The New Jersey Department of Education has started a new podcast designed to educate teachers and other school staff who work with English-language learners.
Podcast host Kenneth Bond, who works as the program development coordinator for the New Jersey department’s Bureau of Bilingual/ESL Education, promises bite-sized conversation about ELL policy and practice. Each episode has run 15 to 20 minutes.
“Everyone we’ve interviewed has really had great things to say and it’s been fun to get their perspective,” Bond said.
Through three episodes, his guests have included Tim Boals, the founder and executive director of the World Class Instructional Design and Assessment Consortium, or WIDA. The consortium is a group of education agencies in nearly 40 states, including New Jersey and the Bureau of Indian Education, that share common-core aligned English-language proficiency standards and assessments for English-language learners.
Bond has also discussed the importance of equity for ELLs with Karen Campbell, the director of the New Jersey education department’s office of supplemental education program, and explores best practices for working with newcomer ELLs with Yasmin Hernandez-Manno, executive county superintendent for New Jersey’s Mercer and Middlesex counties.
The department hopes to add a new episode every two to three weeks to look at “specific areas that educators might be interested to learn more about,” Bond said.
New Jersey is home to an estimated 70,000 public school English-language learners. Roughly 75 percent of the students are native Spanish speakers; every other language group represents 2 percent of the population or less.
Educators in the Garden State are the target audience for the podcast, but Bond hopes to attract educators from around the country as well.
“Every single teacher who works with English-learners in our state and anyone else who wants to listen should understand that we want to ensure that all English-language learners are able to get an equitable education and really succeed in school,” he said.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.