Building the WIDA Network
International educators are pleased to learn that WIDA is more than a test, and as we head into the busy fall conference season, it’s exciting to see the impact WIDA continues to have in international schools. We have heard from many international schools that using WIDA resources helps transform the conversation by helping educators discover what their multilingual learners can do. One administrator recently shared that she saw a significant culture shift when they "went beyond just using WIDA data and started using the WIDA philosophy" in their school. We continue to build on this asset-based approach in our research and development.
As a university-based research center, WIDA continues to investigate new ways language is used in academic contexts and create innovative resources to serve teachers of multilingual learners. Looking globally, international schools provide valuable opportunities to study how mobility is impacting education and how we can help students navigate transnational spaces. As UW-Madison professor Margaret Hawkins observed, “In our 21st century world, as scholars from virtually all disciplines recognize, 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.” As we widen our research lens to consider international perspectives, we are learning about school-wide systems that help multilingual learners develop complex linguistic repertoires to navigate these transnational contact zones. We are fortunate to include 400 partner schools as members of the WIDA global network, and look forward to engaging in this work together with you.
Jon Nordmeyer, International Programs Director