The end of “paralllel monolingual” classes

“(…) language practices cannot be developed except through the students existing knowledge”.

 García, O., & Wei, L. (2014). Translanguaging to learn. Translanguaging: Language, bilingualism, and education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

The outcomes related to the neurocognitive advantages of bilingualism of last 20 years of research are widely spread now, side by side with some longitudinal study showing that forms of bilingual education, such as dual language immersion program, bring the advantages for all students’ higher academic achievement. Beyond, these well know and widely spread data, I want to bring your attention to a discussion that is now permeating any second language teaching course (TESOL, World Language, Foreign Language, Heritage Language, or Dual Language immersion programs). The hot topic discussion on any language conference right now is: 

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Is the strict language separation (also known as parallel monolingualism) really more effective, or, allowing emergent bilinguals use their repertoire in the classroom will lead to more effective language development?

You may or may not have heard about the term “Translanguaging,” a (not so) new lenses to second language pedagogy.  The name has been used in Europe for over two decades but in the U.S. has gained attention recently with the groundbreaking research of Ofelia García. I have been studying translanguaging for two years now, and I want to share some thought-provoking excerpts that instilled a revolution on the ways that I am thinking about second language acquisition and pedagogy:

“New language practices can only emerge in interrelationship with old ones, without competing or threatening an already established sense of being that languaging constitutes” (p. 79).

 García, O., & Wei, L. (2014). Translanguaging to learn. Translanguaging: Language, bilingualism, and education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

“(…) learners need a secure sense of self that allows them to appropriate new language practices as they engage in a continuous becoming” (p. 79).

 García, O., & Wei, L. (2014). Translanguaging to learn. Translanguaging: Language, bilingualism, and education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

I already have offered professional development about how to use emergent bilinguals’ home language literacy skills to develop literacy skills in English. If you or your school want to know more about research-based strategies of how to use language learners’ repertoire to build literacy skills in English or in a second language, let’s talk!

Personalized education: your school should be discussing about it!

“The one-size-fits-all approach, which has guided our current school system since its early 20th-century origins, simply does not address the complex and varied needs of today’s children, particularly those living in poverty.” — Paul Reville

I feel blessed of participating in a book club discussion with enlightened innovator educators in Miami. Every other month there is a fascinating topic and book choices to read and discuss it.  In the first meeting, we came together to understand what personalized education truly means, and I genuinely believe that you should know more about it. I started to dig in this issue, and today I just came across this fantastic document, which begins with:

Countless studies tell a somber and all too familiar story: an unacceptable number of children and youth in the United States face systemic barriers that impede their access to essential services and opportunities they need to thrive.

Lee, Saeyun D. Success Plans: Promising Tools for Customizing Student Supports and Opportunities. Cambridge, MA: Education Redesign Lab, 2019.

The Education Redesign Lab is an excellent initiative of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. They identified a personalized plan for success has having a significant and untapped potential to bolster students’ outcomes. If you work at a school, check their tools for desigining a customized plan to support each learner addressing their particular strengths and challenges:

Do you want more? Read this excellent article at the Harvard Graduate School of Education newsletter:

Do you want to establish an insightful conversation about this? Schedule a presentation: