Archive for the ‘Professional development’ Category

Dear workshop participants:

Erik and I enjoyed discussing how content-area teachers can help reach ELLs with you. Here’s a pdf of the presentation, without photos. If you have any questions or comments, please email me: sova at rider dot edu.

Here are the websites I promised to share:

International Children’s Digital Library

Audiobooks in public domain

And, here’s a link to the NJDOE webpage with information on requirements for exiting ELLs from ESL programs.

Thank you!


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To those who attended, thank you for joining my workshop on using iPods/podcasts in the ESL classroom at the NJTESOL/NJBE conference this year. Here is the presentation pdf.

Please email me if you have questions or information to share: sova at rider dot edu.

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A number of your presentations touched on the use of visuals to facilitate language/literacy acquisition with ELLs (e.g., Monica mentioned that in her district, visuals are at the ESL teacher’s fingertips; Kellie noted that the Spanish teacher labels items around the classroom; Jamie shared that her adult ELL benefited from the visuals/language presented on a lesson about a visit to the doctor’s). This plus the visual math problem Stacey brought up during her presentation today reminded me of a set of strategies that I’ve just recently been introduced to: Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). Have a look at the organization’s website, and see if you can adapt any of these strategies for your (future) ELLs and/or your current students.

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Your requests for videos of best practices in ESL and/or Bilingual Education classrooms have been heard! Visit the Stanford University English Learner Library of Resources for footage on ESL instruction for teachers and in elementary schools. You’ll need to create an account, which is free. Also see the PBS Becoming Bilingual video series on the Colorín Colorado website (lots of great resources on this site for teachers of ELLs, too). And, Annenberg Media (www.learner.org) has video of teaching reading to diverse learners, K–2 as well as teaching foreign language (the link to the latter I also posted on Blackboard).

If you come across any related multimedia, please share!

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Here’s a recent collection of teacher-generated blogs on ESL. Enjoy!

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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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