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Reaching and Teaching English Learners, Newcomer Students, and English Learners with Disabilities during the Pandemic

Reaching and Teaching English Learners, Newcomer Students, and English Learners with Disabilities during the Pandemic

Date of the Event: September 15, 2020 | Charo Basterra, BethAnn Berliner, Gallia Kassiano, and Silvia de Ruvo and Lisa Tabaku
teacher helping students Show Notes:

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended schooling as we know it. As schools reopen, whether virtually, in-person, or as a hybrid approach, educators are facing new challenges. Among them are providing critical services, especially for English Learners and students with disabilities. Families that are not proficient in English also face language barriers that may impede their participation in their children’s education, regardless of the approach.

Learn how educators are pivoting to make sure that English Learners, including newly arrived immigrants and students with disabilities, receive a high-quality education and other social-emotional supports under current conditions. This webinar featured conversations with expert practitioners and researchers, and presents strategies that can be applied in your school or district.

Charo Basterra:

Hello and welcome, everyone. While we wait to start the panel, please use the chat box to tell us, where are you joining us from? Also, please share one word that comes to your mind when you think of English learners. We’ll start shortly. (silence)

Charo Basterra:

Well, thank you. Please keep adding information to the chat. Well, these are the words that I see that actually comes to mind when we think of English learners, diverse, motivated, brillian...

Charo Basterra:

Hello and welcome, everyone. While we wait to start the panel, please use the chat box to tell us, where are you joining us from? Also, please share one word that comes to your mind when you think of English learners. We’ll start shortly. (silence)

Charo Basterra:

Well, thank you. Please keep adding information to the chat. Well, these are the words that I see that actually comes to mind when we think of English learners, diverse, motivated, brilliant, adaptable, capable, vicarious. I think this is great that I see people joining us from different parts of the United States. I think that’s great for different states. We’ll just wait for a little bit, and then we’ll start caring. I see a gift and inspirational. I mean, this is great. This is a great beginning to our panel. So I’ll just wait a couple of minutes, and then we’ll start. Persistent.

Charo Basterra:

Okay. I think we’re going to start. Good afternoon. My name is Charo Basterra, and I’m the vice president of MAEC. On behalf of the Center for Education Equity at MAEC, we welcome you to the panel, Reaching and Teaching English Learners, Newcomer Students, and English Learners with Disability during the Pandemic.

Charo Basterra:

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the schooling as we know it. As the schools reopen, whether virtually, in person or as a hybrid approach, educators are facing new challenges. Among them are providing critical services, especially for English learners and students with disabilities, families that are not proficient in English also face language barriers that may impede their participation in their children’s education regardless of the approach.

Charo Basterra:

We are indeed very pleased to provide you with this panel of experts who will address promising practices that are being used during this time to make sure that English learners, including newly arrived immigrants and students with disabilities can receive a high quality education and other social emotional supports under current conditions. We hope that the information shared will help you learn about strategies that can be applied in your school or district. Welcome again. Next slide, please.

Charo Basterra:

So this is the etiquette that we’re going to use today. We recommend that you click on the chat icon on the bottom or top toolbar of your screen and keep the chat box open at all times. You can enter questions, add comments, and we will try to read them at the end of the finalist presentations. A Poll will appear at the center of your screen. Please click the appropriate button and submit your answer. Next slide, please. So here’s our poll. Please click on the poll.

Kate Farbry:

We’ve already got quite a good response of votes here. So I’m just going to give it about 10 more seconds, and then I’ll end it.

Charo Basterra:

There’s a comment here, where is the poll? So I don’t think that some people can access the poll, Kate. Can you make sure that there are questions about that they can click on the poll, and where is the poll? So I wonder if there’s any problem that’s not allowing people to complete the poll.

Kate Farbry:

Okay. Let me relaunch it. [inaudible 00:05:37] 149 people who voted. So I apologize to those of you who have done it once. Okay. Can you see that, everybody.

Charo Basterra:

I hope everybody can see the poll now. Right.

Kate Farbry:

Yeah. The results are coming in again.

Charo Basterra:

So we’ll allow a minute or so for you to complete your role, and then we’ll be able to see what the results are. It’s okay. Let us know. Okay. So here are the results of the poll. It seems we have the greatest majority of teachers with 56%, followed by administrators with 19%, and technical assistance providers, follow by researchers and guidance counselor. I think it’s a diverse group of people. Again, welcome, and thank you, and we’re going to go to the next slide.

Charo Basterra:

So we have today, helping us from MAEC, Kate Farbry, who’s the panelist support, and Kathleen Pulupa, who is in charge of social media, actually, using Facebook now. It’s a lot live, and Claire Ruhlman, who is with technical support. If you’re having any difficulty, please contact her through the chat box, and Nikevia Thomas who is also going to be helping with the chat box and Q&A.

Charo Basterra:

There’s a comment that says that there was no slot for educator and [inaudible 00:07:41] the person as a teacher. But anyway, thank you for that. I think we have a good idea of more or less what’s the representation that we have. Next slide. The moderators are BethAnn Berliner, who is senior researcher, project director at WestEd and yours truly, and I’m the vice president of MAEC. Next slide.

Charo Basterra:

Now, it is my pleasure to introduce our panelists. We’ll start with Gallia Kassiano. She’s a TESOL-certified English language arts teachers at Manhattan International High School, one of the schools included in our publication about newcomers and currently teaches 12th grade. She’s also an instructional coach who mentors teachers to effectively work with English learning newcomer students. She’s a proud Bronx native, a first-generation Mexican American and a New York public school’s alumni. When she’s not teaching, she just hiking, indoor cycling, listening to true crime podcasts and playing competitive board games.

Charo Basterra:

Then let me introduce Silvia DeRuvo. She provides technical assistance to states through the IDEA Data Center and the National Center for Systemic Improvement, NCSI, supporting these agencies in their efforts to improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities. Working with WestEd since 2005. Silvia has worked extensively with schools and districts in implementation of inclusive practices to support students with disabilities and English learners within the RTI, MTSS framework.

Charo Basterra:

And Lisa Tabaku, who serves as the director of Global Language and Culture Education at the Center for Applied Linguistics, where she provides technical assistance to multilingual and dual language programs in the US and abroad at CAL, and previously at the American Institutes for Research, Lisa developed educational materials, provided professional development on effective and cultural responsive literacy and content instruction for students learning in a second language. Over the course of her career, she has directly taught English learners in grades pre K through 12.

Charo Basterra:

But before we move to the next slide, I had a couple of more words to introduce our call moderator BethAnn Berliner because I just mentioned her name and her title. Let me just say a little bit more about BethAnn. She is a senior researcher at WestEd and the lead author of the [inaudible 00:10:28] a newcomer guidebook and our partner in developing the companion newcomer videos. She works on a number of coaching and research projects or focus on strengthening cross-sector approaches to support the historically underserved students from families to improve learning and wellbeing and wellbeing.

