Professor Soto Leads Bilingual Education Conversation

June 19, 2020

Ivannia SotoDuring this period of online learning at home, K-12 teachers are looking at different ways to effectively reach their students, including those whose first language is not English. 

With educators throughout the country researching creative ways to continue providing quality educational programming, Professor of Education Ivannia Soto is providing teaching strategies for distance learning. 

In a recent webinar that Soto led for the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE), she explained the benefits of reciprocal teaching when working with English language learners (ELL). Reciprocal teaching is a strategy that helps students enhance their reading skills through dialogue, small group discussions, and asking questions. 

“It’s a cognitively respectful way to bring students up to speed when they are below their grade level in reading,” said Soto during the webinar. She mentions it’s particularly effective with ELLs since many of them aren’t speaking in the classroom setting due to the fact that they are not being required to do so. During her presentation, Soto also gave advice and recommendations on how to effectively teach a lesson online. 

Soto, an expert in creating equitable environments for ELLs, is sharing her knowledge in other outlets such as an article in Language Magazine, where she discussed the benefits of speaking multiple languages. 

“There are so many benefits associated with multilingualism,” said Soto in the interview. “Cognitively, multilingual proficiency strengthens how the brain functions. For example, bilingualism requires increased cognitive flexibility and better problem-solving skills.” 

Soto’s specialties include second language acquisition, systematic reform for ELLs, and urban education. She serves as executive director of Whittier College’s Institute for Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching (ICLRT), which promotes relevant research and develops academic resources for English learners and Standard English learners via linguistically and culturally responsive teaching practices.