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Episode 39

Curing Antisocial Language Teaching
In this conversation, Dr. JPB Gerald discusses how he began the study of decentering whiteness in language teaching, explores the structures at play that can demotivate students, and dives into the thought-provoking content in his book, “…..” He offers possible ways to tackle the issues prevalent in our field, and shares how solidarity among educators plays an important role. If you have a burning question about how you can shift your mindset to better understand and support your ELLs, listen in now!

Episode 38

Creating Digital Age Learning Environments for ELLs
You’ve heard of the Four Cs for 21st Century Learning (communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking), but there’s a fifth - culture - to recognize and affirm identities of all students, especially English language learners. Listen to a conversation with Heather Rubin from the Long Island Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBERN) as she shares her perspective on the role of digital technology in building transferable skills for ELLs by giving them “a voice and a choice.”

Episode 37

Implementing SOFLA: An Interactive Online Learning Experience
Have you heard of the Synchronous Online Flipped Learning Approach (SOFLA®) and wondered what it’s all about? Join us for a conversation with Dr. Helaine Marshall as she shares how this approach can help English language learners reach their full potential.

Episode 35

Changing Perspectives on Emergent Multilingual Learners and Supporting Their Families
Lau vs. Nichols and the Aspira Consent Decree, legal proceedings from 1974, ensured that English language learners & multilingual learners receive age- and grade-level appropriate instruction. Since then, supporting ELLs/MLs looks very different, especially with regard to emergent multilingual learners in pre-k and early childhood. In this episode, Susanne Marcus discusses supporting English language learners at the early stages of development and how to support and welcome their families.

Episode 34

Benefits of Participation in PLCs and Supporting ELLs/MLs in Content Areas
Being active in a professional learning community has many benefits for content area teachers and ENL teachers alike. In this episode, Jian Liu shares his unique perspective as a former ELL and high school mathematics teacher regarding participating in PLCs and teaching literacy with mathematics concepts.

Episode 33

Empowering Teachers to Build Connections for Student Success
Focusing on and building upon assets is a key component of being a part of the Teacher Student Success Network as evidenced in this episode with Dr. DJ Kaiser. Listen to find out more about his work to empower teachers to build connections extending from the students to the world.

Episode 32

Green Card Voices

The Green Card Voices Project has provided an opportunity for many immigrants to share their experiences from their lives before and after arriving in the United States. Listen as Dr. Tea Rozman shares the purpose of this project, as well as the work that her organization has done and will do moving forward. Jennifer Raponi also shares her collaborative role and the amazing student empowerment that has resulted from it.

Episode 31

Creating Support Systems for ELLs
Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) are essential to ensuring academic success for all learners, including English language learners/multilingual learners. Jamie Scripps from the Rush-Henrietta School District joins us to share the system that she and her colleagues have created to identify ELLs/MLs with disabilities and track their progress. Original air date: December 5, 2022

Episode 30

Supporting ELLs/MLs with Disabilities

Have you ever wondered about how a learning disability might affect new language learning and what support can be provided to ensure success for ELLs/MLs? Ariana Rosario from the North Syracuse Central School District joins me in this episode to share her experiences with supporting and advocating for ELLs/MLs with disabilities.

Episode 29

Family and Student Resources
The Statewide Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBERN) serves the entire state of New York in providing a plethora of resources to support ELLs/MLs as well as their families, schools, and communities. Join us for this episode as we discuss the importance of utilizing and sharing these resources.

Episode 28

Embracing Spanglish as a Form of Translanguaging (ELLevation)
Spanglish has historically been discouraged in both English and Spanish classrooms across the U.S. However, by discrediting this blended language, we are not allowing students to use their entire linguistic repertoire. Please join Steve Sofronas of Ellevation as he explores this topic in depth with Alexandra Medrano, a teacher in Colorado who shares her journey from discouraging to celebrating Spanglish in her classroom.