Charo Basterra:

When she’s not at work, she enjoys growing food in her garden, tai chi, and hiking with her rescue dog, who we have heard amazing stories while we were waiting to start the candle. She will be our call moderator. Next slide please. So the Center for Education Equity, call it CEE, it’s a project of MAEC in partnership with Western and American Institutes of Research, AIR. We are one of the four regional equity assistance centers funded by the US Department of Education under Title IV of the civil rights of 1964. If I may say, today we don’t have a panelist from AAR, but we are very happy to have two of our panelists that are part of this partnership, that is WestEd. Next slide, please.

Charo Basterra:

As Region I Equity Assistance Center, we serve all of these states from Maine to Maryland, all the way to Kentucky. So we provide free technical assistance on the areas of race, gender, national origin, and religion. Next slide, please.

Charo Basterra:

So what are our goals? Our goals are to improve and sustain the systemic capacity of public education systems to address problems caused by segregation and inequities. Also, as mentioned previously, to increase educational opportunities for students, regardless of race, gender, religion, and national origin, which of course includes English learners. We provide technical assistance to states, LEAs, school districts, and community based organizations within Region I. Next slide, please.

Charo Basterra:

Now, it is my pleasure to have Lisa Tabaku start the panelists. I forgot to mention one thing about before starting the actual presentation, we’re going to use the following format. We want to hear from the presenters first, and then please ask your questions and put them in the chat. We will be responding to your questions and comments at the end of the presentation. I will continue with Lisa. So Lisa, welcome.

Lisa Tabaku:

Hi, Charo.

Charo Basterra:

Hi.

Lisa Tabaku:

I’m so happy to be here.

Charo Basterra:

Great. Wonderful.

Lisa Tabaku:

We have folks from all over the place, as I noticed in the chat box.

Charo Basterra:

Yes. Everybody happy. I was also very pleased to see how many positive words are associated with English learners. Exciting to see that we see English learners as promising, as resilient, and this opportunity to actually talk about them and see how we can actually enable more policies, more positive and promising practices during this pandemic time. So I guess my first question to you is, could you please tell us a little bit about the Center for Applied Linguistics, where you work.

Lisa Tabaku:

Sure. What I noticed about what people were putting in the chat box about English learners, I think you could say that about educators in the US and probably abroad as well right now, grit, resilience, these kinds of words, adaptable. This is what our teaching staff, what our teachers are at this time themselves. Right? Given the challenges we face of late. So not only the students are exhibiting these characteristics, but our teachers and staff are too.

Lisa Tabaku:

So yeah. So I’m Lisa. I’m from the Center for Applied Linguistics. The Center for Applied Linguistics is a nonprofit. It’s located in Washington, D.C. We’ve been around for over 60 years now, it’s hard to believe looking at the value of language and culture in our society. I think one of the reasons I’ve worked at CAL is really because we have a dedication to involving language and culture as they relate to access and equity in our society around the globe. So very proud to be a member of the staff at CAL.

Charo Basterra:

So thank you. So let’s start with the questions I think the audience is eager to hear about what we have to say. So let me ask you the first question is, generally speaking, what should educators consider when planning virtual learning opportunities for English learners?

Lisa Tabaku:

Okay. So all right. So okay. If we can go back to the other slide, please. No. That one. Very good. Okay. Let’s go ahead and start there. Because what I’d like to say first is that we have to remember this is something we remember whether we’re teaching virtually, which is the focus of our session today, right, or whether we’re face to face. That is that English language learners are not a homogenous group. Right? They differ by proficiency level, by age, by background, culture, language, opportunity to learn that they’ve had perhaps in the past, previous formal educational experiences.

Lisa Tabaku:

So there is not one type of English learner. We need to know who our students are and address their needs appropriately. That applies to being in person or virtual. If we want to go to the next slide, they also need to think about the fact that the components, and we might think of it via the SIOP model or GLAD model or various models for sheltering instruction that these apply to not only online learning, but also to in person, whether offline or online.

Lisa Tabaku:

We need to think about preparing our lessons so that we are addressing not only content but language. We are looking at incorporating cultural objectives, culturally responsive objectives into our lessons. We are thinking about building background or listening background or linking towards students’ background experiences. We are always thinking about, how are we making what we do comprehensible? So what techniques are we using to remodeling? Are we using visuals? Are we using demonstrations?

Lisa Tabaku:

These are things that can be done virtually, almost better than we can do it in our face-to-face differentiation of this kind. What scaffolding techniques are we using so that students are able to understand and produce the language. Next slide.]

Lisa Tabaku:

The students are going to need interaction, and we’ve got to be thinking of ways that they continue to interact with each other and with the teacher. In the current circumstances, language learning is social. We need to think about, how are we making opportunities for students to practice and apply what they’re learning. We’re integrating all of the language domains. We’re ensuring student engagement, appropriate pacing between what they’re doing online, what they’re doing offline, and of course, watching out, are they there? What feedback are we able to provide the students in the virtual realm? Okay. Next.

Charo Basterra:

So Lisa, in recognizing the need for emotional support for students in the face of COVID-19, educators sort of emphasizing the importance of social-emotional learning, what does SEL, social-emotional learning mean for linguistically and culturally diverse students?

Lisa Tabaku:

Okay. So stay here on the slide for a minute because I want to start this reaction to social-emotional learning by asking the question, when we talk about social-emotional learning, we even see that we sometimes have curriculum materials. I would ask, what is that curricula representative of? Who is values? Who is traditions? Whose mores are these? Are they representative of all of our children and their families? So social-emotional needs to also include attention to language and culture to identity, to affirming identity. It needs to also include looking at issues of social justice. That is equally a part of social-emotional learning as other aspects of how to behave, perhaps.

Lisa Tabaku:

I love this little book. So I’m giving a plug to this little book called The Little Book of Little Activists. It’s photographs that were taken in the first women’s March. It’s all pictures of kids holding these wonderful signs. This is what I see and many of us see as a part of social-emotional learning that you can see in the signs of the kids. Another aspect of it for social-emotional learning is of course normalizing COVID-19 for our young people, right? This is something that we’re all living through. If our kids are having trouble or feeling emotional about it, although many of our immigrant families are very resilient, right, that we’re not shoving it under the rug, but we’re talking about it.

Lisa Tabaku:

So if we go to the next slide, there’s some resources that I wanted to share. By the way, I have a whole list of resources for virtual learning that are either going to be put in the chat box or being available to you after the webinar. So we don’t want to shove it under the rug. We want to be talking about COVID with our kids, and here’s a site where you can get e-picture books that are available in audio in 19 different languages. Oh no, COVID-19 in multiple languages, sorry, and including Spanish and English, for example.

