Distance Teaching and Learning

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Supporting multilingual learners during COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, WIDA remains committed to supporting educators, multilingual learners and their families. This webpage features learning opportunities from WIDA Professional Learning and a list of resources that can aide educators in providing remote instruction to multilingual learners.

Visit the COVID-19 Updates page to learn about WIDA's response to the pandemic and read the latest updates.

“As we prepare our classrooms to welcome students, whether in a school building or virtually, or a hybrid model, we worry about reconnecting with students we have known from last year and finding, identifying and welcoming new students who might need language assistance in the coming school year.”

– Dr. Diep Nguyen, WIDA director of professional learning

Micro-Offerings from WIDA Professional Learning

To help navigate the unique challenges of teaching during the pandemic, WIDA has a new series of micro-offerings. The 30-45 minute courses are open to anyone and are designed for educators who work with multilingual children and youth across a variety of settings.  

View the Course Series

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What's New
WIDA Resources
  • In the WIDA eSummit panel discussion Teaching Multilingual Learners During Extraordinary Times: WIDA Fellows’ Success Stories, ten WIDA educators share their challenges and successes of teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. All eSummit webinar recordings, including this panel discussion, are available to domestic WIDA Consortium members in the WIDA Secure Portal (password required).
  • Teaching Online: Making the Most of Multilingualism, co-authored by Jon Nordmeyer and Esther Bettney of the WIDA International program discusses the unique perspective that multilingual middle schoolers bring to remote learning and why all teachers should be aware of the role language plays in online and hybrid schools.
  • Five Things We Can Do to Support Multilingual Students Online,” co-authored by Esther Bettney of the WIDA International School Consortium, offers an asset-based collection of high leverage practices for teaching multilingual learners online.
  • The WIDA Focus Bulletin Educación en el mundo actual: Equity in bilingual settings offers strategies for advancing equity in bilingual settings during the mundo actual of COVID-19. The importance of valuing multilingual learners’ linguistic and cultural diversity, using translanguaging, and leveraging technological resources are emphasized. This Focus Bulletin is available in Spanish.
  • The blog post, "Reflecting and Relearning our Craft: Supporting Multilingual Learners Online," co-authored by Esther Bettney of the WIDA International School Consortium, offers strategies to effectively support multilingual students while learning remotely.

  • WIDA Español provides tips and resources for administrators and teachers to help coordinate communication and instruction with students and families this school year. Read "This school year, communication with students and families is crucial" in English or Spanish.

  • Samuel Aguirre, director of WIDA Español, answers questions about English learners and distance learning.

  • The WIDA Focus Bulletin Collaboration: Working Together to Serve Multilingual Learners, co-authored by WIDA International Programs Director Jon Nordmeyer and Andrea Honigsfeld of Molloy College, emphasizes the many benefits of collaboration as well as how WIDA resources can be used to support teachers working together. This publication also addresses teaching and learning from home and the virtual collaboration cycle.
  • As educators begin to plan lessons and unpack these last few months in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year, WIDA Español experts say that taking into account students’ home and community experiences and linguistic diversity is key. Read the article in English and Spanish.
  • WIDA accommodations and accessibility experts share tips and information that aim to help multilingual students with disabilities find success in the virtual classroom.
  • To help educators promote the importance of home language with the students and families they serve, WIDA has developed a visual resource in English, Spanish, Arabic and Simplified Chinese.
  • To support families with young children at home, WIDA Early Years is happy to share free, downloadable activity booklets, in English, Spanish, Arabic and Simplified Chinese that are appropriate for young children ages 2-7 years.
  • WIDA Wallpaper for your computer, tablet or smartphone is available for download from the WIDA Resource Library in English or Spanish to brighten the virtual teaching and learning environment.

  • The WIDA Focus Bulletin, Technology in the Classroom provides educators with support as they think critically about the ways different sorts of media and tech tools can help facilitate language development in their contexts.

Tips for Parents and Families

Director of WIDA Early Years Lorena Mancilla provides parents and guardians with guidance on working at home with a young child in the following articles:

The Office of Educational Technology offers a Parent and Family Digital Learning Guide that informs parents and caregivers as they monitor access and uses technology for learning. This guide is available in English and Spanish.

Resources for State and School Leaders
Educator Connection and Collaboration
WIDA Staff Recommended Resources
Mental Health and Staying Well

WIDA has compiled the resources on this page for your review. Schools, districts and states are responsible for making choices about appropriate and applicable technologies and products.