National Bilingual Education Expert Dr. Maria Franquiz to Speak at Baylor

  • Centennial Lecture
  • Maria Franquiz
    Maria Franquiz, Ph.D., a national expert on bilingual education and professor at the University of Utah College of Education, will deliver the Centennial Lecture for the Baylor School of Education, co-sponsored by the Baylor Office of the Vice Provost for Research, at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, in Packard Auditorium (101) of the Marrs McLean Science Building.
Feb. 12, 2019

SOE Contact: Meg Cullar, Baylor School of Education, 254-710-6435
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WACO, Texas (Feb. 12, 2019) – Maria Franquiz, Ph.D., a national expert on bilingual education and professor at the University of Utah College of Education, has chosen a Baylor University-related theme of “Illuminate” for her Feb. 19 campus lecture, “Illuminating the World Through the Gift of Bilingualism.”

“The theme to ‘Illuminate’ is beautiful. It allows us to see what is familiar while at the same time widening our seeing to what is unfamiliar. This broader view can offer new insights for becoming our best selves,” she said.

Franquiz will deliver the Centennial Lecture for the Baylor School of Education, co-sponsored by the Baylor Office of the Vice Provost for Research, at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, in Packard Auditorium (101) of the Marrs McLean Science Building, 1214 S. Fourth St., on the Baylor campus.

As a nationally recognized scholar in literacy studies, Franquiz’s expertise is in bilingual education. In addition to her role as professor, for the past 10 years she has been the lead editor of the Bilingual Research Journal, the premier research journal in bilingual education. She also has published two books on migrant education and Latino Studies, as well as numerous scholarly articles in prestigious journals.

“Bilingualism is about illuminating our lives,” she said. “Bilingual education is learning to see in new ways, expanding our vision, and seeing through the eyes of others.”

Franquiz’s academic pursuit of bilingual and multicultural education grew out of her own diverse schooling experiences. A native of Puerto Rico, she moved with her military family to North Carolina in the third grade, which is where she learned English.

“There was no such thing as bilingual education,” she said. “The teacher was very kind in assigning me a buddy who helped me understand what the expectations were. But it was the old sink-or-swim method, and I’m really grateful that I came out swimming.”

When the family moved to El Paso, she discovered that neither her non-standard English from North Carolina nor her Puerto Rican Spanish was good enough at school.

“I found myself critiqued whenever I spoke,” she said.

Later the family moved to Germany, where Franquiz attended Department of Defense schools and then to California, where she graduated from high school. By then, she said, her heritage language of Spanish was lost and had to be reacquired in college.

Franquiz’s personal experience with language and culture have ingrained in her a deep compassion for the social struggles that emerging bilingual children can experience as they master language — whether it is English proficiency or proficiency in their heritage language or both. Franquiz’s vision of bilingual education is truly multicultural, embracing diversity as a gift to self, family and the community at large.

It is common in the United States to think of bilingual education as transitioning students toward becoming monolingual English speakers, Franquiz said. However, there are other models that promote becoming proficient in English and the heritage language. She advocates for more flexible approaches to bilingual education that treasure and build literacy using two or more languages and cultures.

“Texas is unusual in that students may have a co-ethnic experience; this means a Mexican student is likely to have a teacher of Mexican heritage sometime in their schooling experience,” she said. “Because that teacher may have been raised monolingually, reclaiming her or his own language, culture, history and traditions is critical,” Franquiz said. “Ultimately, it’s not necessarily who teaches the child, but how — whether the child is valued as having unique gifts and if the child’s family is valued for what they can provide to the school community.”

School of Education Interim Dean Terrill Saxon, Ph.D., said that Franquiz’s approach to multi-culturalism and bilingual education is a perfect fit for the School’s Centennial Lecture.

“As we celebrate the past and look to the future, it’s important for our students and community to learn about cutting-edge approaches to embracing the growing diversity of students in our schools,” he said. “Dr. Franquiz is a nationally renowned scholar and thinker who also has significant experience preparing teacher candidates for diverse classrooms. The future teachers and leaders that we are training at Baylor will benefit greatly from the time that Dr. Franquiz will spend here.”

During her time in Waco, Franquiz also will give presentations at Education Service Center Region 12, meet with Baylor education students and tour local school campuses.

Baylor’s academic strategic plan, Illuminate, has set the University on a path toward preeminence as a Christian research university, while building on Baylor’s historic strengths and strategically investing in new areas of research and service.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

ABOUT THE BAYLOR SCHOOL OF EDUCATION

Founded in 1919, Baylor School of Education ranks among the nation’s top 20 education schools located at private universities. The School’s research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice. Visit www.baylor.edu/soe to learn more.

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