Lisa Tabaku:

Another good research source on the next slide is this one from New York City DOE and the libraries there. They have unbelievable selection of e-books that are international. So for example, they have El Concientizador, a book from Venezuela on COVID. Coronavirus, get out of here from Jamaica. Rosie practices social distancing for elementary about the… The dog who goes through having to wash his hands and do all these things to stay safe in COVID.

Lisa Tabaku:

So another wonderful resource that can be used, either read aloud to kids online or some that they can read themselves or be read to for the audiobooks. Okay. Let’s continue.

Charo Basterra:

Thank you. Hopefully, we’re going to have this available and sent to you. So you will have all the links because I can see the chat box that they would like to have those links. So don’t worry about it. We’ll send them to you. The next question, and we have two more questions. I want to make sure after these ones, that we can cover [crosstalk 00:23:45]-

Lisa Tabaku:

Yeah. I’ll be quick.

Charo Basterra:

Yeah. But there are great important resources in each of them, and I want to make sure that we can share with them. The next question is, how about families of English learners? How do we help them?

Lisa Tabaku:

Okay. So yeah. So well, yeah. One of the things is that communication is key. We have got to make sure that our families know everything they need to know about what’s going on under the current circumstances. We need to be sure they have supports for online learning, they have the technological equipment, the connectivity, the know-how that we’re supporting them. We have to know that family oral language and literacy in the first language goes a long, long way, right?

Lisa Tabaku:

So here’s another resource. It’s online on CAL about how families can help work with their kids at home. Right? It’s in Spanish and in Vietnamese so that you could look… It’s something that actually you could give to families. One of the things that I heard on NPR Radio not long ago was an interview of moms about their children who were being schooled. One of the moms who was a DC mom said, “My first-grade son, we’re having this terrible push-pull for him to be online.” Finally, the mom said, “I’m kind of ruining my relationship with my son, and I’m not willing to do that over this.” So she developed a pattern of saying, “We’re going to do what we can do, and he’s going to learn at home, but it’s not worth sacrificing the relationship with my son.” So I think that’s one of these takeaways for all of us. Let’s do what’s reasonable, what makes sense. Right? And not put unfair demands on families. Okay. All right. Next.

Charo Basterra:

So first of all, I also want to make sure that everybody knows that we’re going to send a link. You’re going to have the link to the recording. So all the links that are included, you will have access to them. The next question is, and when I was talking to Lisa, preparing for this final, Lisa had so much [inaudible 00:26:11] for the digital tools that can be offered that I was thinking, “Oh my God, we have to make sure that people know about this. What can they use during this time which is so difficult? What are some promising things that exist that actually can be used?” So the question is, what capabilities do digital tools offer educators to help language learners?

Lisa Tabaku:

Okay. So here, and we can go ahead and go to the next slide immediately here, the Department of Ed actually released a study before the pandemic on digital support tools for English learners. It’s a research report, but they also have a wonderful tool kit for educators. One of the things that they put in this report and what they learned is that technology provides many supports for English learners that you would not be able to provide without technology. We could see this as an opportunity to provide kids with the supports that they need in order to access and produce language.

Lisa Tabaku:

So there are four different areas. One of them is visual supports, providing the visual content, right? The images, the graphics, the short videos to help the kids understand the content and the concepts. Next slide. Auditory support, right? We can have the feature that allows students to hear text or hear their own speech played back to them for review. Think about the recording. If we’re recording our lessons and the kids don’t get it the first time, they actually have the opportunity to rewatch it again, which we don’t provide under normal circumstances.

Lisa Tabaku:

How about the next one? What else digital support features? Translation. We can have embedded. It’s amazing. I can take this PowerPoint right now. I can click a button, translation to Spanish, and I can put it all in Spanish and just do a quick check because I do know some Spanish to make sure it’s right. But they usually are. They usually are. So yeah. We can translate a word, a phrase, text provided. Now, the caveat is that the kids have that language in their first language for it to be useful. But if they do, my goodness, what a powerful tool. Okay. Next.

Charo Basterra:

So Lisa-

Lisa Tabaku:

Then the next one. Wait, wait, just one, collaboration. The final one of the four digital support features is collaboration. So using the kinds of tools that we have online to get kids, to be able to work together, like Flipgrid, for example. Okay. Go ahead, Charo.

Charo Basterra:

Well, got it. So this is a question. Is there a silver lining that there are companies the necessity to-

Lisa Tabaku:

Next slide.

Charo Basterra:

… virtual learnings for apps.

Lisa Tabaku:

Yeah. The silver lining. Okay. So we can go to the next slide too. Okay. So there been a lot of assumptions that have been made about learning in the current environment. In order for this to be successful, and in some places, people might be making assumptions about kids that aren’t true, now, we have to be careful because families, just as we said, English learners are not in a homogenous group, neither are their entire families, right? So certain families are going to have different needs than others. But we can’t say that all students have the technology programs, apps, and connectivity at home to be able to do this. Right?

Lisa Tabaku:

We can’t say that all parents have the time, knowledge, previous formal education, and language skills to assist their children with virtual. We can’t say all children benefit from social-emotional learning curriculum that’s been developed by the majority culture, right, as I alluded to before. All children can easily transition to new virtual ways of learning. Is that correct? No. Okay. My thing is being blocked by the chat or that all families can easily adapt to new schedules, right? But what’s the silver lining? Go to the next slide, please.

Lisa Tabaku:

Well, what might happen? What could happen from this, that students who pre COVID-19 did not have technology, devices, apps, and connectivity at home will have these resources? In many places, we are putting these resources into the hands of families and kids that didn’t have them before, that our students will actually, as a result, become more adept at using the technology and that the parents will be supported by the schools in growing their tech schools to be better able to assist their children with virtual learning. Finally, the teachers will be better able to integrate technology into their instruction for us after this ends, that they will learn new tools, those digital support resources that will help them better reach and teach English learners in face-to-face learning. So to me, there could very well be that silver lining if we’re always thinking of all of our children.

Charo Basterra:

Thank you, Lisa.

Lisa Tabaku:

Okay. You’re welcome. Then I do want to say that originally, we were going to download my handout to the chat box. I don’t know if that’s still the case. In any case, I absolutely know that you all will provide this to everyone because I’ve got a whole list of websites and resources that are online for teachers to use with English learners, one list for elementary and one for secondary and also my information. Should you want to reach out to CAL for any additional resources, we’d be happy to help you. So thanks so much.

