Shifting to Emerging Multilingual Learners
In a world where being able to speak more than one language can vastly expand our horizons, learning a new language can be both challenging and rewarding. This particularly rings true if you’re a student learning English as a second language (or are a native English speaker learning a partner language).
Until recently, we referred to students whose native language is English as “multilingual learners,” and students learning English in the same school as “English Language Learners.” To better reflect the student’s in their native language whether English or another language, we will refer to these students as “Emerging Multilingual Learners” or EML.
Using this term highlights what truly occurs in classrooms, and embraces equity in our language-learning community. The previous term focused on what students lacked rather than the knowledge they already possessed. And DC PCSB aims to ensure that bias is not being promoted, and the expectation isn’t lessened because students are speaking a language other than English in their homes.
To maximize EML learners’ knowledge from their lessons, DC public charter schools evaluate receptive language to ensure scholars understand the language being learned, as well as expressive language to verify that children can express themselves in their target language.
DC PCSB is setting public charter schools up for success by providing them with helpful resources to support Emerging Multilingual Learners. And some of our schools offer programs in dual-language immersion, where children learn in the partner language more than their native language.
Additionally, the State Title III Advisory Committee, or (STAC), is a strategic working group of multilingual experts, practitioners, and parents that provide expertise in identifying the strengths and most salient needs and concerns of English learners.
STAC collaborates to solve issues that impact EML students by creating tools and developing a Dual Language Program manual to ensure academic fluency in the target language.
With the use of this new term, EML, students will be able to leverage their individuality, curiosity and diverse experiences and schools will be able to find and implement more strategies to make learning fun and inclusive.