It seems that an increasing number of schools are trying to get all teachers in a school to adapt their teaching methods to better reach English-language learners. The need for systemic approaches to improving the education of ELLs is a theme woven through several articles about such students published in the recent issue of R&D Alert, a newsletter of WestEd.
“EL Expertise: Not Just for Specialists Anymore” tells about a professional development model developed by Aida Walqui, the director of WestEd’s teacher professional development program, and colleagues. Through the model, called Quality Teaching for English Learners, or QTEL, secondary school teachers in every discipline are coached in how to offer high-quality instruction for ELLs. New York City and Austin school districts are among those that have applied the QTEL approaches. In Austin, teachers receive professional development over a period of three years, receiving from 8 to 20 days of training each year. Sometimes teachers work with others who teach the same subject as they do, and other times they work with teachers of different subjects.
“Academic Language: Opening the Gate for English-Learners,” tells about a whole-school professional development model created by WestEd for K-8 teachers. In this case, faculty and administrators attend workshops designed to help them better understand how language works and how to provide explicit instruction in reading and writing that can be applied to different content areas. They also receive on-going coaching. The Bellevue Union School District in California has tried this model.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.