Absolutely! As educators, we are in a crucial position to recognize student’s assets and steer them to success. Bilingual research is showing us how important it is to recognize and celebrate multilingualism not only for English language learners but for all students. Any educator can assist students in taking advantage of these opportunities to learn either their home language or another language whether at home, school, or in afternoon or weekend school settings. Many students lack awareness that these programs even exist. If you’re interacting with students or parents of students who are ELL, please help them sign up to be tested for credits that may make the difference in graduating on time. The effects will also be felt in classrooms at large; when we recognize diversity of culture and experience, we are creating a richer experience for students of all backgrounds.
SPEAK is about celebrating bilingualism in our schools and community at large, so it’s relevant for all of us who come into contact with immigrant families or students of diverse backgrounds. For many years, educators typically felt home life and home language needed to be separate; we now understand the science behind the benefits of a home language, and we must actively encourage home language maintenance if we want bilingual students to truly succeed.