Posted: 9/15/23

Second Annual Bilingual Education Conference, 'Unidos Para Texas,’ Held at TAMIU


TAMIU Unidos Logo

Some 400+ participants participated in the 2023 Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Second Annual Unidos Para Texas Bilingual Education Conference  Saturday, Sept. 16  at TAMIU’s Student Center.

The Conference theme was "Developing Thriving Teachers,” and some 28 presentations were scheduled across campus in four sessions, in addition to morning and noon distinguished keynote presenters. Participants attended from across the State. 

Conference chair Dr. Gilda Y. Martínez, TAMIU Instructional Assistant Professor, said the initiative was all about advocacy and professional development to advance the capacity to meet the needs of bilingual and multilingual learners. 

“Our mission is to promote advocacy for educational equity and academic excellence for bilingual/multilingual students globally and improve instructional practices for linguistically and culturally diverse children. We aim to provide bilingual educators with high-quality professional development opportunities to meet the needs of bilingual/multilingual learners,” Dr. Martinez explained.

TAMIU Dean of the College of Education, Dr. James O’Meara, said the second annual Conference affirmed the College’s leading regional role in the preparation of bilingual educators for The Texas A&M University System. 

“We are proud to be the leading producer of bilingual teacher candidates in our region and excited to offer this professional growth opportunity to our bilingual education colleagues.  We are leaders in The Texas A&M University System’s We Teach Texas Campaign, and honored to host this Conference once again.  Our session topics were dynamic and our presenters truly inspired attendees,” Dr. O’Meara concluded.

The morning opening session keynote speaker was Dr. Norma Elia Cantú, who presented “Quien hable dos idiomas vale por dos: A Personal Testimonio.”  Dr. Cantú, a Laredo native and daughter of the borderlands, is the Norine R. and T. Frank Murchison Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Trinity University in San Antonio. She is the founder and director of the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa, and organized El Mundo Zurdo, a gathering of Anzalduístas from 2007–2019.

Her most recent publications include two anthologies: Teaching Gloria E. Anzaldúa: Pedagogies and Practices for our Classrooms and our Communities, Mexicana Fashions: Politics, Self-Adornment, and Identity Construction, and Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art; Cabañuelas, a novel, and Meditación Fronteriza: Poems of Love, Life, and Labor.

She serves on the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center Conjunto de Nepantleras and boards of the Macondo Writers Workshop and American Folklore Society as past president. An activist scholar, poet, writer, and folklorist, she has published widely in the field of Chicane Studies and Border Studies. She is Professor Emerita in the Department of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Dr. Patricia Sosa-Sánchez, also originally from Laredo, was the noon luncheon keynote speaker. She presented “Native Language Support: Bridging Comprehension of Academic Language with Translingual Mentor Text.”   Dr. Sosa-Sánchez is an Assistant Professor of Bilingual/English as a Second Language (ESL) at the University of North Texas-Dallas (UNT) and Program Coordinator for the Bilingual/ESL and LOTE programs. She has served in public education for 13 years as a bilingual, dual language, and IB teacher while also an adjunct faculty for both UNT-Denton, and Texas Woman’s University (TWU).

Dr. Sosa-Sánchez's area of research includes Emergent Bilinguals’ reading/writing development in the content areas, ESL and SLA. She is currently engaged in collaborative research with other Texas universities focusing on teacher candidates’ high-quality field experiences. In addition, she has been a practicum- and research-based contributor to districts’ professional development for the betterment of dual language methodologies.

She serves in different roles with the Texas Association of Teacher Education, Texas Association of Bilingual Education, National Association of Bilingual Education, International Literacy Association, Texas Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages, and the Bilingual Educators’ Association of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

For more about the 2023 Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Second Annual Unidos Para Texas Bilingual Education Conference, visit the dedicated website at https://www.tamiu.edu/coedu/unidos/