The report details how Dual Language Learners (DLLs) in superdiverse settings (i.e. local, state, and national levels), exemplify the importance of recognizing diversity beyond a standard dual-language program. For example, “considerable diversity can also be seen within DLL subgroups. Black immigrant parents of DLLs come from a wide variety of African and Caribbean countries and speak many different languages, with important implications for programs that serve the Black child population as well as those that target DLLs.” There is risk in oversimplifying who DLLs are. Language instruction programs designed to serve DLLs may assume that children from Mexico and Central America speak Spanish, when in fact these children may only speak indigenous languages.
Thus, the importance of recognizing diversity within diversity in educational settings (consequently named superdiversity) becomes apparent. The document provides applicable solutions to this matter of educating superdiverse students for both policymakers and educators:
- improve the collection of data on young DLLs to ensure their learning strengths and needs are visible to state policymakers and program administrators;
- develop assessment instruments and methods that can accurately measure the development of children with different home languages; and
- implement family engagement strategies and cultivate a workforce with the linguistic and cultural skills to work effectively with DLLs’ families.
Effective DLBE leaders are knowledgeable about bilingualism and biliteracy and about their school’s emergent bilingual population. They set a clear vision for the success of all students and recognize the critical importance of close school-parent-community partnerships. Effective leaders also focus on the power of distributed leadership with social justice as a central goal.
Dr. Menken highlights that, while effective leaders are indispensable, the network of administrators, teacher leaders, family are just as important to the success of DLBE programs. TWIN-CS educators are part a network of like-minded individuals who share in the aspiration to better the experiences of DLLs. Always striving toward progress, members of TWIN-CS connect on a bi-monthly basis in order to recognize and discuss opportunities to improve the experiences of DLLs. As members of a community who wish to facilitate a multicultural, multilingual education for all students, we must continue to discuss ways to improve how we approach dual language learning.
These two published works detail concrete solutions to common issues found in dual language programs. Here at TWIN-CS, we hope to share more applicable research on this blog as dual language programs can always be enriched with knowledgeable teachers and staff!
-Melissa Hoppie, Graduate Student Researcher