Fostering home school connections: When TESOL Professionals Double up as Parents of Multi-Bilingual Children
A substantial body of research shows that encouraging children to creatively draw on all available language resources is positively associated with developing literacy development, bilingualism and academic skills. However, raising bilingual and multilingual children requires careful planning and successful partnerships between families and schools in order to best support bilingual language development.
Five TESOL professionals will discuss their experiences as parents of emergent multi-bilingual children. Specifically, we’ll share our successes and challenges on raising transnational multi-bilingual children, including ways our research informs our family practices, the influence of translanguaging, and the impact of COVID-19 and racial justice movements on our parenting philosophies. We offer some advice to other parents who want their children to become multi-bilingual.
Dr. Clara Vaz Bauler is an associate professor of TESOL/Bilingual Education at Adelphi University. She has a Ph.D. in Education with emphasis in Applied Linguistics and Cultural Perspectives and Comparative Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on how digital media technology can be used to support multilingual learners’ academic writing skills while valuing their voices, linguistic assets and composition strategies, ways to better prepare pre-service teachers to effectively work with linguistically diverse learners, and integration of disciplinary content, academic discourses, and translanguaging practices to support and empower emergent bilinguals. Clara has 2 children who are growing up learning to speak English, Portuguese, and Hebrew. We also like to “play and learn” in many languages we love, such as Spanish, Chinese Mandarin, French, German, Italian, Ancient Greek and Moore.
Dr. Ming-Hsuan Wu is an assistant professor in TESOL/Bilingual Education at Adelphi University. She has extensive experience of working with immigrant students, their families, and their teachers in public schools. Born and raised in Taiwan, she regards herself as a lifelong English language learner. She draws upon her language learning and cross-cultural experiences as well as her research to illustrate the importance of implementing a culturally relevant pedagogy when teaching diverse students. She and her two children spend much time in New Jersey and Taiwan, where the children are exposed to English, Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese, Hakka as well as Spanish.
Dr. Etienne A. Kouakou was born, raised, and educated in the Ivory Coast, West Africa. He graduated from the Universite Nationale de Cote d’Ivoire with an MA in English and taught at a local private school for five years before immigrating to the US in 1996. In addition to the credentials obtained in his country of origin, Dr. Kouakou holds a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and a master’s in Secondary English Education from City College. A strong believer in lifelong learning, he recently defended his doctoral dissertation in TESOL through Northcentral University. Currently, Dr. Kouakou teaches full-time in the CUNY Language Immersion Program (CLIP) at Hostos Community College, mentors TESOL teacher candidates at Hunter College, and teaches College Composition at Queens College. He also serves as the NYS TESOL Director of Regions under the current president, Dr. Laura Baecher. Dr. Kouakou is fluent in English, French, and Spanish.
Dr. Nilufe Guler is associate professor and director of Ed.D. program at Rockhurst University. She earned an M.A. in Linguistics at Ohio University, and Ph.D. in Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has almost twenty years of teaching experience, and she taught at elementary, middle, and college levels in the U.S. and abroad. Her research interests include teacher education, ELL education, and internationalization of higher education. She was a Global Teacher Education fellow in 2017-18, and she was co-lead on a grant from the Longview Foundation for Promoting Internationalization of Teacher Education Through Faculty Development. Her book Optimizing Elementary Education for English Language Learners was published in 2018, and she serves as series editor for the Globalization of Teacher Education book series at Rowman and Littlefield. Dr. Guler also serves on the Global Diversity Committee of AACTE.
Stephanie Abraham is an Associate Professor of Language and Literacy Education. Her research and pedagogical interests focus on the documentation of the rich language and literacy practices of racialized, emergent bilinguals, as well as helping their teachers develop high quality, critical pedagogies. She is the principal investigator of the Spencer funded project, Translanguaging as an Resistance and Restoration in a Community-Based Writing Center. Her scholarship has been published in Radical Teacher, the Journal of Education Policy, and Equity and Excellence in Education. Stephanie and her family live transnationally between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Oaxaca, Mexico. She and her spouse have one child who they are raising to speak Spanish and English, along with some Zapotec, Nahuatl, and American Sign Language.