NABE: The National Association for Bilingual Education

There are many professional organizations that can help literacy experts stay involved in the profession beyond their classroom or school assignment. Students in the spring semester of READ 6325 explored various professional organizations and are sharing what they learned through this blog series. 

By Mandy Thomas

The National Association for Bilingual Education, also known as NABE is the only professional organization devoted to representing English language learners (ELL’s) and bilingual education professionals. They are affiliated with 20 states and represent a membership of more than 5,000 bilingual and English-as-a-second-language teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, university professors and students, researchers, advocates, policymakers, and parents. Their website is user friendly and can be found at http://www.nabe.org.

Membership fees are rather reasonable and range in price; $60 for an individual membership, $30 for a college/university student, paraprofessional, or parent, $55 for a state affiliate, $125 for an institutional membership, and $1000 for a lifetime membership. With every membership, the individual or group receives six issues annually of NABE news, discounted rates for subscriptions to NABE’s Bilingual Research Journal, special member registration rates for a NABE conference, complete access to the website, and membership into the special interest groups. NABE links individuals with a network of colleagues who provide information to prepare English language learners for a lifetime of successful learning.

NABE supports the education of English language learners through professional development for its members and partnerships with other organizations to fight for the minority students. They lobby at federal and state levels to make sure they receive adequate funding for ELL’s and have campaigns to educate the public and community about bilingual education.

Their annual conference is the only one in the Unites States that is dedicated to exploring interest topics for teachers, administrators, and parents of English language learners. Some of the topics explored at this conference are second language acquisition, bilingual education, teacher training, and assessment and accountability.

This association’s mission is to advocate for their nations Bilingual and English language learners and their families and to cultivate a multilingual, multicultural society by supporting and promoting policies, programs, pedagogy, research, and professional development. All of this will, the association states, will yield academic success, value students’ native language, and lead to English proficiency.

NABE members have organized special interest groups within the association. Also known as SIGS, these special interest groups cover all levels of schooling. Some focus on roles within the profession while others are devoted to the education of special populations or interests.  Some of the SIGS listed on the website include Asian and Pacific Islanders SIG, Critical Pedagogy, Dual language Immersion, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, ELL Newcomers and Recent Immigrants, ELL Secondary Education, ESL in Bilingual Education, Gifted, Indigenous Bilingual Education, Instructional Technology, Language Policy, Para Educators, Parent and Community, Policy Makers, Research, Special Education, and World Languages and Cultures. All these SIGS have a chair person and their contact information is listed on the associations’ website.

On their website, this association offers a store where their publication, NABE News, can be purchased. The journal, Bilingual Research Journal, published by the association can also be purchased. Past publications can be viewed online with your membership sign in. Samples are available for individuals who are not members. They also allow advertisement from companies or organizations for a fee. The National Association for Bilingual Education has an annual conference. They just recently held their 40th annual conference in New Orleans, LA on February 16-18, 2011. This conference is one of the largest gatherings of individuals dedicated to serving Bilingual and English language learners in the United States.  Some topics included this year were 21st Century Learning, Title l, Title lll, Pre-school, Dual Immersion, Foreign Languages, English as a Second Language, Sheltered Instruction, Heritage Language Programs, and other approaches for multilingual students from pre-K to grade 16.

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