From Silos to Systems
How do we view difference in our classrooms? Recognizing that no two students are alike helps schools to shift from viewing diversity as a problem to see it as a resource. Whether considering neurodiversity or linguistic diversity, when we improve our instruction to meet the needs of all learners, we become better teachers.
This past month, over 90 educators joined WIDA and Next Frontier Inclusion (NFI) in Hong Kong for Silos to Systems, a collaborative conversation. Teams composed of international school leaders, EAL specialists, learning support teachers and classroom teachers inquired together into how schools can better serve multilingual students with learning disabilities. Over three days, these educators engaged with The Wrong Question, a joint WIDA/NFI publication which explores the intersection between EAL and Learning Support:
As professionals with specialized areas of expertise, we can inadvertently slip into perceiving children through the lens of our individual professional perspectives if we are not careful. We may construct these perceptions based less on students’ actual learning profiles than on our own frame of reference and the structural constraints of our schools. (p. 9)
Educators explored case studies, identified common challenges and co-created solutions for building a more systemic approach to serving diverse school communities, while keeping student learning at the center.
As global thought leaders, both NFI and WIDA support networks of international schools committed to the asset-based inclusion of all learners within intentional learning ecosystems. Looking ahead to next school year, WIDA and NFI will continue to collaborate—to help schools build on the assets of both teachers and students.