Charo Basterra:

[crosstalk 00:32:53] for such an enthusiastic and informative presentation and responses to the questions. Now, we’re going to move to the next section that’s talking about newcomers, and I pass it on to our call moderator, BethAnn Berliner. [inaudible 00:33:14] get off here.

BethAnn Berliner:

Thanks, Charo. Hello, everybody, and greetings from Oakland, California. Last year, we released our report creating new futures for newcomers, lessons from five schools that serve K-12 immigrants, refugees, and asylees. The schools we studied are just amazing places, filled with caring and hope and really exceptional leadership teaching and learning. That’s why we considered them to be bright spots or schools where we can learn promising and practical ways for newcomer English learners to become successful students.

BethAnn Berliner:

It’s my pleasure to be in conversation with all of you and with Gallia Kassiano, a very talented high school teacher leader at one of our bright spot newcomer schools profiled in our research report, the Manhattan International High School in New York City. I know that the new school year is just about ready to start for Gallia and her team with bumps and all, like the rest of us with students returning to classes next week. We really appreciate that she’s with us today to share insights about how it went with distance learning last year when school is quickly shuttered and what it’s like gearing up now for a hybrid approach, both distance learning and limited in-person instruction, which is the districts and schools next step, moving forward. Next slide, please.

BethAnn Berliner:

Thank you. So Gallia, let’s get started with you telling us about your school and students. The students come from all across the world and their lives are at the nexus of immigration, racial injustice, poverty, and now a global pandemic. How are they faring? Next slide, please.

Gallia Kassiano:

Yeah. Sure. So Manhattan International High School belongs to the international network for public schools. Schools on our network only serve students who are recently arrived immigrants. Students are only admitted if they have been in the country less than four years. Because our school is in a very central location in New York City, our students travel from all of the city’s five boroughs. They hail from over 50 different countries, and they speak more than 40 different languages.

Gallia Kassiano:

So in terms of how faring, well, you can imagine that in a normal year, they already face a variety of unique challenges. But the pandemic definitely brought a constellation of new stressors. In our lower grades, so in ninth and 10th grade, we had students that had just arrived to the US a few short months before the outbreak. Many of these students came to live with family members, friends that they had never met prior to that, and which is hard enough for newcomers, but it was suddenly intensified without that buffer of being able to leave their homes to go to school.

Gallia Kassiano:

So not only were they experiencing the normal feelings of missing their loved ones back home, now they were suddenly or around the clock with people that they still perceive that strangers, and on top of that, they were worried about the health and safety of those that they had just left behind. Then in our upper grades, in 11 and 12th grade, we had students that were suddenly thrust into the role of primary breadwinners for their families when their parents lost their jobs or fell ill. Because of the lack of job opportunities. many of our students had to be essential workers. They worked long hours in grocery stores, supermarkets, which really made it hard for them to always focus on school, and it caused a lot of stress and guilt for them.

Gallia Kassiano:

They know that their journey to America was not easy, and so they understand the importance of being successful in school, but also they have this expectation to help their family. So that really weighed heavily on them trying to finish their high school career while also help their family out.

BethAnn Berliner:

Right. Your students really do carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. How are the teachers and staff helping them to cope during these really troubling and uncertain times?

Gallia Kassiano:

So given our diverse population, and like I said, the wide range of challenges, there really wasn’t just one way. So our teachers had a pretty wide variety of approaches. One of our great teams, for example, they created family groups or small clusters of students in a class. I would keep in contact with each other. So if they noticed that a student in their family group was having an especially difficult time emotionally or that they were having a hard time keeping up with their schoolwork, they were in charge of reaching out to one another, and I think having the students be a part of their outreach actually really worked for this team because in a time where everything seemed to be swirling out of control, it really gave their students a way to feel like they could regain some of that control.

Gallia Kassiano:

So that was one of our great teams. Another great team of ours, they held a weekly town hall meetings via Zoom, and they had opening activities that focused on social-emotional learning themes. So one week, a teacher would share poems about resilience, for example. Then another week, they would have YouTube videos about gratefulness, and they would allow students to share anything they wanted around those themes during that town hall and about how they were feeling.

Gallia Kassiano:

Then we each had weekly office hours, but I know that many of my colleagues, in addition to these weekly office hours, we also stayed connected for another 10 to 20 minutes after each of our classes for students to just chat privately if they needed to. Some of our teachers had students keep written journals or Google Docs. Then for some of our very beginner students, they had them keep photo logs where they could take a picture or find one online to talk about how they were feeling or experiencing quarantine, and teachers would write back to them using comment features or leave them little voice memos. So there really was a multitude of ways and strategies that my colleagues employed.

BethAnn Berliner:

Thank you. When I walk into classrooms at your school, I consistently see really strong instructional practices, a lot of reading, writing, speaking, and listening embedded in the lessons, the use of different learning modalities and students often working in highly interactive, small groups or pairs. How do these approaches carry over to online learning and a hybrid approach?

Gallia Kassiano:

So I admit that we were really fortunate because we were the recipients of an Apple grant a few years ago. So our students were already… We were already a one-to-one iPad school, and our students had been working on how to use technology to best help English language development for quite some time now. So it was still hard. Going remotely definitely still took adjusting, but because of our previous work, especially around technology, we were still able to implement some of the same best practices that you see and that are hallmark of our school. You go to the next slide, please.

Gallia Kassiano:

So I think Lisa brought it up in her presentation, but a lot of us used Flipgrid, which is an app that facilitates video discussions to have students respond to what they were reading or writing about. In my class, for example, they had a running journal and a running reading log on Google Docs, where I obviously engage them in conversation through written comments. But then at the end of the week, I would also ask them to share something noteworthy that they had read. So it could be a quote or something like a realization they had and then something from their journals that they felt comfortable sharing via Flipgrid.

Gallia Kassiano:

So that way, they felt like they were still reading and writing alongside one another and not just for me. This also gave them an opportunity to practice their speaking and listening skills and interact with one another. Then we of course relied a lot on Zoom to hold more synchronous conversations, and breakout sessions were also really important to continue that small group work that is a hallmark in our school.

Gallia Kassiano:

Then we also are known for our visual arts and for our visual projects, and we still had plenty of that. So our art teacher, Jane, she really hit it out of the park with her projects. You can go to the next slide, please. So for one of the projects, she had students recreate famous museum portraits at home and explain the choices that went into the recreation’s, which she also shared on our school’s art account on Instagram.

Gallia Kassiano:

For another project, she had students create masks out of household items, like egg cartons and cardboard boxes. Then to touch on your question about how it’s going to look in a hybrid approach, while we’re still in another month, I’ll probably be able to give you more insights on how to approach hybrid instruction in the largest district in the country. But right now, we’re still very much in the experimenting and innovating phase.

