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Exhibit, film, and brown bag discussion planned to explore topics of English Language Learners, the refugee crisis, and reading beyond your comfort zone

Milner Library will host TELL (Tales of English Language Learners), an exhibit created collaboratively by Illinois State University students enrolled in School of Teaching and Learning and School of Art Graphic Design courses. This exhibit features stories of English Language Learners (ELLs) in Bloomington/Normal schools and at Illinois State University.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2016), students identified as ELLs are the fastest growing student population in the United States. The Center for Public Education (2012) reports that ELLs will comprise nearly 40 percent of the K-12 population by 2030.  As more schools in non-urban settings such as Bloomington/Normal are welcoming ELLs who are refugees, asylum seekers, and unaccompanied minors, finding ways to support this heterogeneous group’s integration and acculturation is a pressing need, according to Rabia Hos, assistant professor in bilingual education in the School of Teaching and Learning.

TELL displays the journeys of students through their stories, cultural traditions, challenges, and dreams for the future. Professors Rabia Hos and Alice Lee are thrilled to bring TELL to fruition.

“Being an immigrant myself, it has been an invaluable experience to collaborate interdisciplinary to celebrate how immigrants and refugees have been a vital part of our communities throughout history and how our community at large can become more informed participants by exploring their stories,” states Hos.  “I believe that this exhibit will bring more visibility of ELLs in our community so that we can build bridges of understanding.”

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Alice Lee added, “It’s a great opportunity for our students to learn about the variety of experiences that make up our communities and in turn create a collection of stories from which others can learn.”

The exhibit seeks to reduce misconceptions and prejudice about the faces and voices of ELLs in our community and aspires to raise public awareness and create positive dialogue about ELLs.

“I believe that this exhibit will bring more visibility of ELLs in our community so that we can build bridges of understanding. “

Each ELL story is a combination of determination, hope, and challenges. It is more important than ever to share the stories of ELLs through which we can understand better and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience.

TELL opens April 6 and runs through May 14 on Floor 2 at Milner Library. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, April 12 from 5–7 p.m.

Other events are occurring simultaneously to the TELL exhibit:

HUMAN FLOW – April 9, 2018, at 7 p.m. Normal Theater

In addition to the exhibit, the Illinois State University chapter of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) will sponsor a free showing of Human Flow on Monday, April 9 at 7 p.m.

Over 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change, and war in the greatest human displacement since World War II. Human Flow, an epic film journey led by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, gives a powerful visual expression to this massive human migration. The documentary elucidates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact.

After the film, a panel of refugees and educators from the Bloomington-Normal area will discuss how our community is responding to the refugee crisis.

Reading Without Walls Brown Bag Discussion – April 26, 2018, at 12 p.m. Milner Library, Floor 2

Reading Without Walls is an annual nationwide reading program encouraging students to read books that they wouldn’t normally choose on their own. This means reading a broad variety of titles with different themes and diverse authors, content, formats, settings, characters, and subjects.

The Illinois State University RSO chapter of Educators Rising will host a Brown Bag discussion on April 26 at noon at Milner Library. A panel of faculty and students will discuss the importance of reading beyond one’s “comfort zone”, as well as the significance of exploring books that represent our diverse society. Cookies and lemonade will be provided.

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