Top 5 Insights from the Summer Biliteracy Collaborative

by Lillian Ardell, Founder of Language Matters

This summer, I had the distinct pleasure of convening 6 high quality, equity-minded bilingual educators from across the globe. Together, we dove deep into language-centered methods of instruction and assessment, while laughing, crying, and forging deep connections. As I reviewed my notes from the Summer Biliteracy Collaborative, here were the top 5 insights that emerged. Do any of these points resonate with your experience working with MLLs?

  1. Finding your squad of equity-minded teachers rules! That’s because building human connections releases all those good endorphins, and who doesn’t love that?
  2. When bilingual teachers learn how common metaphors appear in the content areas (e.g. The Big Bang Theory, the Underground Railroad), they can help their bilingual learners understand why those terms are not WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).
  3. Teachers just want to feel confident in the close reading methods they use, and to achieve that, they need to develop competence with 21st century grammar-based conversations anchored in meaning.
  4. Our histories as bilingual humans MATTER! If we aren’t given opportunities to reckon with our memories of becoming bilingual in a deeply linguistically prejudiced society, then the most human part of us will remain shrouded in shame and feelings of non-belonging.
  5. The more conversations teachers can have where they’re invited to celebrate their bilingual advantages, the more healing can occur. Since we are facing a massive teaching shortage in language education, it’s our moral imperative to recruit, empower, and celebrate our bilingualism in US contexts of teaching!!