BethAnn Berliner:

Got it. We look forward to hearing more about that. But in the meanwhile, what’s been the most challenging things? What’s challenging about teaching in the current context, and how are you guys all dealing with that?

Gallia Kassiano:

Well, I think self-regulation was definitely one of the most challenging aspects of online learning. Without having to physically wake up at a certain time to take the train or a set time to finish school, many of the students really weren’t sure how to manage their time on their own. So consistency became a really, really big key in dealing with this issue, having a similar routine so that students knew what to expect as well as letting students know what that routine was. So you can go to the next slide, please.

Gallia Kassiano:

So some of us did video agendas. Some of us did voice memos. So having some sort of weekly agenda was really helpful, and it really helped her students be able to know what that routine was, and then communicating and coordinating with other teachers on our grade team became more important than ever because that way, we knew what we were working on, what our deadlines were in our individual classes, and this helped make sure that our students weren’t being overwhelmed because we each knew what we were working on.

Gallia Kassiano:

But I’ll also have to say that another challenge was that, without face-to-face interaction, our students weren’t always sure how to ask for help because then the classroom, right, they can just call you over, or they can stay after school if they’re struggling with something. But without that ability, a lot of our students struggled with how to seek for help. So to help students be better at advocating for themselves, something that helped prove very helpful on my particular grade team was giving them what to do if you’re struggling with virtual learning cheat sheet, and it was three columns.

Gallia Kassiano:

So on one column, there was problems that they might encounter. On the second column, there was solutions based on their problem that they could try, and then on the third column, there was a template or a few sentence starters to help them craft an email to reach out to their teacher. I think a lot of us think that by now, an email is an established form of communication and that students don’t need to be taught that. But English language learners, especially newcomers need to be explicitly guided in how to craft an email message and also when to write an email message and when another form of communication might be better. So personally, this aspect of self-advocacy is something that I look forward to and working more this school year.

BethAnn Berliner:

Thanks for sharing those tips and strategies. They’re helpful. Has anything surprised you about shifting online, maybe in a good way?

Gallia Kassiano:

Yeah. I think prior to COVID, right, many of us had this belief that students were valuing technology on their cell phones who are face-to-face interaction with us and their peers. Right? But I think that swift changed to remote learning proves the importance of in-person relationships and the importance of interactions to not just students, but also teachers. So that was a really nice realization, I think, for both parties.

Gallia Kassiano:

I think, for me, it was also a really big reminder that our students learn in such different ways. So while obviously remote learning was difficult for some of our students, there was a lot of students that normally struggled with in-person instruction that just gained so much confidence and just really thrived, and it was just really great to see them build confidence that they didn’t necessarily have when they were going to school in person.

BethAnn Berliner:

To piggyback on Lisa’s really pretty slide, it’s really nice to hear that there was a silver lining also. I’ve had the privilege of seeing you and several others at your school teach, and I know you guys work really hard to build trust and respect with students to create positive relationships and safe spaces to learn. How are you doing this without the intimacy of regular in-person face-to-face schooling?

Gallia Kassiano:

So I really love this question because I think this is really where I saw my colleagues come up with really creative and innovative ways to continue to really foster interactions and relationships with students. We had two ninth grade teachers, for example. They termed it Friday Lunch Hanks, and students could come say hello, chat with them, ask them about their lives, and of course, eat lunch together with them via Zoom. We also had another grade team who used the share screen function on a Zoom to hold weekly game nights of trivia, Pictionary, and other games. Then we had other grade teams use that same feature to hold movie nights.

Gallia Kassiano:

So students pick the movie, and then they use the chat function to talk about the movie with one another and ask questions. Then another thing that we found particularly successful was using our school social media accounts to have virtual versions for a lot of our schools’ most popular events, so things like spirit week and culture week, while we were remote learning, they would send their submissions. So they would send their submissions for Jersey Day or Twin Day. We would then post those online for the school community to see.

Gallia Kassiano:

I almost found that this was a better way for students to engage and interact with students from other grade levels, because usually, when we have these in person, they kind of stick to their own groups. But because it was online, and it was posted for the whole school community, they really interacted with students from other grade levels. Then I have to say that this wouldn’t have been possible. Oh, sorry. If you want to see an example, that’s on the next slide.

Gallia Kassiano:

Yeah. You could go to the next slide, and this is an example of what we were talking about, virtual Twin Day. But yeah, I have to say that this wouldn’t have been possible without our administration that really sets the tone for all of this. So our assistant principal, Moses, he was in charge of taking daily attendance for all of our students, and he did this through Google Forms. So one students submitted their attendance. He always sent them a daily quote and beam or an inspirational picture, and then he would also send them to us. So I think this really contributed to morale and pushed us to find more innovative ways to also do this with our students.

BethAnn Berliner:

I love that attendance is both ways, that you take attendance and a student gets a little gift from somebody at school. That’s wonderful. One of the hallmarks of your school is teacher leadership and agency with a lot of ongoing professional learning and teachers and staff working together in highly collaborative ways. What does this look like when schools are closed?

Gallia Kassiano:

So many of us implemented across curricular approach. We focused a lot more on interdisciplinary work. So for example, I worked with my grade team’s literacy teacher to create our major assignments. So I think this not only helped the students feel less overwhelmed because they didn’t have separate projects for each teacher. But it also helped us because we had another person to rely on for the planning and the grading. I think this is also a great idea if you have teachers that feel less comfortable with technology, for example, to pair these teachers with other teachers that feel more at ease because I think this could make for some great professional learning opportunities.

Gallia Kassiano:

But another thing that our grade team found super helpful was to have a running group chat. So we used Google Hangouts for that, and we would talk on a daily because it’s a lot like instant messaging and never really felt cumbersome or like a chore. We used it to share new tech things that we were discovering, especially at the beginning when everyone was first learning how to use Zoom, we would text about the successes and the breakthroughs we were having with tech, but also with our students as well as our struggles.

Gallia Kassiano:

Then we would also just really just share things about our day. We remind each other to unplug or take a walk and make sure that we were taking care of each other and ourselves. So while professional learning and teamwork very different, it was definitely still in place while being remote.

BethAnn Berliner:

We’re running short on time. Our last question is, most teachers with newcomers in their classes don’t teach at newcomer schools. At your school, all of the teachers are trained to work with newcomers, and all of the students are newcomers learning English. What tidbit of advice do you have for teachers who may not have the same training and school support to reach and teach newcomers that you have, especially during COVID times? If you could touch on this now, that would be great. If we have more time later on, we could take a little deeper.

Gallia Kassiano:

Yeah. So I would say that when you’re planning to focus on marrying your content and language development, so think about the language that is needed for students to access the content of that day. So are you going to be arguing something? Are you going to be comparing contrasting, observing. What’s the language behind it? Because the two shouldn’t be separate. They go hand in hand. If you’re not sure how to do this, that’s okay. Seek the LD specialist in your school, the ENL coordinators. Invite them to your classroom or go to their classrooms.

