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Archive for January, 2010

We didn’t have a chance to read and discuss Dr. Susan Glazer’s Diversity: Do We Really Do It? in class. As you read the article, think about these questions:

  • Is educational equity an achievable goal? Is it a goal teachers—and administrators—strive for?
  • How can we provide culturally appropriate, diverse, individualized instruction and assessment when high stakes, standardized testing is mandated?
  • How do you “do” diversity in your classrooms? In your daily lives?

Post your answers, comments, questions here.

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I’ve been thinking about the question Elyse posed in our first class, which went something like: Why don’t school administrators and districts provide suitable professional development for mainstream teachers of ELLs and promote a culture- and language-inclusive educational environment? I responded that we need to be the change agents, i.e., enable our schools and the greater district to see the need for such development (which is otherwise frequently neglected/overlooked). By becoming advocates for ELLs, staying abreast of language-learning theory and ESL policy and practices, and sharing this information with administrators, we could facilitate a change in school culture. I started poking around on the web, to see what others have to say about this, and came across a relevant report from NCELA (National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition), Educating English Language Learners: Building Teacher Capacity. The authors note that 74% of teachers have not had any ESL-related training as staff development (!). So, there is a problem here: Why are schools/districts hesitant (or unable, or unwilling) to provide ESL-related workshops/development opportunities?

Given the fact that the training of teachers lags behind the realities of the classroom…misconceptions and feelings of unpreparedness are unsurprising. The recent increase in ELLs in U.S. classrooms has been rapid, and teacher education and professional development has not yet caught up with the demographic shift. There is a pressing need for education for teachers at all stages in their careers which aims to prepare or upgrade teachers’ knowledge and skills in order to close the achievement gap between linguistic minority students and their native English speaking peers (p. 10).

The article then provides a guide for program development, aligned with NCATE and NSDC (National Staff Development Council) standards.

All this to say that there IS a resource available that you can share with your administrators to request ESL-related professional development. Et, violà! I posted it to course documents on Blackboard. Skim, search, read, review the report and share your thoughts here.

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