Episode 027: Emerging Multilingual Students and the NGSS Classroom with Enrique Suarez


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Enrique Suarez was trained as an astrophysicist and did cosmology research for five years before choosing a career in K-5 science education. In this episode, he discusses his research about designing learning environments that create opportunities for elementary-aged emerging multilingual students to leverage their conceptual resources and translanguaging practices when making sense of the natural world. He gives examples using a NGSS physics lesson in a 3rd grade classroom.

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 Show Highlights

  • 02:00 - 07:15   Introduction to Enrique's research on language learning and science learning
  • 08:15 - 22 :30   An extended example of a 3rd grade NGSS physics lesson with emerging multilingual students
  • 22:30 - 26:00   Considering the differences between understanding concepts and memorizing science vocabulary
  • 26:00 - 31:30   What is "translanguaging"?
  • 32:00 - 38:00   More resources and advice for teachers

 Show Quotes 

"Rather than educators seeing our work in terms of giving these students language or creating opportunities for students to acquire language ... we're thinking of language as a tool for meaning-making." [5:10 - 5:45] Enrique Suarez

"I really appreciate that NGSS has brought together practice and content, because it highlights that knowing science is doing science." [7:15 - 7:30] Enrique Suarez

 "We have in a way convinced ourselves that doing science sounds a particular way. And I worry about that for a lot of reasons, but especially from the teacher side, I worry about what message we are sending to students when we say there's a right way of saying or talking science, there's a right way of asking questions of the natural world. Because then it just becomes this game of saying the right thing and then you're no longer accountable for how you make sense of that." [22:15-22:45] Enrique Suarez

"To me science is a disposition, it's about that curiosity, it's being comfortable in the discomfort." [33:40-33:55] Enrique Suarez


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