Dual Languages and COVID-19: Where to Get Resources
By Bill Rivers
“The New Normal.” We hear it so often that the phrase loses meaning. For emerging bilinguals and their families, the COVID-19 crisis poses additional challenges, as school districts across the country continue their scramble to support virtual and hybrid learning. Among these challenges are the need to train teachers in the use of technology, in classroom management in online and hybrid learning, in pedagogy for synchronous and asynchronous learning, as well as adapting curricula to online learning, and finally, supporting learners and their parents, with equipment, internet access, and effective instructions. There’s a lot going on, challenges everywhere we turn, so I thought this month’s column would best serve you, the reader, by pointing to resources for Dual Language teachers and families.
The Office of English Language Acquisition at the US Department of Education recently published a guide to educational technology for English Learners.While it’s not specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has a wealth of resources, and there are accompanying toolkits for educators and developers. New America’s English Learner Project has several publications for teachers and administrators. The National Association for Bilingual Education’s free Slow Institute has weekly webinars from national experts, many of them addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and its challenges. Many state organizations also have COVID-19 resources.
Lastly, several organizations have advocated to the Congress and the Presidential Campaigns for significant, new funding to support access to education for English Learners, and professional development for teachers and administrators. Right now, new funding is on hold, and we’ll wait to see how the election turns out and what the Congress decides to do about additional COVID-19 relief. We have a long ways to go, and it can be hard to stay strong, but do know that at the national level, a broad coalition of organizations is fighting for funding and bringing awareness of the challenges our educators and families face.