Fireside Charla with SDSU President Adela de la Torre


March 1, 2020

#015 - The Bilingualism Advantage: The Promise of Bilingualism and Biliteracy

Episode Summary:

Today we are here to discuss the importance of bilingualism and biliteracy development, an area of teaching and research in which SDSU is a national leader. More specifically, we will explore why bilingualism and biliteracy offer today’s students and graduates a competitive advantage, given today’s culturally and linguistically diverse global society. Also, we will learn what SDSU is doing to meet the high demand for bilingual teachers. 

Joining me today is Dr. Cristina Alfaro, a leading expert in dual language education, Jose Sabedra, a promising young leader and a product of dual language education, and his parents, Edith and Jose, who have been critical advocates for bilingualism and success.

Approximate running time: 25:55
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Transcript available

“We are proud to say San Diego county has been a lead in the state of California in offering dual language programs.” -Alfaro

“As a matter of fact, we [SDSU]  have always been the largest bilingual teacher preparation program in the state and the nation now because the program has increased.” -Alfaro

“The benefits of being bilingual can expand your mind. And basically your mind is like a parachute. And when you learn more and more it starts to open. So what you gotta do is you gotta expand your mind, learn more languages, being bilingual.” - Jose Sebedra Jr.

“So the research now shows many many positive effects of having a dual language education.” -Dr. Alfaro

About Dr. Adela de la Torre

Dr. Adela de la Torre joined San Diego State University in June 2018, as the first woman and Latina president. She brings 30 years of service and leadership roles within institutions of higher education and shares these experiences with open arms. She has two daughters who are both married, a grandson, a husband, and three dogs! Adela discusses the challenges she faced in college, her mentors, her heart-led leadership style, and her vision to help all types of students at SDSU feel confident in their goals. 

About Cristina Alfaro 

Cristina Alfaro, Ph.D., is a professor in the College of Education at San Diego State University (SDSU). She earned her doctorate degree, in Teacher Preparation for Multilingual Learners, from the Claremont and San Diego State University joint graduate program. Dr. Alfaro teaches credential and graduate level courses where her work focuses on preparing teachers in the area of English language and Biliteracy development with a global perspective. She has two decades of experience in directing both local and international teacher education programs in California, Mexico, and Europe. Dr. Alfaro is the recipient of the College of Education 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award. Her background as an elementary biliteracy teacher in ethno and linguistically diverse communities, has served her well in preparing teachers to teach students how to critically read the word and the world.

About Jose Sebedra

Jose Sebedra is a 4th-grade student at Bostonia Language Academy in El Cajon.  At a very early age with the help of his first-grade teacher, Jose discovered his love for public speaking.  Jose has been very passionate about speaking and sharing on different topics that currently affect our community and making our world a better place.