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Helaine Marshall - 50th Anniversary NYS TESOL Conference Presenter (2020)
10/30/2020



We asked NYS TESOL 2020 presenters to answer a few questions about the unique times we are living in. Here is what Helaine shared.

In what ways does your work support, celebrate, and validate multilingual learners’ cultural, racial, and linguistic assets?
The Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm® or MALP® supports some of our most vulnerable students by blending the learning paradigms from their cultures with the learning paradigm most common in our classrooms here in the U.S. We accomplish this by creating fertile spaces for learning with the 4 E’s: Equity, Enrichment, Engagement, and Empowerment. MALP builds equity because it is mutually adaptive and culturally sustaining. It encourages motivation because MALP is project-based to provide an enriching learning experience. MALP fosters active participation by students who often stay on the sidelines by engaging them in meaningful, targeted academic ways of thinking with culturally familiar content, full use of their multilingual repertoire, and culturally responsive learning activities. Finally, students feel empowered by the presence of the first three E’s and ultimately take ownership of their learning.

What advice would you give to teachers of multilingual learners to face and advocate for their students and families during COVID-19 and systemic racism?
Most of our students come from collectivistic societies where people look after each other by forming a web of relationships and understanding that when any one part of the web is disrupted or experiences a shift, it affects the entire community. The U.S. can learn from this world view, and perhaps it is our immigrant and refugee families who have the key to ultimately defeating this virus that plagues us. By contributing their expertise in shared responsibility and how to cultivate it, they can demonstrate both their value to our society in our time of need and their true dedication to the safety and well-being of the community they now call their home. What’s better than that?

What impact do you think COVID-19 and racial justice movements will have on TESOL Education?
Having been part of this field for nearly 50 years (YIKES!), I have seen the ebb and flow of immigrant, refugee, and international student populations, both in the U.S. and globally. I have never seen these migration patterns being targeted so transparently and used as a cudgel by our own governmental institutions as is our current experience. The combined dangers of fear and ignorance have unfortunately found breeding grounds where we never expected them to and, as a result, our students and their families, as well as our own livelihoods, are under attack. That said, taking the longer view over time, I do not think that this is the endpoint. TESOL, and all language teaching, will ultimately thrive because people want to communicate and form relationships across linguistic and cultural boundaries, and once they do, the differences between them are recognized as superficial and potentially divisive. Cliff notes version: Short-run – terrible impact; Long-run – little impact.

Helaine Marshall is a professor of education and director of language education programs at LIU Hudson, NY, USA. She teaches graduate-level courses in linguistics and multicultural education in face-to-face, blended, and synchronous online formats. Her research interests include: culturally responsive teaching, SLIFE (students with limited or interrupted formal education), nontraditional teaching of grammar, and instructional technology, especially flipped learning.