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Developing Educator Expertise to Work with Adolescent English Learners
Module 2 – The Language We Use to Talk about English Learners and Our Work: A Focus on the Conversation with Guadalupe Valdés

By Aída Walqui

OVERVIEW    |    INTRODUCTION    |    PART 1    |     PART 2    |    PART 3    |     PART 4    |    REFERENCES

Introduction: Paying attention to the language that shapes our vision and actions


In this module, we explore how we often, without intention, use language that may convey ideas and promote actions that are detrimental to our students. Language is action. As we talk, we act on the world and on people. We construct identities and we build, or destroy, relationships. The way we talk with and about our students contributes to the shaping of their lives, either positively or negatively.


To gain awareness of our language use and its impact, this module invites you to explore a number of situations that are pivotal to our role of providing English Learners in U.S. schools with high-quality opportunities to learn, grow civically, and be collaborative actors in the shaping of an increasingly more dialogic and democratic society.


On July 14, 2020, Aída Walqui had a conversation with Stanford University professor Guadalupe Valdés about Valdés’s work illuminating the value of bilingualism, the needed respect for students and their families, and the features that define a proposal for high-quality education for English Learners. In this conversation, Walqui and Valdés problematized many of the ways in which students are referred to, and explored the labels used to talk about students and schools and what impact those labels can have. Building on Dr. Valdés’s work, this module makes a call to raise awareness of the professional language that we use.


In this module, participants will begin by exploring concepts of language and equity, then move on to reading and reflecting on an article by Dr. Valdés, and, finally, participants will watch and reflect on the conversation between Aída Walqui and Guadalupe Valdés.

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