One form of this “instruction” takes form in the initiative Advocacy, Capacity, and Collaboration for English Learners (ACCEL) led by professors David Johnson and Lia Plakans. The professors provide “expert support to teachers in Iowa City, West Liberty, and Mashalltown—cities with large populations of English learners—in the form of professional development, classroom coaching, and regular feedback.”
This article, written by Lynn Anderson Davy and published by the University of Iowa, discusses the “large increase in English learners in recent years…[with] school-aged children in Iowa collectively speak more than 200 languages…[with] the number of school children who are non-native English speakers [increasing by] more than 400 percent,” which is in conflict with the prevalent issue of a lack of properly-trained bilingual educators. A nationwide phenomenon, the University of Iowa is attempting to quell any further disconnect between English learners and bilingual educators by offering endorsements in English as a second language, with the hope of adding “a specialization in dual-language teaching,” due to a developing parent interest in dual language education.
The University of Iowa, via ACCEL, hosts a number of conferences which local teachers and professors attend. Most recently, in July 2018 “20 teachers and administrators from West Liberty and Marshalltown spent long days learning new ways to approach dual-language teaching,” including the utilization of “Spanglish.” According to Eric Johnson, an associate professor of bilingual and ESL education at Washington State University, “Language acquisition happens in the classroom, that’s for sure. But it also happens outside of the classroom… It’s important to look at how students use language in other areas of their lives and apply it to language in the classroom. For example, there is cooking language and there is science language. How do those languages overlap?”
Tackling the intricacies of teaching English learners today, the article continues to describe how teachers and professors learn from each other and bring their newfound knowledge to a bilingual classroom. An inspiring article, we hope that TWIN-CS members will enjoy reading about the growing demand of bilingual educators!
-Melissa Hoppie, Graduate Student Researcher
-Photo courtesy of http://www.elliottrealtygroup.com/iowa-city