From Wisconsin to the World
As we head into the busy fall conference season, it’s exciting to see the impact WIDA continues to have in independent schools around the world. It is gratifying to visit WIDA member schools and hear how our collaboration has helped transform the conversation by helping educators discover what their multilingual learners can do.
WIDA is part of the globally-recognized School of Education at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where we co-design innovative resources, conduct forward-thinking research and collaborate with other scholars on campus. One of the deepest traditions surrounding the university is the Wisconsin Idea: the principle that education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom. For more than a century, the Wisconsin Idea has become the guiding philosophy of university outreach efforts, Wisconsin and throughout the world. WIDA embodies the Wisconsin Idea by building on the work we do in the US WIDA consortium of 41 states and the WIDA International School Consortium at 450 schools across 115 countries.
In particular, we continue to investigate new ways language is used in academic contexts and use this research to create innovative resources to serve teachers of multilingual learners. International schools provide valuable opportunities to study how mobility impacts education and how we can help students navigate transnational spaces. UW-Madison professor Margaret Hawkins observed:
In our 21st century world… the rapid flow of people, ideas, knowledge and resources across national and international borders results in ever-shifting and expanding ‘contact zones,’ where languages, literacies, communities and identities are continuously and fluidly created, defined and redefined.
WIDA continues to redefine its identity, and as we widen our research lens to consider international perspectives, we are learning about school-wide systems that help multilingual learners develop and use complex linguistic repertoires. We are fortunate to include our partner schools as members of the WIDA global network, and look forward to engaging in this work together with you. In this newsletter, we are excited to share new WIDA resources and opportunities for reciprocal learning around the world.
Jon Nordmeyer, Director