Episode 27

Graduation Requirements for ELLs/MLs
Interpreting educational transcripts from another country can be challenging to evaluate for equivalent credits toward graduation for many reasons. In this episode, we discuss the importance of transcript translation and interpretation as well as considerations about how to implement inclusive practices with ELLs/MLs and their families so that students are on the path to academic success.

Episode 26

Opportunities for ELL/ML Success

English Language Learners/Multilingual Learners have many assets that can be capitalized on to ensure their success. Listen to this episode to learn about different opportunities that are available for ELLs/MLs to support their academic success and personal growth. Original air date: November 15, 2022

Episode 25

Supporting ELLs in Science

In light of recent global events, we have seen an influx of Ukrainian families arriving in the United States. Please join me as I speak with Svetlana Stowell to talk about the importance of supporting, welcoming, and including Ukrainian families in schools and communities. Original air date: 10/31/22

Episode 24

Emergent MLs-Zoila Morell
What is an emergent multilingual learner, what is the connection to early learning, and what is the importance of providing professional learning opportunities for early educators? Join me for a conversation with Dr. Zoila Morell as we kicked off the 2022 Symposium on Emergent Multilingual Learners in Early Childhood. Original Air Date: 1/11/22

Episode 23

Creating Linguistic & Culturally Respo…stems for Language Learners (S. Soltero, 6/21/21))
Creating Linguistic & Culturally Responsive Education Ecosystems for Language Learners What is “culturally embedded literacy”? In this episode, Dr. Sonia Soltero joins RBERNing Questions for a second time to talk about how to create a linguistic and culturally responsive education ecosystem for language learners. Listen for more on teacher burnout, asset-based approach to educating MLs, culturally embedded literacy, and the self-assessment tool that she created. (Original recording date: 6/21/21)

Episode 22

School Library Resources for ELLs

Have you ever wondered about what’s out there in terms of resources to support your English language learners and who might be able to help you locate some of those resources? Look no further than your school librarian! Listen as school library specialists Allison Comes and Alicia Sherman share their love of reading by sharing several resources and talking about how school librarians can create spaces where families of ELLs feel welcome. (Original recording date: 6/4/21)

Episode 21

An Intro to RBERNing Questions!

In the preface of their book entitled, Explicit Direct Instruction for English Learners, John Hollingsworth and Dr. Sylvia Ybarra state: “It’s not a focus on test scores that raises test scores. It’s a relentless pursuit of optimizing the effectiveness of the way students are taught - before the tests are given - that raises test scores.” (2013, p. vii) In this episode, Mr. Hollingsworth discusses how DataWORKS, the company that he started with his wife, Dr. Ybarra, came to be. He also shares the many useful tools that were created to support English language learners and explains why it works. Listen to learn more! (Original recording date: 6/3/21)

Episode 20

What does “PRHYLI” stand for? Not only does it stand for the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute, but it also stands for empowerment, leadership, and advocacy. Join Diana Vázquez, PRHYLI State Coordinator, as she talks about her work in overseeing this statewide program. Kimberly Soto Rivera, who is a current college student and PRHYLI alumna, also shares her experiences from being a part of the institute as a former high school student and how it has shaped her future.

Episode 19

Transitioning to In-Person Learning with SupportEd
The requirement for schools to quickly convert to remote learning as a result of the pandemic presented many significant challenges with regard to equitably teaching multilingual learners. To discuss what considerations teachers and administrators should be mindful of moving forward, I am joined by Meghan Gregoire-Smith and Mindi Teich, where we discuss these considerations and more.

Episode 18

Culturally Responsive Teaching for MLs with SupportEd
Why is culturally responsive teaching necessary now more than ever, and what are the potential positive academic and social emotional outcomes for multilingual learners and all members of the greater school community? Please join Dr. Sydney Snyder as she talks about what culturally responsive teaching looks like and the positive outcomes for multilingual learners.

Episode 17

Diane Staehr Fenner, Pt. 2 - Leadership for ELLs

Why does leadership matter when supporting multilingual learners? Please join Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner as she discusses the role that administrators play in ensuring that advocacy and equity are manifested in the classroom.

