Closing Plenary

WITESOL is excited to have Tim Boals, the founder and director of WIDA, as our closing plenary speaker!

Teaching “English” in Contentious Times

It’s a difficult time to be an educator, but even more so when the students and families we
serve are multilingual learners, culturally diverse and often recent immigrants. While we may have signed on to “teach English,” we now see our job as so much more than that. What is our role in educating and advocating for our students? What knowledge and skills are required to be effective advocates of multilingual learners? Who must we partner with in our efforts to advocate? And what will we do differently tomorrow to respond to our students’ needs? We are tasked, not merely with teaching English, but with building bridges that lead to success for our students when too many around us seem intent on building walls.

Tim Boals is the founder and director of WIDA. He holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an emphasis in the education of multilingual learners. His background includes language education, curriculum and instruction, educational policy, and Spanish language and literature. At WIDA, Tim oversees the vision and operations, long range planning, research and development, and consortium outreach efforts.

Tim frequently presents at conferences in the USA and internationally on increasing the opportunity to learn for multilingual learners. WIDA projects he is particularly excited about include WIDA’s Spanish Academic Language Standards and CAN DOs, WIDA’s Early Years and International programs, a native Alaskan language proficiency assessment development grant project, and professional learning on formative assessment.