A long-standing leader in the fields of linguistics, education, and instruction for language-minority students, the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) supports the academic achievement of English learner (EL) students in K–12 schools. With this Teacher Practice Networks grant, CAL is maintaining its national network of teachers, as well as developing new teacher leaders in Massachusetts and New York. The teacher leaders are creating and disseminating professional learning projects that support content-area teachers’ implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS)-aligned sheltered instruction that meets the language- and content-learning needs of EL students.
Strategies for Advancing Common Core
CAL is developing 40 teacher leaders, all currently teaching EL students, to lead networks of middle and high school teachers in improving content-area instruction for EL students. CAL teacher leaders facilitate learning events in which teachers collaborate on CCSS-aligned tools, frameworks, and instructional strategies, as well as EL-relevant, content-appropriate pedagogy. Through face-to-face, video, and online-learning events, teachers exchange projects adapted for EL students and learn practical strategies for improving instruction. Teacher leaders utilize a dynamic platform, ObaVerse, to conduct forums and online learning on topics relevant to improving instructional support for EL students.
To reach a broader audience with instructional strategies that support EL students, teacher leaders and CAL repurpose materials to present at conferences and disseminate on social media (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Linkedin). This content provides another much needed source of ready-to-use, CCSS-based instructional materials that are adapted to support EL students.
Teacher Leadership Capacity
Teacher leaders participate in their own state-based professional learning communities to develop leadership skills and increase knowledge of sheltered instructional methods for supporting the learning needs of EL students. In addition, CAL has two community-based liaisons, who specialize in language learning and work with teacher leaders, modeling and facilitating rich, interactive learning activities to sustain teacher engagement. Guided by the liaisons, teacher leaders learn to facilitate virtual hangout sessions and face-to-face workshops focused on modifying mini-tasks from the Literacy Design Collaborative and the Mathematics Design Collaborative. They gain knowledge of EL-appropriate pedagogy and, in turn, share ideas, strategies, and adaptations with their teacher networks through videos, webinars, and online coaching. To increase teacher reach, CAL helps teacher leaders with video development and production.
CAL has partnered with two community-based liaisons—Confianza, LLC (Massachusetts) and Questar BOCES Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (New York)—to directly support teacher leaders in each state. These liaison organizations have expertise and on-the-ground experience with education policy and instruction for EL students. Additionally, the liaison organizations conduct professional learning focused on effective instruction of EL students, and they help facilitate teachers’ outreach plans.
CAL is also supported by Fitchburg Public Schools in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Education, and the Capital District region of New York, as well as the Literacy Design Collaborative (which promotes teacher-developed, EL-appropriate mini-tasks), and the University of Oregon (which provides its educator online platform).
Center for Applied Linguistics
4646 40th Street NW
Washington, DC 20016
Sarah Catherine K. Moore, Program Director
Learn more about the 2013 – 2015 initiative of the Center for Applied Linguistics.