Research

Learn about current research projects or read the published work of some of our WITESOL members.  Please note that WITESOL is only sharing this information and is not responsible for the content and quality. 

If you have an article or other publication that you would like WITESOL to consider sharing with membership, please email witesolboard@gmail.com.

Multilingualism and Education in Wisconsin 

Multilingualism and Education in Wisconsin is officially on the web! Check it out at www.teachlangwisconsin.com. Claire Darmstadter, a student at UW-Madison who is pursuing a career in bilingual education, created the website that is filled with interviews of educators from around Wisconsin who work with multilingual learners. She is also responsible for creating all of the content, including 100+ podcast interviews. The website is full of helpful tips and information and features some WITESOL board members and members. It’s best to view the site on a desktop rather than a mobile device.

The (Im)Possibilities of Equitable Education of Multilingual Emergent Bilinguals in Re-mote Teaching: A Survey of English Language Teachers in the Great Lakes Region 

In April 2020, WITESOL Member, Jenna Cushing-Leubner, and members of her research team conducted a survey study of EL/ESL teachers (English language teachers of multilingual emergent bilinguals/English learners) and then an interview study of EL teachers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Indiana.  Over 350 EL teachers responded to the survey and they interviewed about 100 teachers (nearly 200 hours of interviews).  They asked them about their experiences during the sudden shift to Emergency Remote Teaching and Learning due to COVID-19 in Spring 2020.  They shared the many ways they stepped in to provide (or were expected to provide) “non-instructional” services for their multilingual students and their families. They also shared the extent to which they were able to provide language, literacy, and content-access instruction.

Cushing-Leubner shared that this is the first research that captures a snapshot of how the shift to remote schools (first emergency and continuing on to the foreseeable future) impacted Wisconsin teachers, specifically EL teachers and their students.  This article is a descriptive analysis of the survey responses only. They break down survey response and show the time and energy EL teachers spent providing a range of supports and services beyond language instruction, and what (if any) language instruction they were able to provide.  Teachers represent city, suburban, small town, and rural contexts. The team also broke it down by differences across states and we name major issues of inequity that schools and districts need to address to support emergent bilinguals and their teachers, who are the first (and too often only) point of contact and response in the school system.

One major implication of their analysis is that schools and districts typically relied heavily on EL teachers (especially multilingual teachers and teachers of color) to provide broader institutional emergency support services for students, families, and colleagues, made possible in part by the pre-existing underrepresentation of multilingual teachers and support systems and personnel. The continuation of this pattern places schools and districts in direct violation with federal and state laws meant to ensure equal access to education through adequate programming for multilingual learners labeled “English language learners”.

You can view the open access research-based article by clicking here. 

Cushing-Leubner, J., Morita-Mullaney, T., Greene, M.C.S., Stolpestad, A., & Benegas, M. (2021) The (im)possibilities of equitable education of multilingual emergent bilinguals in remote teaching: A survey of English language teachers in the Great Lakes region. Planning and Changing50(3/4), pp. 139-164.