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1AERA 2006 Buscando Voices: Preparing to Work with Second-Language Learners Overcoming Odds: Preparing Bilingual Paraeducators to Teach for Social Justice.

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Presentation on theme: "1AERA 2006 Buscando Voices: Preparing to Work with Second-Language Learners Overcoming Odds: Preparing Bilingual Paraeducators to Teach for Social Justice."— Presentation transcript:

1 1AERA 2006 Buscando Voices: Preparing to Work with Second-Language Learners Overcoming Odds: Preparing Bilingual Paraeducators to Teach for Social Justice Jorge P. Osterling, Ph.D. Leon S. Reed Tuesday, April 11, 2006

2 2AERA 2006 OVERVIEW Over six years 49 bilingual paraeducators enrolled in BIPACAL, a paraeducator-to-teacher career ladder program. 2006, 25 earned Virginia ESOL teaching license. Others continue working as Paraeducators. US Dep. Ed. Title VII Grant T-195E-000044 Bilingual Paraprofessional Career Ladder

3 3AERA 2006 Assumption Increasing the recruitment, preparation and retention of culturally and linguistically diverse teachers, through education programs such as BIPACAL, will have a positive impact in the reduction of both the academic achievement gap and the drop out rates that are currently hurting students of color.

4 4AERA 2006 A research-based, non-traditional teacher education program. Understanding teacher professional development through Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development. Assure highly qualified teachers for ALL students The BIPACAL Model Non-Traditional Teaching Education Program

5 5AERA 2006 A Vygotskian Approach Strengths Model Admission at appropriate level Junior college, undergraduate independent studies, graduate school Credit for work at foreign IHEs and life experience Extensive scaffolding Tutoring in academic English, reading/writing, math, PRAXIS preparations Counseling services Financial support, including tuition, fees, books and a small stipend Induction program (mentoring)

6 6AERA 2006 Partnership of two Northern Virginia IHEs and three LEAs George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College Arlington, Fairfax, and Prince William County public school systems Stimulated by rapid growth in LEP student enrollment and chronic shortages of ESOL teachers Background

7 7AERA 2006 LEP Enrollment in BIPACAL LEAs

8 8AERA 2006 LEP Enrollment in Virginia LEAs

9 9AERA 2006 Paraeducator Voices Minority students need to feel secure in their identity. Providing teachers from minority groups helps to insure that these students feel a sense of pride and most importantly connection. … Minority teachers [also] serve as powerful role models for said students. Paraprofessionals work alongside traditional classroom teachers: they are co-teachers. It would serve to reason that we provide students with highly trained and qualified teachers. Who better than those who have worked side-by-side with certified teachers. It is an investment in education and one that should not be overlooked.

10 10AERA 2006 Participant Profile 49 paraeducators enrolled at one time or another More than 2/3s non-native English speakers, born outside US Average age at the time of admission: 41 All fulltime LEA employees All were nominated by LEAs LEAs agreed to provide flexible work schedules and early release for classes IHEs agreed to admit all nominees But graduates must meet academic English, PRAXIS requirements

11 11AERA 2006 Research Questions Roles and responsibilities of IHEs/LEAs Communication between LEAs and IHEs Problems experienced by BIPACAL participants Impact of IHE and LEA support programs on probability of success Impact of student characteristics (e.g., academic English at the time of enrollment)

12 12AERA 2006 Methodology Review of program records Memoranda, progress reports, student case files, MOUs Interviews with key stakeholders IHAEs: Admissions, BIS/GRE faculty, tutors, mentors LEAs: LEA and school officials Paraeducators Questionnaire to paraeducators

13 13AERA 2006 Findings Positive Aspects Strong IHE/LEA partnership Recruitment and selection process Admission process Flexible curriculum Financial, academic, and personal support mechanisms

14 14AERA 2006 Findings Frustrations/Issues Feelings of academic inadequacy Academic English requirements Test anxiety (PRAXIS-I) Job/family/school conflicts Overload and stress Lack of local school buy-in to LEA/IHE agreements about paraeducator work schedules Despite being anticipated, most problems that affected other career ladder programs also occurred with BIPACAL

15 15AERA 2006 Findings Program was initially controversial within Mason, but proved successful Path is difficult, even with strong institutional support 25/49 are currently certified 7 others still taking classes Overwhelming sentiment that BIPACAL experience was extremely positive 17 dropped out for one reason or another 10 left for academic reasons (GPA, TOEFL, PRAXIS) Four left for personal reasons (two of whom had already passed PRAXIS) Three never integrated into the program (academic/workload issues) Most dropouts still working in their original jobs

16 16AERA 2006 Summary Even though the sponsors anticipated them, problems experienced by past career ladder programs occurred IHE support programs (English/math tutoring, counseling, etc.) were very important in success of participants School-student conflicts were a problem, but did not play a major role in any student failures Lack of academic English was an almost insurmountable problem

17 17AERA 2006 Novice Teacher Voices I truly believe that I as a person, mother and educator have changed for the better because of my participation in the BIPACAL program. … I know that I can do what I set my mind and body to do. It has helped me become aware of current research in the area of culturally and linguistically diverse population and how these factors impact learning in the American school culture. It has made me even more empathetic to the needs of ESOL students, the need for good educators and more respect for cultural diversity. The program gave me the tools I needed to effectively teach ELL students as much as serving as their advocate.

18 18AERA 2006 Jorge P. Osterling, Ph.D. Director BIPACAL, A Title VII Paraeducator Career Ladder Grant (703) 993-8136 Leon S. Reed BIPACAL, A Title VII Career Ladder Grant Prince William County Public Schools College of Education and Human Development George Mason University Fairfax, VA Contact Information

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