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CABE 2024: A celebration of culture and language

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Close your eyes and imagine over 6,400 educators connecting, sharing, networking, and feeling re-energized about the work they do….this was CABE 2024! The California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) 2024 Conference in Anaheim, California, provided attendees with inspiration and best practices for bilingual education. This year’s theme was Strength in Unity: Embracing the Tapestry of Our Diversity, Cultivating Our Heritage, and Celebrating Our Multilingualism. 

With over 600 sessions available, student presentations, school visits, and a variety of institutes, the celebration of diversity, heritage, and multilingualism came through loud and clear!

We ALL can change mindsets

Ellevation stands in unity with multilingual learners and the teachers that serve them; it is our WHY. We realize the incredible assets that they bring to our classrooms nationwide so it was with much pride that we celebrated upon hearing Dr. Victor Rios state, “for too long, multilingual learners have been looked at through a deficit lens but in reality, it’s time for us to treat our kids with the dignity and respect they deserve.” As Dr. Rios told his story, we were reminded of the incredible impact that a teacher can have on a child who is facing nothing but obstacles. 

The common thread heard at every session was that we each have the power to change mindsets. Many currently see English learners as struggling and at-risk, but we must use these moments to remind them that rather than English learners, they are “linguistically gifted.” To quote keynote speaker, Professor Tyrone Howard, School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA,  “they have strengths, remarkable potential and emergent brilliance” - in more than one language!

The life experiences of our MLLs and their families

We can’t speak of our multilingual learners without recognizing that their families are also brilliant, creative, and highly resilient.  As US Army Retired Lieutenant Colonel Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch  recognized the many people in our students’ lives that have had limited schooling, she reminded us to “honor the PhD’s of life” because of their varied life experiences.  These experiences shaped their lives, and the lessons they learned and beliefs they hold on to impact and enrich the lives of their children. As they enter our classrooms each day, we must remember that each student is unique and wonderful story of life experiences, language, and culture. 

Ellevation supports our educators

As Gold-level sponsors, Ellevation’s presence at the conference provided us with the opportunity to make new friends, celebrate partners, and learn from educators who attended our two sessions. CABE2024 was the perfect opportunity to share our updated California-specific professional learning modules. And as attendees engaged with our activities and product, we confirmed that professional development for teachers of multilingual learners must be different. While our student population is more diverse, sadly, the teacher population is not. Some may not understand the culture and language of their diverse students, and meeting their needs may seem like an overwhelming and daunting task. Our role as professional learning providers will help develop stronger and more effective educators who will understand that because students are different, they are not deficient.

Conclusion - “The Language of Love”

During her keynote, Kickbusch said, “The most beautiful language we have is the language of love”. All multilingual learners bring an array of cultural and linguistic assets into the classrooms. It’s up to us to ensure we speak the language of love daily and provide them with opportunities to share these gifts as they learn.

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