International Professional Learning Reflections: November 2019

In October we started our new season of international professional learning with WIDA Institutes in Bangkok and Rome. Our new international facilitator, Christina Nelson, knows this is going to be a special year for her as she has the chance to engage with educators around the globe, sharing a commitment to equitable education for our multilingual students by engaging in professional development wholeheartedly.

Christina shared a short reflection on the first to Institutes of this year,

WIDA is more than a test, and this message was consistently reinforced by the diverse crowds that attended the Institutes in Bangkok and Rome. Participants included psychologists, principals, EAL specialists, classroom and content teachers, world language teachers, speech therapists, coordinators, literacy coaches and special education teachers. All of these educators came eager to learn how we can share a common language to discuss our multilingual students and integrate WIDA tools into our different roles within a school.

 At the end of the first day there were a seemingly overwhelming number of questions! For participants, the WIDA Institute is a balance of taking in a wealth of new information and ideas while feeling inspired to make sustainable changes by reframing what is already happening in our schools. Since all schools are unique, many participants end the first day of the WIDA Institute with specific questions on how this could look in their specific context.

Over the course of the next three days, we had all of these questions swimming around our minds as we highlighted the WIDA Can Do Philosophy, unpacked the WIDA Standards, and the Can Do Descriptors to help scaffold learning.  We also examined ways to implement effective collaboration between teaching partners and teaching teams. The foundational research that guides WIDA’s framework is woven throughout. By the time we reached the final day, Institute participants were able to answer several questions, but our curiosity didn’t stop there. New questions focused on how each participant could take the information and ideas acquired back to their schools to make changes at the classroom level, as well as through aligning school-wide systems. I look forward to meeting more committed international educators around the world and fortifying our WIDA International School Consortium community.

Feedback from participants themselves reinforced the feeling of empowerment as teachers shifted their conversations and thoughts to what students Can Do.  In post institute surveys, over 90% of the people who responded shared their plans to immediately return to school with new ideas and plans for implementing changes, both small and large, to create learning environments with a focus on success for all students, especially multilingual learners.

  • Are you interested in starting your journey with WIDA resources and assessments?  Visit our Institutes page to learn more, see the list of current dates and locations, or register for upcoming events.
  • For educators ready to exam school-wide policies and practices, the WIDA Symposium builds on what is learned at the Institute and provides the opportunity for innovation and reciprocal learning while partaking in the newest research at WIDA. Visit the Symposia page to learn more, or register for upcoming events near you.