Gallia Kassiano:

I think more than ever now, now is not the time to work in isolation. Instead, we need to be working as a community. Then I think it’s super important to remember that our students, it has been brought up in Lisa’s presentation, they come to us with a wealth of knowledge, and we should and can build on that even virtually because in a time when it’s so easy to focus on the things that we’ve lost, a lot of people want to focus on deficits, and instead, it’s important to remember the assets that our students bring and being flexible in the way that you allow students to show mastery and understanding, keeping those expectations high, but being realistic because now in addition to regular literacy skills, right, we’re having to also teach tech literacy. So being patient being kind with our students, but also with ourselves.

BethAnn Berliner:

Thank you so much, Gallia. We really appreciate learning from your on-the-ground wisdom and expertise. Charo is going to go back to you.

Charo Basterra:

Thank you. Thank you, Gallia for such encouraging words and being patient and being kind, I think goes far away. So now, it’s my pleasure to welcome Silvia. Silvia is going to talk about English learners with suspected disabilities, and I would like to ask if you could just give us a little bit of information about the toolkit that we are developing for CEE, for the Center for Education Equity, so the partnership with WestEd, and then we’ll go over some questions regarding COVID and English learners with disabilities.

Silvia DeRuvo:

Okay. I can do that. So we can go the next slide. Just real quickly about West ed and how I’m involved in this work. We really were TA providers really from cradle to career, and my expertise to special education. But I am an English learner myself. I taught primarily in the Central Valley in California. So my experience is with a lot of English learners. So we really work to bring this work together, recognizing the importance of collaboration within the agency and in the schools and districts and in states where we provide technical assistance.

Silvia DeRuvo:

So the toolkit is one of those projects, and we can go to the next slide. Where we really are looking at, how do we answer the questions about, how do we assess an English learner due to the issues around over identification and under identification of students with disabilities? Most often, the issue is over identification. So with the Mid-Atlantic Equity Center, we are working on putting together a toolkit that focuses on these six different areas, looking at what should happen for an English learner who’s struggling and MTSS, how do we differentiate between what’s a language issue, and what’s a possible learning disability, and what is behavior that’s really just part of their language acquisition?

Silvia DeRuvo:

Then the importance of multidisciplinary teams to make decisions about really which it is and how you would make an appropriate referral and what data you should include. How do you provide that student an unbiased assessment? Then in the long run, how would you develop that IEP? So the next slide, we’ll talk a little bit about how we’ve put those together. So we’re really looking at research, best practices, tools, and resources so that when you access these modules, they aren’t quite done yet. You’ll have a lot of tools for you to be able to provide this training in your own schools and districts. So that’s really the purpose. It’s type the trainer model. Next slide.

Silvia DeRuvo:

So they’re built for 90-minute professional development, figuring whenever that staff meeting happens, there might be 90 minutes of time. Everything is customizable. There are facilitators notes. There are activities embedded. So it isn’t just a sit and get. People are looking at tools and resources they might use. They’re thinking about students that they might be working with. We are using students scenarios all throughout to make the learning real and applicable. Then finally, there will be a Padlet wall of resources for people to access those materials.

Silvia DeRuvo:

So that should be out sometime next summer, next fall. We’re working on getting that done. All right. We can go on to the questions, Charo.

Charo Basterra:

So Silvia, we have talk about the silver lining [inaudible 00:57:28] some positive outcomes that we didn’t expect. I’m going to ask you, in your experience, what have been some promising unexpected outcomes regarding English learners with disabilities and dual-identified students?

Silvia DeRuvo:

What I’ve heard most often cited is greater family engagement, where it often was school did its thing, and home did its thing. We now really are working together with families around the services provided under an IEP, the scaffolds and support that English learners need to even access that curriculum. So it has really developed a much stronger relationship with families, and I think for often students with disabilities and English learners, if there are more opportunities for individualized time, Ms. Char and I were talking about this as special educators and I think often as English learner teachers you, you’ve always done some small group instruction, and that’s been kind of the mode of how you deliver the services that you provide.

Silvia DeRuvo:

So this is really doing that just in a different platform. But we’re still very familiar with working one-on-one or one-on-two with students. In some ways, I see you don’t have the challenge of, what do I do with the other bodies in the room when I’m working with these two over here at this table, because you can have that virtual time with just those two and really get to focus on providing that targeted instruction because those other three maybe are not scheduled at that time. So I think there have been some pluses. People didn’t think it would be that way, but I think in some ways, we can provide more targeted time focused on specific students.

Charo Basterra:

Great. So at the same time that there is positive unexpected kind of outcomes, what are some of the greatest challenges that teachers face in providing instruction and distance learning?

Silvia DeRuvo:

Yeah. This list is a little longer, unfortunately. I mean, I think the greatest challenge that I’ve heard is attendance. How do we get students who have already struggled with learning to come to attend? I think that that has been very difficult, and I’ve heard other people mention it today, difficulties with technology. I live in a very rural area where we don’t have broadband internet, and what we do have is very expensive. So there are a lot of children out here in the country that did not have access to any type of virtual schooling for March until fall.

Silvia DeRuvo:

So I think that’s a real disadvantage is attendance. Then even for those who do, trying to get students to attend is difficult. I think there are definitely language barriers that exist that impede that regular communication needed to make assignments and expectations clear about the learning and then keeping students engaged. I loved Gallia’s his ideas on how to really keep her students involved and engaged. There are many distractions in the home. I mean, we deal with it in our own virtual settings here, cats and dogs and people in the background and things like that.

Silvia DeRuvo:

So for students who already have attentional issues, that makes it even harder. As a teacher, I could put my hand on somebody, kind of bring the calm to them, and we can’t do that in this setting. I think teachers are struggling with, how do I plan the instruction? How do I deliver the instruction? Then I think the social emotional piece, how do I create within this virtual environment really that camaraderie of belonging to a class and having my friends and having those important opportunities for English learners and students with disabilities to be able to converse and practice their language skills with their partners in a virtual setting.

Silvia DeRuvo:

I mean, it can be done. It definitely can. But I think it’s a skill that really has… You have to intentionally plan for that to happen. Then I think it is very challenging for families. I think it creates a stress on families who are working maybe from home and then are also trying to support their children in accessing their EL services, how do I access my special education services? How do I get my vision services? And trying to fit that all into a day when they’re trying to work already. So I think that that has been a stressor. But we can go to the next slide.

Charo Basterra:

So that’s so true, and these challenges that you have faced. So what are some of the resources that teachers and families can use to support distance and hybrid learning?