Episode 16

Diane Staehr Fenner, Pt. 1 - Advocacy for ELLs
All teachers are teachers of English Language Learners. In order to support our nation’s ELLs with regard to their academic and future professional success, it is essential to recognize the importance of advocacy. Please join Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner, President of SupportEd, as she discusses how we can create a shared sense of responsibility for advocating for English language learners.

Episode 15

Myths About Second Language Acquisition

In this episode, Dr. Sonia Soltero, Professor at DePaul University, author, and proponent of biliteracy and bilingualism, addresses many common myths about second language acquisition and shares her insight about advocating for equity for English language learners. Please join us for this important and informative conversation as she answers RBERNing questions!

Episode 14

Speech, Special Education, or ENL?
This episode addresses one of the biggest challenges we face as educators of multilingual students: How do we accurately determine if a multilingual student may or may not need support beyond just English language development? And if we determine that the child does need additional support, how will that be different from what we would provide for a monolingual English speaking student? Listen to professional speech/language pathologist Kelley Burt and bilingual special education expert Lourdes Roa discuss these challenges and share some tips for best supporting multilingual students who may need or already receive special education services.

Episode 13

ELL Students' Perspectives FIRST EP of 2020-2021
Here it is, dear listeners: the most important episode of this podcast that will ever be made - no disrespect at all to any of the incredible educators who are also guests - I think they would agree! It is the most important because it gives us a glimpse into the minds, hearts, and experiences of the young people we serve. Nothing is more powerful or important than centering student voices in our work as culturally responsive educators, especially the voices of those who have been historically silenced as so many multilingual individuals have experienced. Please accept this episode as a gift from these brilliant, insightful young leaders who are co-creating our future right now.

Episode 12

Discourse & Multilingual Literacy LAST EP of 2019-2020

There is a lot of information in the world of education about discourse, background knowledge, literacy, and how all of these ideas are intertwined as we get to know our students. Listen as our guests Mario Palma and David Burns from American Reading Company share how teachers can build more awareness around students’ types of discourse, how we all navigate multiple types of discourse, and how we can use that reflection and knowledge to support students’ literacy development in multiple languages!

Episode 11

Supporting Students with Interrupted/Inconsistent Formal Education
Supporting SIFE can be a daunting challenge, whether a school has 1 student with interrupted schooling or 100, and Dr. Lisa Auslander is on a mission to “demystify” all the ways in which we can meet the needs of this heterogeneous group of students! If you are hoping to learn more about the unique needs of SIFE and ways in which you can support them in your classes, please join co-host Collette Farone-Goodwin, Mid-State RBERN’s resident SIFE specialist, as we explore the wealth of knowledge, research, and resources that Dr. Auslander shares in this episode.

Episode 10

How to be an Advocate for ELLs
Oftentimes, we know our students and their families need support and access within their education experiences that they simply aren’t getting. In this episode, professional development specialist and advocate Jen Raponi shares the what, why, and how of advocacy for ELLs. Jen’s experiences and suggestions apply across a vast spectrum of advocacy topics, so if you are wondering how to center the voices of your students and their families in your advocacy, how to advocate in ways that are most impactful, what to advocate about, or any and all of the above, this episode is for you!

Episode 9

Academic Conversations with Elementary ELLs
If you’re looking for ways to build authentic, meaningful conversation time into your lessons, listen to Dr. Jeff Zwiers as he shares practical and powerful strategies in this episode! A room full of elementary students all speaking might sound overwhelming at first, and Dr. Zwiers’ approaches make the planning and implementation of these kinds of lessons so accessible and applicable for all teachers. Give your students agency and voice as you plan for some really great conversations in your virtual or physical classrooms!

