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George Mason Universitys Bilingual Career Ladder Teacher Training Program A Look Back at the First Year (2000-2001) Jorge P. Osterling Wendy Tse Megan.

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Presentation on theme: "George Mason Universitys Bilingual Career Ladder Teacher Training Program A Look Back at the First Year (2000-2001) Jorge P. Osterling Wendy Tse Megan."— Presentation transcript:

1 George Mason Universitys Bilingual Career Ladder Teacher Training Program A Look Back at the First Year ( ) Jorge P. Osterling Wendy Tse Megan J. Kelly

2 Introduction As the second year of the BCLTTP gets underway, the program can only benefit from an assessment of the following: What are the lessons learned after the first year of the BCLTTP; Is the BCLTTP meeting its national, regional, and local program objectives; How can the BCLTTP be replicated in other regions?

3 The Process of Becoming a Teacher: A Freirian Action Research Project

4 Empowering Paraeducators Paulo Freire (1970) refers to Critical Pedagogy as a means to empower an individual by providing the opportunity to pursue self-affirmation as a responsible person (p. 37). The BCLTTP is based on this transformative, liberating approach to education: Praxis = Reflection + Action

5 The Bilingual Career Ladder Teacher Training Program: A Critical Pedagogy Approach

6 The Program Rationale The critical shortage of ESOL teachers in the three Northern Virginia school divisions – Arlington, Fairfax, and Prince William. The rapidly changing demographics of the student population within these school divisions. The expanding academic achievement gap of culturally and linguistically diverse students.

7 The Achievement Gap Percentage of students who graduated from high school (U.S. Census, 1999):

8 The Achievement Gap Percentage of students who graduated from high school in 1999 (U.S. Census): 86% of Total Student Population (includes all ethnic groups); 91% of White Students; 84% of Black Students; 63% of Hispanic Students.

9 The Achievement Gap The causes of the achievement gap are both linguistic and sociocultural. What measures can be taken to effectively close the achievement gap? What will the statistics be for the year 2020, when it is projected that 1 in 5 students in the United States will be of Hispanic origin (U.S. Census, 1999)?

10 A Program Overview Program: Partnership between GMU (GSE, NCC, BIS), NVCC, and Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William school divisions. Participants: Bilingual paraeducators with at least three (3) years of experience who have been nominated by their school divisions. Pathway: Professional development through the completion of seven (7) graduate-level courses, which lead to ESOL licensure.

11 The Initial Objectives Objective 1: To establish a program to recruit, train, and support thirty (30) bilingual paraeducators to become ESOL teachers. Objective 2: To promote all paraeducators into teaching positions within five (5) years. Objective 3: To provide induction services during the paraeducators first year as licensed teachers.

12 Developing a Teacher Training Model: Reflections on a Work in Progress

13 Action Research Questions What differences exist between a bilingual career ladder teacher training program as compared to a traditional teacher training program?

14 Action Research Questions How can Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) and Local Educational Agencies (LEA) work together to design a career ladder teacher training program that will best serve the participating paraeducators?

15 Reflecting on Lessons Learned: Identifying the Paraeducators

16 Profile of a Paraeducator Paraeducators are cultural brokers who: Successfully navigate in more than one culture (both through immigration and international experiences); Have experience learning one or more languages; Share similar funds of knowledge as their diverse students (Moll, Vygotsky); Bring a multicultural perspective to the classroom.

17 Profile of a Paraeducator Paraeducators are dedicated and experienced individuals who: Appreciate the value of education; Have proven their commitment to the teaching profession; Bring years of experience working with children, and collaborating with different teachers and teaching styles, in a classroom setting.

18 Profile of a Paraeducator Paraeducators are motivated individuals who: Have returned to an academic environment in pursuit of professional development goals (i.e., self-affirmation); Are enthusiastic about adding theoretical knowledge to their practical knowledge base regarding pedagogy and language learning; Juggle schedules of work and academic classes, as well as fulfill economic responsibilities and family obligations.

19 Professional Experience Paraeducators currently occupy the following positions within the school divisions: Teacher Assistants; Resource Assistants; Parent Liaisons; Interpreters; Provisionally-licensed, Full-time Teachers. In most cases, paraeducators are working directly with members of the community.

20 Countries of Origin Afghanistan – 1Argentina – 1 Bolivia – 5Brazil – 1 El Salvador – 5Guatemala – 1 Peru – 4Portugal -- 1 United States – 6 Viet Nam -- 2

21 The Progress Thus Far Group A: Participants who are currently enrolled in the Graduate School of Education (GSE). Group B: Participants who are eligible to gain admission to GSE by the end of year two. Group C: Participants who are working towards an undergraduate degree by the end of year two. Group D: Former program participants, or those who are under academic probation.

22 Acting on Lessons Learned: Accommodating the Paraeducators

23 Support Structures Academic Support Financial Support Additional Support

24 Academic Support: Academic English Constraints: All participants have solid basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS), or social language, through informal acquisition; Some participants are lacking cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP) - which poses difficulties for passing the TOEFL and PRAXIS-I exams, and completing required academic coursework.

25 Academic Support: Academic English Accommodations: Implementing special CALP language courses to meet needs of participants (i.e., ENGL 302 and intensive summer course; Establishing individualized tutorial services in Math and English for students preparing to take the PRAXIS exam.

26 Academic Support: Transcripts Constraints: Some participants transcripts from international colleges and universities are not fully recognized by IHE in the United States; Some participants have interrupted schooling experiences (i.e., have not taken academic courses for 10 or more years).

27 Academic Support: Transcripts Accommodations: Facilitating and covering the costs of transcript evaluations; Awarding credit to some participants for previous life and work experiences; Providing individualized placement for participants at both NVCC and GMU/NCC/BIS.

28 Financial Support Constraints: All participants have demanding schedules in which they must fulfill professional, academic, and family obligations; All participants need to work full time as paraeducators in order to provide economic support for their families.

29 Financial Support Accommodations: Covering the costs of tuition and fees, books, and other academic materials; Providing monthly stipends to cover miscellaneous expenses, such as transportation and child care.

30 Additional Support Constraints: Some participants are acclimatizing to being a student in a university environment after having an interrupted academic career; Some participants are adjusting to the demands of an American grading system; Some participants lack knowledge of the comprehensive services provided by universities in the United States.

31 Additional Support Accommodations: Counseling services provided to alleviate the emotional stress of being overburdened and overwhelmed; Acquainting participants to the university system through an orientation process; Developing a peer mentoring network between the participants at the university level.

32 Preliminary Conclusions The BCLTTP, inspired by Freire, must take into consideration the personal and academic backgrounds of the paraeducators. In order to accommodate the individual strengths and needs of each paraeducator, the BCLTTP must offer flexible pathways towards licensure. The BCLTTP must be multicultural in approach in order to recognize the diverse perspectives and life experiences of all the paraeducators.

33 A Question for You How could the Bilingual Career Ladder Teacher Training Program better serve your needs?

34 A Final Thought We believe in you. Its not too late. We will invest the time and money. Its possible for you to do it. Somebodys going to give you a chance to prove yourself (Anonymous).

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