One of the interesting and fun benefits of doing research on a given topic is that you get asked to consult. Like most academics I often review papers, grant proposals, theses and so on. These are really interesting and I usually learn a lot. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work and it takes hours and hours of time (usually over and above my time in my job– teaching and doing research)– but, this is a part of the job as well. I enjoy getting to meet and interact with other researchers and practitioners who are interested in many of the same issues I focus on in my work. It’s nice to know I’m not alone and that other folks are grappling with some of the same challenges.
I’m currently on the technical work group for the Center for Early Care and Education Research: Dual Language Learners (CECER: DLL). Dina Castro is the Principal Investigator and Director of the project. I haven’t been able to go to the meetings for one reason or another (the meetings are once a year). But, I have been able to keep up with what’s going on via e-mail and review of materials. One of the outcomes of the working group has been a series of research briefs.
So far, there are three. The first one identifies some of the barriers and knowledge gaps (according to researchers, practitioners, administrators and policy makers) in working with DLL populations (or ELL, or ESL, or …. yes, that’s one of the problems, what do we call these young emerging bilinguals?).
The second brief follows up on the first one which identified gaps. Here, the question is what is needed to fill those gaps? What are ways that we can improve training for those who serve DLLs, how can we recruit more practitioners? What guidelines do we need to better serve DLLs?
The third and most recent brief focuses on both the gaps and needs and begins to lay out a research agenda. Basically, what research is needed to fill knowledge gaps and to improve training. There’s a lot to do and a lot to learn!