and Spanish-English bilingual education programs and Spanish language assessment.

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