A Comprehensive Approach to Bilingual Education
This summer, the team at Kempton Literacy Academy welcomed Dr. José Medina to lead them in training for the coming school year. Using the latest research, Dr. Medina led the team through two days of lesson planning and practical modeling of what the C6 Biliteracy Instructional Framework looks like in the classroom.
As someone who literally co-wrote the book on Biliteracy and Bilingual education, he came away impressed and inspired by the Kempton team’s passion and professionalism.
“I left Kempton Literacy Academy so inspired. And the reason that I left so inspired is that the dual language teachers in that community were willing to be critically self-reflective and change, not just mindset, but they were like, ‘Oh my, this is what we’ve been missing.’ And so I would say to the families of Kempton Literacy Academy, your children are in good hands.”
The Difference To This Approach
According to Dr. Medina, bilingual education is too often viewed in two different, limited ways. In one way it is seen as “a way to get our emergent bilingual and multilingual students to transition to English, but dual language is not about transitioning kids to anything because they don’t have anything that’s wrong with them.”
The other limited view is that bilingual education is merely “an enrichment program, usually for white middle-income families. But bilingualism and biliteracy are great for everyone.” The missing piece, says Dr. Medina, is socio-cultural competence and critical consciousness.
Kempton’s principal, Janet Josa, explains one outcome of this third component in the lives of students. ”Sociocultural competence creates awareness of multiple cultures and languages and an appreciation for our differences. If we tap into those differences, that’s what makes our community stronger.” This third component of dual language is the most essential; without it, a dual language program will not thrive.
State of the Art Training
The training received by the team at Kempton is called the C6 Biliteracy Instructional Framework. Teachers and leaders use the latest edition of the book, The Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education, which is, according to Dr. Medina, “the resource that guides dual language programming throughout the United States and internationally.” For Kempton, The Guiding Principles is their North Star for pedagogy, practices, and latest research as they solidify the structure and improve each strand of their Dual Language Immersion Academy.
Combining the book and the framework, teachers can see “what it looks like for them as they are lesson planning and being aligned with the research. That’s what the C6 Biliteracy Instructional Framework does.
“It’s the first time,” continues Dr. Medina, “that dual language teachers have actually had something specifically conceptualized for dual language programs, which embraces all of the latest research, and also lesson planning through an equity and social justice lens.
“And so during the two days [of training] we started with content, language, and culture learning targets, and then teachers and staff planned for cross-linguistic connections all the way through assessments. So by the time we finished the two days they had a full lesson that they would be facilitating alongside the students they serve within the first two weeks of school.”
To ensure that Kempton’s team receives ongoing support, Dr. Medina will be conducting ongoing training and coaching to ensure that teachers and administrative staff alike are growing in their skills and abilities. Says Dr. Medina, “I’m there as a co-partner so that the team can continue to tweak the things that they’ve been doing to be more fully aligned with the research recommendations.”
Principal Josa is committed to serving the children, families, and the staff by fostering from within an appreciation for the cultures, the languages, and the people that make up Kempton Literacy Academy. “With the guidance of LMSV leadership, Dr. José Medina, and Izela Jacobo (SDCOE), I am eager to move forward with our united team, unidosadelante, in a vision for excellence in student achievement and building bridges for biliteracy. “