On October 26, Bank Street Graduate School of Education hosted the 20th Annual Language Series, a conference that helps educators expand their understanding of effective and developmentally appropriate language learning strategies for children.
This year, Mariana Souto-Manning, PhD, Professor of Early Childhood Education and Teacher Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, delivered the keynote titled “Reading, Writing and Talk: Inclusive Teaching for Diverse Learners.” In her presentation, Souto-Manning discussed assumptions and myths around multilingualism and explored how educators can challenge these beliefs and support all learners through culturally relevant teaching.
“Knowledge is cultural, and by expanding the cultural knowledge we are actually expanding the tools that we bring to the classroom,” said Souto-Manning. “By learning about kids’ way of knowing, we can better reorganize our classrooms and curricula to support learning. So what we need to make sure is that our curriculum, classroom, materials, and language really serve as windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors.” She explained that books, for example, enable students to see themselves and to help them see the realities of others.
Throughout her presentation, Souto-Manning also led several activities for guests to engage in group discussions, answer true or false questions, and participate in other exercises.
Following the keynote, afternoon workshops included: “The Language of Dance and the Dance of Language,” “Academic Conversations in the Content Area Classroom,” “Upholding Student Identities in the Classroom: Developing Language Through Readings, Discussions, and Projects,” “Differentiation in the Classroom as a Tool to Support All Learners,” and “One Child, Many Languages: Effective Practices in a Linguistically Diverse Early Childhood Setting.”
“The workshop was very helpful. In most of the classes at Bank Street, we always discuss how to incorporate our students’ funds of knowledge as well as their culture and linguistics background. This workshop was a good brush and gave me ideas of books to use and how to implement this subject in my future practice,” said a conference attendee about the “Upholding Student Identities in the Classroom: Developing Language Through Readings, Discussions, and Projects” session.
Next year, the conference will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2020. To learn more about The Language Series, click here