National Conversations on English Learner Education

by multilingualmania on March 9, 2011

in Education

photo-2This week we attended “National Conversations on English Learner Education”, a forum hosted in Los Angeles by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA). The forum was facilitated by Dr. Rosalinda Barrera, OELA’s Assistant Deputy Secretary, and Juan Sepulveda, Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.

For one and a half days, educators, business leaders, politicians, and other stakeholders from various states convened for powerful and innovative conversations about the education of English language learners and bilingual learners across the nation.

At one point our very own Melanie hopped up onto the stage to sit on a panel to discuss future directions that must be taken regarding the education of English language learners. Being the eternal bilingual fanatic, Melanie filled her two minute time limit with tons of thoughts about multilingual education for all children. It was even televised on the internet!

We can’t wait to tell you all about the collaborative format as well as topics discussed, but first we want to hear YOUR thoughts about the education of English language learners and bilingual learners. On our first day, the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) posed the following three questions:

  1. What should we stop doing in EL education? What current classroom/school practices and policies are disadvantaging EL students and getting in the way of their academic progress?
  2. What should we keep doing in EL education? What current classroom/school practices and policies are having a positive impact on EL students’ learning and achievement? What ought to be maintained?
  3. What should we start doing in EL education? What envisioned policies and practices would serve to ensure a quality education for ELs in the 21st century? What out to be initiated?

We know what we said, and we can’t wait to tell you about it. Before we do, however, we would love to hear your thoughts on these three questions. What do you think? What should we STOP doing? What should we KEEP doing? What should we START doing?

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