Multilingual learners enrich our learning and lives

April 10, 2024

We asked educators attending the 2023 WIDA Annual Conference how multilingual learners enrich their classroom. Their faces lit up as they spoke about MLs and all they have to offer. Watch this video and/or continue reading.


Here’s some of what they said, grouped into the themes that emerged:

MLs bring and share their diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Multilingual learners and dual language learners, enrich our classrooms in Wisconsin by building from their language and culture. They provide diversity and a plethora of backgrounds, and they build a stronger school community.

Multilingual learners bring so much into the classroom. They bring background and diversity. As English language teachers or teachers of students learning English, you’re able to develop different relationships with them over years. A classroom teacher may have to say goodbye at the end of the year, but an EL teacher gets to see them grow over multiple years and they really do become a part of you as a teacher.

Multilingual learners enrich all spaces by bringing their second language, third language, their fifth, sixth, seventh language and any culture they come in with to remind us that there are so many ways of seeing the world. They show us that there are so many ways of approaching problems and creating collaborative solutions.

They enrich it in so many ways. One is the different experiences that they bring to the table, the stories of their journeys either here or navigating the schools in the United States or even across the district.

Our multilingual learners are amazing. They have such great background knowledge; they have their own experiences. They bring such rich culture. Truly, all learners are language learners, so all your students--doesn't matter if they are a native English speaker or a multilingual speaker--your students are learning language every day. They all have different backgrounds. Your kids are amazing.

MLs have a passion to succeed.

They bring a lot of very diverse perspectives and a strong desire to learn and a passion for wanting to succeed for themselves and for their families.

In my district, the multilingual learners just bring such a deep appreciation for education and such respect for their teachers and for their classmates. They just have such a desire to learn.

MLs bring a unique perspective.

Oh my gosh, I love them. They bring so much diversity to the discussion and perspective that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. They have experiences that I’ve never had. I work with kindergarteners through 12th grade. Especially high school students, they bring in words, ideas and concepts. The way they engage with a math problem or the way they see the world is different than how I would or maybe some other students would. They bring a richness to the classroom.

Multilingual learners enrich the classroom, enrich the school, enrich the district in so many incredible ways. They bring other experiences, other languages, other points of view, other ways of looking at the world, in so many ways. I think the more that we take advantage of that opportunity as a school, as a teacher, as a community, the better we all are.

Multilingual learners enrich my school because they provide a unique perspective that you otherwise wouldn’t get in a monolingual society. I think it’s so great to be able to hear how things happen in other places and how language is part of that. We can see how we’re connected through different languages and different ideas. It makes the whole world a richer place.

Their cultural perspective! There are so many values that they add to the classroom with their views and their perceptions. I have seven languages and nine countries in my classroom of 15 students. And those students’ perspectives on politics, things happening in the country, or how they’ve learned a subject, are valuable. It’s amazing to see the different perspectives. And it really does give a global worldview to my students.

MLs teach all of us and help us grow.

They bring so much to our classroom—both knowledge and experience. They may not know it in English, yet, right? But they have so much to share and so much to give. I love the opportunities to let them share that knowledge. Always evaluate what they bring to the table. It’s the power of “yet.” It’s that Can Do Philosophy! They can do it.

Multilingualism is such an asset. We’ve known that for a long time as educators, but to be able to see that in the building at a district level has been so meaningful for our teachers, families and community. We now have a seal of biliteracy in our district, which is exciting. Anything that we can do to promote multilingualism and continue to enrich the lives of all our students is a huge win.

They bring their stories. They make our community a better place to be because they bring their history and their culture, and they make us a more well-rounded state and country. They make us a better place.

They enrich our lives.

Sometimes people can’t leave their town, state or country, but multilingual learners bring the world to them. It’s a way to connect with other parts of the world through other people’s experiences.

MLs add so much personality! I feel so fortunate to have such a diverse population of students. I have grown so much as an educator because they have given me the ability to grow. I love their personalities, their laughs. Enriching myself in their cultural identity makes me feel like a part of their culture. I’m part of their family, too. I couldn’t ask for anything better.

I’m a multilingual teacher so I work with multilingual learners all the time. They come into classrooms and tell other students about many languages and many cultures that surround us. I love my multilingual learners because I learn a lot from them. I learn about their cultures, their favorite foods, about their favorite books, and that helps me become a better person.

I was originally an English language arts teacher and then left English teaching to be an aide for ML students and realized that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I would say they don’t just enrich my classroom; they enrich my life.

Thank you to all the educators who provided their excellent advice. Keep an eye out for the Conversations with Educators station at the 2024 WIDA Annual Conference!

Check out this other article, Celebrating bi/multilingualism among our learners.


Share this story      

teacher posing in hallway

Nominate an Educator

WIDA's Featured Educator is a monthly feature article that highlights classroom, district, or state-level educators who are making a difference in the lives of multilingual learners. Nominate an outstanding colleague today!

Submit a Nomination