Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Professional Development

Professional Development is one of those famous buzzwords in the world of education.  It's something teachers are required to do in order to continue their education, stay up-to-date with the latest educational strategies and technology, and just learn!  Since the population of ELLs is growing, professional development opportunities in your school district may be beneficial for everyone.  Better yet, professional development is a way to make sure we are preparing high quality teachers for every student.  

Research has shown that professional development in teaching ELLs will benefit teachers, students, and the entire school district.  These opportunities should focus on topics like the foreign language learning process, pedagogical strategies, technology incorporation, involving ELLs' families, and cultural knowledge.  Additionally, according to the research, these opportunities should include the following characteristics:
  • hands-on demonstrations of teaching techniques
  • duration of more than a year
  • at least 30 contact hours 
  • time for teachers to practice, implement, and reflect on strategies
  • communication between teachers and administrators on the school's needs
  • visible support from administrators.
If all of these characteristics can be fit into a professional development course for mainstream teachers, results will show a more positive school climate, a better learning environment for ELLs, more high qualified and knowledgeable teachers, and ELL success!  Teachers must continue to be the advocates for their ELLs and themselves by communicating with school officials on which types of professional development topics need to be addressed and how the school can work together to create success for all. 

- "Preparing Quality Educators for English Language Learners" by Hersh Waxman.
- "Best Practice in ELL Instruction" by Guofang Li.
- Photo: Bigstock Photos