Episode 8

ELL Shadowing & Conversational Discourse with Secondary ELLs
Let’s talk about talk! If you have listened to some of our previous episodes, you have probably heard many of our expert guests speaking about the importance of literally and metaphorically hearing ELL student voices in the classroom; this episode expands on that theme. Listen to what Dr. Soto’s fascinating research findings tell us about ELLs speaking in their classrooms, and hear some practical strategies for how and why to embed more speaking into your everyday lesson planning. Check out the article linked below entitled “Creating Classroom Buzz” as well as Dr. Soto’s practical and powerful books to discover many ways to uplift your students’ voices.

Episode 7

Multilingual Family Connections & Multilingual Ed.
It can be challenging for monolingual teachers and schools to make connections with families who speak languages other than English. In this dynamic conversation, Dr. José Medina combines his deep knowledge of dual language programming research with his moving testimonios on being a multilingual learner, teacher, administrator, and coach. He generously shares with us some pivotal and thought-provoking strategies for building meaningful relationships with multilingual families and for cultivating a multilingual mindset as we plan lessons, even if we are monolingual educators. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be inspired to action by Dr. Medina’s passionate commitment to equity for all students!

Episode 6


We are aware of a few “glitchy” moments in this recording, but they do not interfere with the overall content/comprehensibility of the episode.

Co-teaching may be more challenging than ever during the coronavirus pandemic, and it also is more exciting and innovative than ever! Listen to a conversation with two of the leaders in research about co-teaching relationships: Dr. Maria Dove and Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld. Find out what they say is “non-negotiable” when it comes to co-teaching, and learn a lot of quick and easy-to-apply practices that can take your co-teaching relationships from cooperative to truly collaborative. Listen with your co-teacher and then check out the links below to amazing shared resources!

Episode 5

Supporting ELLs in Science
This episode is all about “doing science and using language” with the incomparable Dr. Okhee Lee. Christopher Leece of OCM BOCES co-hosts as we ask Okhee all of “RBERNing Questions” about how teachers can engage ELLs (and all students!) in inquiry and discovery through the use of “compelling phenomena” in alignment with our updated science standards. Listen to learn more about what science and language DO together in our classrooms!

Episode 4

Collegiality & Collaboration
Welcome to a conversation about connection. In this episode, Liesl asks Dr. Laura Baecher, President of NYSTESOL and Professor at Hunter College, “RBERNing Questions” about collegiality among teachers of ELLs - What does it look like? Why is it important? How can we be intentional about it? And more! Please enjoy, and then reach out to your fellow TESOL colleagues to keep growing your collegiality and collaboration!

Episode 3

Cultivating Resilience & Creating Equity

You’re going to want to take notes while listening to this episode! It is such a gift to be able to share this conversation about resilience and equity with one of the foremost researchers and writers on these topics in education: Elena Aguilar. In our conversation, Elena shares her experiences and advice on how we can “re-center the individual child” in education and how we can understand ourselves more deeply, with the ultimate goal of creating learning experiences and environments that are equitable and responsive to our students’ needs while growing our own emotional resilience. Please tune in and then check out all of the incredible knowledge Elena and her team have shared on their website!

Episode 2

Standards-Based Practices for ELLs

“RBERNing Questions” for this episode center around how to use New York’s ENL Targets of Measurement (“ToMs”) in standards-based classroom activities and assessments. Guest Dr. Paulina White shares her insights into how she has used the ToMs to focus and refine her planning and lessons for both stand-alone and co-taught ENL classes at the middle school level. If you’ve been wondering how to apply the ToMs in a practical way in your classes, this episode is for you! Click here for free related resources!

Episode 1

An Intro to RBERNing Questions!

Welcome to the very first episode of this brand new podcast for all teachers of ELLs! This episode features a conversation between podcast host/Mid-State RBERN Resource Specialist Liesl Coope and ENL teacher/Mid-State RBERN ENL Council member Diane Stevenson. Listen in to get all the details on what you can expect from this podcast and to find out how you can submit topics and guest suggestions for future episodes. Keep tuning in each week as we discuss all of “RBERNing Questions”!