2 Easy Ways Multilingual Learners Can Shine at Your School

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2 Easy Ways Multilingual Learners Can Shine at Your School

Students at Saugerties Senior High School proudly display flags from their home countries.

Photo by: Adile Jones

Article written by Sarah Elia, past president of NYS TESOL

As our country continues to grow more diverse and as our global economy becomes more interconnected, we must provide opportunities for all students to be multilingual.” -Dr. Miguel Cordona, U.S. Secretary of Education

Multilingualism is becoming an increasingly valued skill in our society. As educators, it is so important to encourage our students to develop their multilingual skills. Here are two easy ways that this can be implemented.

Public Bilingual Presentations
Invite students to present bilingually to the school community. Welcome them to bilingually discuss the culture(s) of their home country, share a recent project that they did for a class, or describe their favorite hobby. If they struggle with preparing a full presentation, they can simply share photos from their country and describe them. The ENL, bilingual, or World Language teacher can support them through the presentation as needed.

Welcome MLs to participate in morning and afternoon announcements. This can be done completely in a language other than English or bilingually. Even if a student is the only representative of their language in the school, invite them to participate so they feel that their language is valued. Challenge a native speaker of English to give the morning announcements in their second language.

Multilingualism should also be encouraged in every classroom. Welcome students to give bilingual class presentations in all subject areas including science, math, history, and even ELA. Public opportunities to highlight the linguistic skills of MLs provide countless benefits. Most importantly, they are a symbol of multilingual acceptance and celebration. Students will carry these skills with them for the rest of their lives.

Author's Biography
Sarah Elia is a past president of NYS TESOL. She teaches at Saugerties Central School District, located 100 miles north of New York City.

*Special thanks to the Business Department and World Language Department at Saugerties High School for the special opportunities they provide MLs to promote their linguistic skills.
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