immersion educator summit 2016: leading with WHY

August 16, 2016

“The inspired leaders and the inspired organizations regardless of their size, regardless of their industry, all think, act and communicate from the inside out.”

Simon Sinek

In his influential Ted Talk, (viewed over 27 million times) author and leadership guru, Simon Sinek, codified the inside-out approach of great leaders and organizations, calling it the “golden circle.” At the center of that circle is the question, why? Only when this question was answered could the outer questions of what?, and finally, how? be adequately answered.

I felt so much less overwhelmed at the end of the four days.” – elementary Spanish immersion teacher

In addalingua trainings of the past, we spent ample time on the WHAT and the HOW of implementing a dual language immersion program. After all, it is quite a complex puzzle to put together and most often it happens with novice teachers who really need to know WHAT to do. We continue to believe that these aspects of our training are critical, but this year we made an intentional shift to address the WHY of dual language immersion education.

This has been my seventh year working with this program, and add.a.lingua’s growth has been enormous. Great job colleagues! – elementary Spanish immersion teacher

Using the new addalingua quality quadrants with success indicators, facilitators were equipped with the necessary tools to help educators understand and value spending time with the WHY. Teachers and administrators could see specific, research-based standards that support their teams as they pursue implementation of high quality immersion programs.

These success indicators have been many years in creation and long overdue. Simply put, they don’t exist anywhere else, and without them, it’s difficult for a school to really know the WHY behind their immersion program. For example, imagine that you’re tasked with constructing a building. You set to work, gathering all of the tools, materials, people, and (to some degree) training to get started.

But you don’t have a blueprint. And you’re not sure of the purpose of the building.
How effective would you be?

Las personas encargadas de dirigir las presentaciones fueron muy dinámicas y eso hizo que los cuatro días fueran de total aprovechamiento. – elementary Spanish immersion teacher

The power of framing the educator summit using our quality quadrants as the “blueprint” was evident as you walked into each session of the summit.  Teachers, point people and administrators were actively learning and dialoguing not just the how and what we do within our DLI classrooms… but more importantly WHY we do it. Questions like…

  • Why is it important to raise the status of the minority language within the whole school community and what does that do to raise the status of a whole people group?
  • Why is following the addalingua scope and sequence and immersion language only policy and timeline non-negotiable? What happens to the integrity of the program when these are compromised?

The quality quadrants framed the WHY of our four-day educator summit, and it’s exciting to think that they’ll continue to live and breathe in each of our partner schools throughout the year. Helping teachers to understand the purpose – the WHY – behind their practice and resources, is foundational for the creation of an addalingua learning community which empowers educators professionally, upholds the threefold goal of immersion education, and ultimately creates school environments in which children will thrive multilingually.

Thank you to all of the educators that took time out of their summer to reflect, collaborate, and improve their practice; and thank you to the group of the most amazing facilitators we have the privilege of calling colleagues and friends.

It’s time to get rowdy – have a great school year!

P.S. Our special thanks to our partners at Holland Language Academy at Van Raalte. They were gracious hosts, and we couldn’t have done this without you!


Would you like to learn more about immersion specific professional development opportunities for your school or district? Click the link below, and let’s talk!

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