On May 5, Dr. Laura Alvarez will present "Recognizing and Expanding Competence: Supporting Language Development Through Science."
This talk will focus on how inquiry-based science can be a venue for emergent bilingual students' language development. I'll present case studies of two recently arrived 5th grade newcomer students, describing how their participation and positioning in science practices changed over time. I'll also discuss implications for how we define "academic language" and how we position students in ways that recognize and expand their competence.
Dr. Laura Alvarez is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education and Bilingual Education at Saint Mary's College of California. She brings 20 years' experience as a teacher, researcher, and teacher educator focused on improving the educational experiences of multilingual and immigrant youth. Alvarez's research focuses on multilingual students' language and literacy development in the context of disciplinary learning, most recently managing the NSF-funded Stanford Integrated Science and Language Project. Her work as a researcher and teacher educator is grounded in her experience as an elementary and middle school teacher and instructional coach in Oakland Unified. Alvarez earned a Ph.D. in Educational Linguistics from Stanford University and an M.A. in Education from Mills College. She has published and presented her work in a variety of books, journals, and conferences and is co-author (with Samway and Pease-Alvarez) of Supporting Newcomer Students: Advocacy and Instruction for English Learners and (with Valdés and Capitelli) of Latino Children Learning English: Steps in the Journey.