Looking Back, Looking Ahead
WIDA recently connected with international educators at the ELMLE, ELLSA and AAIE annual conferences, providing a chance to both look back and look ahead. We heard from educators around the world who shared gratitude for how WIDA has impacted teaching and learning at their schools. In the small world that is international education, conferences are more like family reunions, providing the chance to meet old friends and reconnect with former colleagues. Tim Boals, WIDA Founder and Director, met many international educators at AAIE in San Francisco, including many who had started working with WIDA in the U.S. before becoming global educators. The seeds that Tim planted 15 years ago have grown to include not only 39 states and the DoDEA, but also 425 international schools in 100 different countries. A commitment to both excellence and equity for multilingual learners continues to guide WIDA in serving educators serving around the world.
Looking ahead, in our post-colonial and super-diverse yet increasingly polarized world, WIDA is developing new resources, building new partnerships, and engaging in new research to ensure we are part of the solution, rather than the problem. We have heard from education leaders and influencers who appreciate our commitment to multilingualism and social justice. As we work with member schools in our international network, we engage in difficult conversations about not only language, but also identity, privilege and ideology. Twenty years ago in Courage to Teach, Parker Palmer reflected that “we teach who we are.” In today’s globalized and interconnected world, inquiring into one’s own identity and intersections is an important step towards greater empathy and equity in the classroom. As we consider how inclusive programs, increased accessibility, and translingual practices create a sense of possibility in international schools, we find ourselves eager to collaborate with educators, regional associations and organizational partners to build future schools with a global mindset, where all students belong.