Starting October 3, Understanding Language will offer three online professional development courses sponsored by the Gates Foundation and S.H. Cowell Foundation to impact instructional practice, programs, and policy in order to create more meaningful learning experiences for language learners. There are two strands available for participants – one focused on instruction and the other on leadership. (Download and Share Courses Flyer)
The College-and-Career Ready standards emphasize improving the quality of student-to-student discourse as a major feature of instruction. The new standards specifically describe the importance of students understanding the reasoning of others and engaging in meaningful conversations using evidence for claims. Yet this type of student-to-student interaction tends to be rare in classrooms. Common classroom teaching activities such as whole class discussions, jigsaws, and think-pair-shares can have the appearance of constructive interactions, but they often do not provide adequate opportunities for all students to engage in back-and-forth dialog. This course looks closely at student-to-student conversations and addresses ways to improve students' abilities to engage in the types of interactions described in the new standards. We will also examine the use of formative assessment as an instructional practice to gauge where your students are in their learning by gathering evidence of their learning, assessing the evidence, and planning the next steps in instruction.
The main goal of this course is to support mathematics teachers in getting better at hearing, seeing, and supporting students' English language development in the context of mathematical reasoning. Here we will provide a framework for organizing strategies and special considerations to support English language learners in learning both mathematics and academic uses of language. This framework is intended to help teachers address the specialized academic language demands in math when planning and delivering lessons, including the demands of reading, writing, speaking, listening, conversing, and representing in math. The course includes instructional activities and routines to be used across lessons and units to meet the linguistic and cultural needs of English learners and other students who struggle with the language demands of learning math. Even though listening, speaking, reading, writing, and conversing are highly intertwined and interdependent, often happening in one lesson, we have chosen to emphasize them separately in this course's sessions, in order to build up your expertise in each one.
This course is designed to support educational leaders in driving educational change for English Learner (EL) students in California. Participants are guided through a process of examining existing systemic thinking and structures around the education of English Learners, using tools to look more deeply at practices for ELs, and developing or refining a plan to propel systemic change and shift practices. The overall goal is for participating educators to better understand ELs in their context, including their schooling experiences, needs, and successes, and use what they learn to design and implement higher quality educational experiences that build disciplinary knowledge and skills. Participants will hear from both experts in the field as well as from district leaders on how LCAP/LCFF can be used to drive systemic improvements in the education of English learners. Although this course is specifically focused on the California context, educators from outside California will benefit from participating and are welcome to attend!
Instruction and leadership-focused Courses
We held an informational webinar on August 22 that provided additional information about all of our instruction and leadership-focused courses.
Hybrid Professional Development Approaches
In addition, our experience shows that the most successful online course completion rates are achieved when participants collaborate in face-to-face settings between the online sessions, such as in organized professional learning communities or during after-school meetings led by district coaches. We hosted an additional webinar on August 23rd that shared ways that districts can configure hybrid professional development approaches to increase participation and completion rates.
Offered by New York State Education Department’s Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages, this hybrid-learning initiative supports NY district leaders and leadership teams to improve district systems and foster ELL/MLL success. This two-year professional learning opportunity is led by WestEd and Stanford University, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
See Information and application materials here: