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Training Teachers to Work with ELLs Districtwide

The winter 2008 issue of JSD, the journal of the National Staff Development Council, features stories of how several public school districts have trained mainstream teachers to work with ELLs. (The issue is free only to members of the organization and otherwise must be purchased.)

Freeport Public Schools, a school district on Long Island, for example, combined two professional development strategies—lesson study, which originates in Japan, and Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, or SIOP, which resulted from a research project of the Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence. In lesson study, teachers form teams, create lessons together, observe each other teaching the lesson, and reflect on what they observed. With SIOP, teachers use eight guidelines, such as providing visuals, to adapt their regular lessons so they are understandable for ELLS. I've written before about SIOP, but not about lesson study.

By contrast, the Burlington, Vt., school district developed its own districtwide professional-development program for mainstream teachers, which included bringing in guest speakers from the refugee and immigrant communities settling in Burlington, who helped the teachers learn more about the culture of those communities.

I'd like to write more in Education Week about districtwide efforts to improve the education of ELLs. I put out a call a couple of weeks ago in this blog asking for suggestions of districts that have successful programs for ELLs—and I'm still looking for candidates. I'd need to have evidence that the districtwide approach has improved achievement for ELLs.

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