Connecting and supporting educators, virtually

School-aged children learning English shouldn’t have to face the difficult, disorienting process used in schools today.

Things can and must get better.

Ryan Pontier
Ryan Pontier

Over the last several months, Ryan Pontier, an assistant professor of TESOL and language education in the School of Education and Human Development, has been developing an inaugural conference to help emerging Hispanic-serving school districts improve their practices.

“We have the privilege of working at the premier Hispanic-Serving Institution in the U.S.,” Pontier said. “We want to co-create and sustain meaningful and effective support for educating Hispanic/Latinx students, many of whom are emergent bilinguals.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic is delaying the conference until June 2021, Pontier recently hosted a webinar with education consultant Andrea DeCapua focused on the intercultural communication framework. The framework calls for schools and teachers to maintain and build relationships, identify priorities, make the unfamiliar familiar and to put it into practice. The recording is available to watch here.

Four additional webinars will be hosted from August 2020 – April 2021. Topics will include trauma-informed care, the flipped classroom, supporting emergent bilinguals outside of school and culturally responsive teaching.

Pontier’s inaugural conference will be interactive. Instead of imposing a solution on an assumed problem, a robust group of researchers, students, teachers, parents and administrators from emerging Hispanic-serving school districts will share their everyday strengths and challenges.

The goal is to co-create plans for research that will support educators in teaching and empowering Hispanic/Latinx students.

“We hope they feel they are not alone and there are people and places to turn to for support,” Pontier said.

Details for upcoming webinars, the conference and English learner resources for COVID-19 can be found here.

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