Collaborative, Hands-on Trainings Crucial for English Language Educators

| EdSource | Betty Márquez Rosales

In a state where 2 in 5 public school students speak languages other than English at home, teachers need more collaborative and hands-on professional development to help bring California’s English learners to proficiency in English, educators and parents agreed during an EdSource roundtable on Thursday.

Teachers on the panel shared experiences of recent professional development they received that made a difference.

This summer, Marina Berry took part in a three-week program meant to accelerate the language proficiency of long-term English learners in fourth to eighth grade while providing a structured, supportive professional development opportunity for educators. The program was designed by the San Joaquin County Office of Education, where Berry teaches, and provided extensive collaboration opportunities.

“We need to be able to have time to collaborate, actually do it, get feedback, talk amongst our peers, and be able to tweak,” said Berry, a first-grade teacher in the Lodi Unified School District who was an English learner herself as a child.

The program’s curriculum is based on California’s English language development standards, which are supposed to guide teachers on how to help students who speak a language other than English at home to build English proficiency.

“I was astonished to see the growth, not just my own, but the growth of the 14 students I had in my classroom,” Berry said.

Such programs are crucial when considering that 70% of teachers nationwide said they didn’t feel fully prepared to meet the needs of English language learners, according to a survey conducted by the English Learners Success Forum, a collaboration of researchers, teachers, district leaders and funders.

Read the full article at EdSource.

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, stands in front of her students while introducing them to the captivating world of science

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, introduces her students to the captivating world of science.

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