Enhancing the ESL Knowledge and Instructional Capacity of In-Service Elementary Teachers in Hawaii
This presentation examines the results of a project aimed at training K-6 in-service teachers in Hawai’i, U.S., in the area of English as a Second Language (ESL). The objectives of the project are 1) to provide fundamental disciplinary knowledge to teachers about second language development and multicultural education, and 2) to train teachers about valid and effective teaching practices for English as a Second Language Learners (ESLLs). Targeted teachers participate in intensive and sustained in-service professional development activities such as: 1) two tuition-free university courses accredited towards federal mandate for ESL accreditation, 2) one-to-one in-class work with Second Language Studies graduate students, and 3) bi-weekly working meetings with other teachers, university faculty, and graduate students to examine and critique ongoing classroom work and developments. To study the impact of the project on teachers’ ESL instructional practices, we measure teachers’ practices before, during, and after the projected interventions; via course assessments, exams, and classroom observations. ESL learners’ development is assessed by analyzing data from student products, classroom assessment, and external standardized tests. Our analysis provides information on: 1) changes in teacher practices and student performance as a result of this training, 2) the most effective teaching and instructional strategies to help ESL learners perform well, and 3) suggestions for how best to organize professional development for teachers in the area of ESL. Because of the increasing population of ESL learners in many countries around the world, this paper will be useful to others designing professional development policies for teachers of ESL learners.
Keywords: Professional Development for ESL Teachers, Effective ESL Teaching Practices, ESL Learning
Dr. Eva Ponte
Assisstant Professor, Institute for Teacher Education