Bloomington, Minnesota — During the fall, the Minnesota Department of Education and MNTESOL (Minnesota Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) joined forces to offer a combined conference for nearly one thousand teachers called MELED, or Minnesota English Learner Education. Each group has previously hosted an annual conference in the spring or fall, attracting many of the same participants to both. The collaboration meant the professional development opportunities could be expanded to an extra day.

One keynote address featured Dr. Elaine Tarone, from the University of Minnesota. Tarone is the director of the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA). She presented an overview of the language history of Minnesota spanning from Dakota and Ogibwe to today’s population of Somali-, Karen- and Hmong-speaking immigrants. In keeping with her focus, which included acknowledgement of the many speakers of Scandinavian languages in the state’s history, a group of Nordic language speakers met for a photo to commemorate the event. In some cases these conference attendees teach Norwegian or Swedish, but in all cases they are involved in the field of English as a Second Language as teachers, coaches, researchers or teacher trainers.
By Valorie Arrowsmith


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