There was a very interesting - and somewhat revelatory - article posted yesterday on public radio Boston's program Learning Lab. The article titled "Federal Guidelines for Teaching English Language Learners Highlight Access, Civil Rights" is timely given that today is Martin Luther King, Jr Day and is a day for reflection on Civil Rights in the US today. It's fair to wonder if Dr. King would have been able to foretell the language gap that exists in todays classroom and how that gap would impact the Civil Rights of the students affected. Based on the information shared in the article, in Boston in particular, where 30% of students are English Learners (EL). This seems like a staggering number of students. But when we step back and look at the fact that Boston is just one large metropolitan city where there is a large - and diverse - population of inhabitants. Inhabitants whose children are in our public school system and whose primary language is reflective of this diversity: Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian and Arabic to name a few. We can see that 30% is quite representative of the diversity of these areas and can likely be understating the number of students in some (Los Angeles comes to mind, as well as New York city and San Francisco). Something else not to be forgotten in this focus on the needs of students - and those are the needs of the educators who must help to bring EL students to a proficiency level that evens the playing field and ensures their right to a quality education where they understand the primary language of said education. Tools and resources for these educators is lacking - which is a terrible shame as these educators are strongest link in the education chain to impact as many EL students as possible.
One of Lingo Jingo's prime directives is to provide teaching tools that enable these educators with a platform that puts strength in their hands. An easy to use resource that lets teachers create language learning content that reflects what is taught in the classroom but can be accessed by all students anywhere, any time - no matter the skill level of the student or how many students need to be reached. For those students who are EL, or those that are learning any world language, Lingo Jingo wants to ensure participation - and success - for these students and the educators on whom they rely.
Have a great Martin Luther King, Jr. day.