Beijing to Buenos Aires
Each year, educators from around the world gather at WIDA professional learning to collaborate, innovate and learn about new research and resources from WIDA. Five years ago, the WIDA Symposium was established as a truly global forum for educators within the WIDA network to use principles of improvement science to collectively inquire into shared problems of practice. What are your admissions procedures? How do you involve new multilingual families? How can we balance translanguaging with an English immersion environment?
In the past month, educators from Beijing to Buenos Aires rolled up their sleeves and dug into professional literature and school-wide activity systems to share their passion, curiosity and expertise. In addition to conversations within each cohort, teachers connected with Symposium participants from previous years to learn from each other. Teachers shared presentations from in-house workshops, home language admissions tools and school improvement plans. In a unique accomplishment, Maja Flom, EAL Coordinator from Colegio Roosevelt in Lima Peru, celebrated her fifth WIDA Symposium. A passionate advocate who has worked with WIDA schools in Minnesota, China and now Peru, Maja generously shared her expertise.
Finally, teachers in the global WIDA network are also directly connected to world-class scholars and researchers at the School of Education of the University of Wisconsin. At the Symposia, UW professor of Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Gail Prasad, facilitated a virtual discussion on multilingualism. Teachers had the chance to learn about Gail’s research on developing multilingual awareness.
“The weekend was so helpful because we had the chance to discuss real problems and issues from our school after learning what others are doing at their schools.” -2019 Symposium participant.
Meaningful collaborative inquiry, a shared commitment to build on the assets of multilingual learners, research at the intersection of language and content learning: these are foundations of the WIDA International School Consortium.