Quality Professional Development for Teachers of Second Language Learners
This presentation summarizes the findings of two professional development programs, whose aim is to close the achievement gap of second-language students. In 2001, second language learners in the local area scored in the 20th percentile, while all students scored in the 58th percentile. In addition to the findings, examples of the professional development implemented will be shared.
One professional development program is for future teachers in a teacher preparation program and the other is for practicing bilingual teachers in a leadership cadre. While many of the future teachers have experience working with second language learners, they mainly identify being role models as the most important teaching strategy. Many of the future teachers cannot provide examples of concrete methods or teaching strategies to help K-12 students acquire the academic English needed to succeed in school. After the 45-hours of professional development and 60-hours of curriculum development, all future teachers can articulate a framework for designing lessons and can identify specific teaching strategies.
As for the teachers in the leadership cadre the communication of their teaching practices to other teachers at their school site has proved to be a powerful professional development component. It has reduced the isolation found by many teachers in US schools, a deterrent to providing powerful learning experiences for students.
This study illustrates the powerful effects of a quality professional development program, one that uses a pedagogical framework, modeling of teaching strategies, and curriculum development using the framework and teaching strategies learned.
Anita Hernandez (United States)
University Center for Teacher Education
California Polytechnic State University
Anita Hernandez, Assistant Professor at California Polytechnic State University in teacher education. She currently teaches literacy and second language acquisition methods courses to future teachers and research courses to graduate students. She also works with teachers who need to obtain a state certificate to work effectively with second language learners. Project director of a Department of Education Grant: National Professional Development. Doctoral Degree: Stanford University (1999) Education, M.A. Reading Education, Elementary Education Credential.
(30min Paper Presentation, English and/or Spanish)