Silvia DeRuvo:

Well, I think my esteemed colleagues have all shared some incredible resources today. There are many out there. So I’m just sharing a little bit that’s there. I think there are many resources that have been developed to ensure that children can continue their education. There are resources to support students in continuing to develop their language skills and to meet their IEP goals. So every state has developed a list of resources. So if you go to your state department of education, somewhere on there, you’re going to find some COVID-19 resources. Many of the national technical assistance centers, like the National Center for Systemic Improvement, and in this case, the National Center for Intensive Intervention have really put together some great resources.

Silvia DeRuvo:

So this is just an example for teachers on, how do I provide that small group or one-on-one instruction? How do I keep a student’s attention and actually work on the skills that we’re working on. Then in addition, they have provided some lesson planning tools for teachers and then also resources for parents to really help them in that difficult process of, how do I support my students at home while they’re going to school, and I’m here as well, and kind of some do’s and don’ts around that as well? So there are resources out there, and we can go to the next slide.

Charo Basterra:

So what practices can teachers use to support distance learning for English learners with disabilities?

Silvia DeRuvo:

I mean, again, there are many resources out there. Actually, this is one that I just recently found, Considerations for Teachers Providing Distance Learning to Students with Disabilities written by a colleague. She really talks about very practical strategies for teachers working with the barriers that we mentioned before, student engagement, instructional planning, family engagement and then kind of that organization of the day, the executive function skills and then the social-emotional.

Silvia DeRuvo:

I think the point I think that she really makes is there are things that we did in the past that really do not work in a virtual setting and that they are just not beneficial trying to structure your classroom day like you did when you were all together in a classroom, that that really doesn’t work. So she really identifies those, but in addition to saying, “Well, don’t do those.” It’s transition to these practices, where you schedule that group. Maybe you had a kids in that particular group, that you schedule those students in either one on one or in dyads or triads, depending on the skills that you’re working on in that period of time for small chunks of time and really looking at what practices to avoid and then the practices that you should transition to.

Silvia DeRuvo:

There are more resources actually coming out of NCSI and the Cedar Center that are linked to the high leverage practices and special education that also really provide some very practical ideas along with links. What are some great programs that actually would help a student to be able to stay engaged and connected while there in that room for the 10 minutes. Sometimes it’s just the visual timer. Sometimes it’s a way that they monitor their own behavior, but just some ways to support them to have that time that they are in that virtual classroom be more effective and then really looking at using those high leverage practices with those students. So we can go to the next slide.

Silvia DeRuvo:

There’s a similar resource provided for teachers of English learners, where we really look carefully at what teachers can do for those students when they have them together for when we’re doing that synchronous learning, what can happen during the asynchronous learning time and then the no tech. What are some options for no tech? Because we know the reality of the situation is not everyone has the technology and really looking at, what is it that we could do in each of those three, in synchronous, asynchronous, and no tech to provide students with linguistics and content supports? How can the teacher ensure that there were routines that support socialization and still focused learning? And then providing those opportunities to engage in collaborative activities.

Silvia DeRuvo:

As much as that’s beneficial to English learners, that’s beneficial to students with disabilities and dual-identified learners. Then as Lisa mentioned earlier, engaging them in those multimodal tasks that support, really reinforce their language development skills using visuals. What are ways that you can support that again, synchronously, asynchronously, and no tech at all? So we can go to the next slide.

Silvia DeRuvo:

This is a webinar series that I think is very practical for teachers. So it’s another really put together by some of the top experts, not just WestEd people, but people across the country contributed to putting together this webinar series. We could go to the next slide, and we won’t spend a lot of time there because I know we’re a little short on time. But the topics are pretty vast, and you can see, depending on what age or what grade span you teach, what topic area that you are teaching, you can see there is probably a webinar that will help you in planning your instruction and delivering your instruction in a virtual environment to English learners.

Silvia DeRuvo:

So I wanted everyone to be aware of this series. It was just done over the spring and summer, and there may even be more as we continue on through the fall. So just wanted to share that briefly. Then we can go to the next slide.

Charo Basterra:

We would like to have an opportunity to open up to the audience, but let me ask you the last question is, how can we engage families to support distance learning for English learners with disabilities?

Silvia DeRuvo:

As I mentioned, I think the pandemic has been a real challenge for families. I think anyone out there who’s a parent and has kids running around them right now while they’re trying to attend this webinar definitely know that is a challenge. It includes, how do we provide that specially designed instruction so that there’s progress on IEP goals? It’s like, how do we juggle teletherapy and virtual meetings? Often parents are bearing the burden of instruction.

Silvia DeRuvo:

So NCSI, the National Center for Systemic Improvement was tasked by the Office of Special Education Programs at the US Department of Ed to identify resources to support parents and teachers and families in distance learning. So this is a resource. We called through like 345 different resources to identify the resources that families could use. My child has done their math lesson, and they’re still really struggling. Here are some ways to provide them that additional support in math. It’s still pretty long. So I mean, my own ventures in there, you sometimes have to scroll through pages. But I think if you’re a family trying to find a way to support your child in any of the content areas, this would be a great place to start.

Charo Basterra:

Well, thank you, Silvia. I think we’re going to move to opening this to the audience. Nikevia if you could let us know some of the questions. We have Silvia’s information here. You will have a copy of this. So Nikevia, could you let us know some of the questions so we can open for answers to the questions made during the presentation? Nikevia.

Nikevia Thomas:

Yes. Hello. [crosstalk 01:12:10]

Charo Basterra:

Hello. Hello, Nikevia.

Nikevia Thomas:

Yes. Can you hear me?

Charo Basterra:

Yes, we can hear you. So [crosstalk 01:12:21]-

Nikevia Thomas:

[crosstalk 01:12:21]-

Charo Basterra:

Yeah. You could share some of the questions [crosstalk 01:12:24].

Nikevia Thomas:

Certainly will. So a question that we have is, for so many reasons, this is an unusual school year. For some, it’s also their first year of teaching. What advice do you have for new teachers? I think we’ve answered that already.

Charo Basterra:

So whoever [inaudible 01:12:51] want to go first.

Gallia Kassiano:

Yeah. I could go first. So I think just to echo back talk a little bit about what I mentioned in my answer. I would say that still applies. So seek out help. Right now, everyone is learning. So make sure that you’re not trying to do everything on your own. If you feel like maybe you don’t have that support in your school, look outside. Twitter, it’s great for lots of ideas. I go on Twitter all the time. So seek out professional networks and don’t try to just do everything in isolation. Definitely, reach out.

Lisa Tabaku:

Yeah. I agree with… Oh, sorry.

Charo Basterra:

Go ahead, Lisa.

