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BYU hosts symposium on English language learners June 11-12

The David O. McKay School of Education at Brigham Young University will join with the College of Humanities, the Wheatley Institution and the BYU-Public School Partnership to host the first annual symposium on English language learners, titled “Utah’s Cultural and Linguistic Landscape: Opportunities and Challenges,” Thursday and Friday, June 11-12, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center.

The main symposium will be held June 12 and will include representatives from government, public schools, universities, business and community organizations, school board members and leaders of various faiths as presenters and participants. Sessions planned for June 11 will target teachers and parents.

There is no fee for the symposium, but registration must be completed in advance. Registration will include a box lunch each day. A parking shuttle will run from the southeast side of LaVell Edwards Stadium. For more details and to register, visit

The aim of the symposium is to inspire participants to recognize the capacities and potentials of English language learners and their families, to positively influence public policy and education practices and to dispel commonly held myths and misconceptions, according to organizer Ray Graham, a member of the linguistics and English language faculty at BYU.

National presenters at the conference will include Lilly Wong-Fillmore, the Jerome A. Hutton Professor of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, whose professional specializations are second language learning and teaching, the education of language minority students and the socialization of children for learning across cultures.

David Freeman, a professor of reading and ESL, and Yvonne Freeman, a professor of bilingual education, both from the University of Texas at Brownsville, will also be contributing. The Freemans have co-authored a number of books, including “Teaching Reading and Writing in Spanish and English and Between Worlds.”

Utah education and community presenters will include Pam Perlich from the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Utah; Natalie Gochnour, chief operating officer for the SLC Chamber of Commerce; the Rev. David Bittmenn of St. Francis of Assisi Parish; Teresa Tavares of Centro Hispano; Elder Jay L. Sitterud, an Area Seventy and a member of the Quorum of Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Richard Davis, BYU political science professor; and Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck and Rep. Eric Hutchings, Utah State Legislature.

For more information, visit or contact Ray Graham at (801) 422-2208.

Writer: Roxanna Johnson

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