Teaching Emergent Bilinguals: Challenges and Opportunities, Matunas, Spring 2020

Course Number: EDU 5515 C39
Instructor: Adrienne Matunas
Location: Two Saturday in-person sessions in April/May. Exact dates TBD. The remainder of the course will be held in an online environment.
Dates and Times: March 9 - May 2, 2020
Credits: 3 Graduate Credits
Tuition: $975

Course Description

This course offers an introduction to the challenges and opportunities language diversity brings to K-12 and post-secondary education in Vermont, with a focus on the following topics:

  1. How have historical and sociopolitical factors shaped multilingualism, monolingualism, and language education in the U.S. and in Vermont?  What trends in multilingualism and multilingual education can we expect to see in the next few decades?
  2. What particular challenges do English language learners and other multilingual students face in the classroom?  How can schools support first- and second-language development and academic achievement for multilingual students?
  3. What assets do multilingual students bring to our classrooms and schools, and how can teachers and administrators tap into those assets to enrich the educational experience of all students?

 Audience: All educators

Course Goals & Objectives

Course Goals:

  1. To recognize the trends that shape multilingualism and language education for learners in your context
  2. To use language diversity to enrich the educational experience of monolingual and multilingual learners

 Course Objectives:

  1. Identify barriers to academic and social achievement faced by multilingual learners in your context
  2. Identify assets that multilingual learners bring to your context
  3. Develop a practical unit plan that taps into the assets multilingual learners bring and addresses the challenges they face

Course Expectations


  • Responses to readings/video material
  • Journal reflections on current and past interactions with language diversity
  • Discussions (Flipgrid)


  • Participants will create a unit plan to use in their own context (in the classroom or as a professional development session for other educators) that capitalizes on the assets of multilingual learners and addresses the challenges they face. They will share their plans during the in-person session in August.

Required Texts

Required Readings/Texts: None required to purchase.  PDF readings will be provided electronically.

Other Suggested Readings/Texts:

  • Edwards, John. Multilingualism: Understanding Language Diversity. Continuum, 2012. ISBN 978-1441126955.
  • Edwards, John. Multilingualism. Routledge, 1994. ISBN 978-0415120111.
  • Shapiro, Shawna, Farrelly, Raichle, and Curry, Mary Jane. Educating Refugee-Background Students. Multilingual Matters, 2018. ISBN 9781783099986.

For additional course information

Adrienne Matunas
(802) 468-1371

For additional registration information

Bethany Sprague
(802) 468-1325

Register online now!