Lisa Tabaku:

I just totally second that. You’ve got to be willing to ask for help. I loved what Gallia was saying. We have to take care of each other and ourselves, and I have already seen schools where the staff is congealing really well, and they’re in it together, and it makes it so much easier and comforting for everyone. Unfortunately, I’ve seen some places where people are… Understandably, it’s so tough, but they’re kind of not in it together. That makes it super difficult. I don’t know how to fix that exactly, although I would imagine that leadership is key to guiding all staff and including those new teachers so they get the support they need.

Charo Basterra:

Thank you. Nikevia, I see so many amazing questions. I wish we could answer all of them at this moment. I think this could be a larger kind of session. But Nikevia, can we go to one of the other questions that were asked?

Nikevia Thomas:

Yeah. We certainly can. So this question might be for Gallia or Lisa. Are we addressing concrete solutions to help newcomers that can’t understand their classroom teachers. This particular attendee has a situation where the students talk to them full time in their native language.

Charo Basterra:

Okay. So do we want to start with Gallia, perhaps.

Gallia Kassiano:

Okay. Yeah. So actually I remember because I myself am bilingual. So because I speak Spanish, sometimes I had students who used to… They feel more comfortable speaking in their L1. So I definitely was unfamiliar with that situation. But I think making sure… It’s like what we learn about gradual release and making sure that there’s space for them to still use their L1, translanguaging and that concept of translanguaging. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, but that really, really helped me when I was faced with situations like that, making sure that they still have space to use their L1, but also letting them know, “Okay. Now I want you to try to use English.”

Gallia Kassiano:

So that was really helpful, making sure that you give them that space to still use the language they’re comfortable with, but also making sure that they know when they should use English.

Charo Basterra:

Thank you. Lisa or Silvia.

Lisa Tabaku:

Well, I was going to say, yeah, that’s really difficult if you are monolingual and do not speak the language of the student or even if the student is not Spanish speaking, is speaking a less frequently spoken language being able to communicate. There were going back to the slides that I showed on the [inaudible 01:17:21] methods and how we still have to think of every possible way to provide those kinds of methods, and we now have many digital support resources that can make it actually easier to do those things than without it and without having the ability to use the student’s first language.

Lisa Tabaku:

But I totally second Gallia on whenever we can. We’re using the student’s first language to make the content understandable and to bridge to English and verify and validate their identity too. That’s another aspect.

Charo Basterra:

Silvia would you like to watch something before we move to the next question?

Silvia DeRuvo:

No, I totally agree. I think supporting the students in their primary language as much as possible, letting their peers. If you don’t speak their language, but maybe their peer can translate… I guess I always go back to and having worked often with nonverbal students, communication happens without words. I think when a student feels like, I understand you, even though we may not speak the same words I understand your need that you build that rapport to where then that trust begins to build for them to begin to try to use their new language with you. So I think it’s building that strength of, I’m doing everything I can to understand you, even if we don’t use the same words.

BethAnn Berliner:

Before we move on to the next question, there are some people chiming in the chat asking for a little bit more elaboration on the idea of translanguaging. So can somebody just give sort of the elevator definition so that everybody’s on the same page?

Charo Basterra:

Great idea. Yeah. I saw that as well. Go ahead, Lisa.

Lisa Tabaku:

[inaudible 01:19:16] who is going to start? Is somebody else [crosstalk 01:19:20]-

BethAnn Berliner:

You’re smiling. I think you should go for it.

Lisa Tabaku:

Well, the thing is that there are different definitions on the part, and even in the field, it’s a little bit debated. But translanguaging is when we’re using the student’s first language in order for them to be able to access everything around them, access school, access the content. It validates who they are. Instead of stifling this rich resource that they have in their first language, we’re saying, “No. That’s a tool. You can use it. You don’t have to shut it off.” That also sends the messages that they’re valuable as people for the languages they speak and who they are. Right?

Lisa Tabaku:

So that means that that effect of our filter is lowered, and they’re also going to be more able, ready, willing to learn in school. Right? I work in dual language programs. So it takes on a little different… Operationally, it takes on something a little different there because we have to balance the separation of language to some extent so that the kids learn the two languages, see them as separate. So translanguaging is used fundamentally in the early proficiency levels. Then later, you’re using your sheltering techniques so that they really, really learn both languages.

Lisa Tabaku:

If you’re going to translanguage in, it’s in Spanish and not in English because in English, there’s just too much English in our environment. Anyway, you don’t want to be using that in your school, dual language program where the opportunity to use the target language is so reduced. No. But better linguistic awareness is also a part of translanguaging. So the value of showing similarities and differences between the two languages is so helpful for the students to understand literacy and build their language capacities in both languages. Anyway, I hope that made sense because-

Charo Basterra:

[crosstalk 01:21:52]-

Lisa Tabaku:

… it’s not easy concept.

Charo Basterra:

But it makes sense. Yes. So Nikevia, I think we have time for one more question from the audience. Could you please share one of the questions that has been repeated or that seems to be-

Nikevia Thomas:

Certainly. So going forward, what gives you the most hope about teaching English learners this year, all things considered, given how the pandemic has upended schooling as we know it?

Charo Basterra:

Maybe we could start with Silvia this time?

Silvia DeRuvo:

Yeah. I think being able to take the learning that the students are receiving in a virtual environment and then in their assignments, but teachers thinking more about, how can we make this applicable in the home environment. So taking that learning and making it real in an application that you couldn’t do in the classroom. Cooking is a big to-do if you’re going to do that or doing some something around even chores around the home. That didn’t usually fit into your school day. But for the student to take that lesson and now go apply it in making banana bread I think is just really powerful way to cement that learning and make it real. That really wasn’t an opportunity before.

Charo Basterra:

Gallia or Lisa.

Gallia Kassiano:

Yeah. I could go. So I’m just really excited about the possibilities, right? This is so new, and teachers are just creating and innovating. I think it’s forcing all of us to really rethink how we teach. I’m just excited to see the possibilities and the opportunities that come out of this period. Even though it is difficult, there’s going to be so much that comes out of this time.

Lisa Tabaku:

I want our teacher to have the last word because she said it beautifully. If our teacher who here has that hope and can see the promise that could come out of this, I have nothing more to say.

Charo Basterra:

Yeah. That’s a wonderful way of ending this session. Again, I’m so sorry we don’t have the time. Perhaps it will be another opportunity to continue discussing and having more time for questions. But first of all, I want to thank all the panelists and our moderator. I just want to let you know that we have a survey. It’s very important for us if you complete that survey. I think this is very exciting. I think that so many great ideas have been shared, and I can feel the passion that the audience has in terms of English learners [inaudible 01:24:46] have described them the questions that you have asked. So thank you again for participating in this panel, and have a wonderful afternoon. Thank you to all.

 

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