Looking back, looking ahead
There is a moment when practicing a new yoga pose that can feel both precarious and full of potential. Stretching both arms in opposite directions and pivoting the back foot to root our foundation, the body becomes attenuated, almost two-dimensional, as the fingertips extend toward distant points behind and ahead. A tentative inhale is followed by a gradual exhale, and the body settles into a sense of equilibrium where length is balanced with strength.
In a recent workshop I had the chance to join 80 teachers experiencing this dynamic tension as we leaned into yoga as a metaphor for teaching and used somatic wisdom to inquire into teaching multilingual learners. In wobbly warrior poses, we explored the enigmatic focus question: is assessment concerned with looking back or looking ahead? As we teetered, stretched, then exhaled together, we shared insights and new perspectives on collaborating to better serve all students.
At WIDA, we are at a similar juncture in the growth of our international program. As announced last month, we are leaning into a new direction, full of possibility and growth. As we look back on what we have learned over our 10 years serving international educators, we exhale and stretch toward a vision for the future. During the pandemic, we leveraged innovation across a global community of practice and identified shared problems of practice to research together. We are excited about the transformative potential for growth in the next 10 years, as we build a global research-practice partnership in the new Multilingual Learning Research Center at UW-Madison.
We look forward to learning together with you,
Jon Nordmeyer, WIDA International Programs director