Developing a Training Program for Secondary Teachers of English Language Learners in Ohio

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    Developing a Training Program forSecondary Teachers of English LanguageLearners in OhioKaren L. Newman a , Keiko Samimy a & Kathleen Romstedt aa School of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State UniversityPublished online: 15 Apr 2010.

    To cite this article: Karen L. Newman , Keiko Samimy & Kathleen Romstedt (2010) Developing aTraining Program for Secondary Teachers of English Language Learners in Ohio, Theory Into Practice,49:2, 152-161, DOI: 10.1080/00405841003641535

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  • Theory Into Practice, 49:152161, 2010

    Copyright The College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University

    ISSN: 0040-5841 print/1543-0421 online

    DOI: 10.1080/00405841003641535

    Karen L. NewmanKeiko SamimyKathleen Romstedt

    Developing a Training Programfor Secondary Teachers of EnglishLanguage Learners in Ohio

    This article addresses a program model de-

    veloped to address the professional develop-

    ment needs of content teachers who work with

    English language learners (ELLs) and offers

    recommendations for teachers, administrators,

    school districts, state agencies, and institutions

    of higher education, to address job-embedded

    professional development needs. The model is

    based on the authors daily work with content

    and ESL teachers and administrators throughout

    a Midwestern state that has seen recent growth in

    ELLs, as well as on findings from the literature

    Karen L. Newman is an assistant professor, Keiko

    Samimy is a professor, and Kathleen Romstedt is a

    clinical educator and M.Ed. program manager, all in

    the School of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State


    Correspondence should be addressed to Karen L.

    Newman, School of Teaching and Learning, 333 Arps

    Hall, 1945 N. High St., The Ohio State University,

    Columbus, OH 43210. E-mail:

    and a needs assessment survey they conducted

    with content teachers. Teachers cite inadequacy

    of current knowledge and services, a need for

    specialized professional development, and issues

    of accessibility. Therefore, those who wish to en-

    courage teacher professional development, create

    resources to improve teachers ability to deliver

    academic content to ELLs, or develop training

    programs, must take into account teachers needs

    vis--vis their willingness to engage in profes-

    sional development.


    learners (ELLs) in Ohios secondary schools

    has been steadily increasing over the last two

    decades, with marked increases paralleling na-tional demographic shifts. According to the Ohio

    Department of Educations (ODE) Lau Resource

    Center (personal communication) and official





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  • Newman, Samimy, Romstedt Training Secondary Teachers of English Language Learners

    ODE enrollment statistics (2008), in the aca-

    demic year 20052006, 28,937 ELLs were en-rolled at both the primary and secondary levels,

    representing 1.6% of the overall Ohio student

    enrollment. In the school year 20062007, the

    number increased to 31,711, a nearly 10% in-

    crease over the previous school year, with ap-proximately 11,000 ELLs enrolled at the sec-

    ondary level. This number represents an increase

    of 124% over the number reported 10 years

    prior, in 19951996. Ohios ELLs speak over 110

    different home languages1 and come from newor established immigrant families (predominantly

    from Spanish-speaking countries), secondary mi-

    grants to Ohio from other states, migrant agri-

    cultural families, and refugees who have sought

    legal asylum in the United States, since Ohio

    and its capital, Columbus, are designated refugeeresettlement sites.

    ELLs bring a wide variety in level and extent

    of prior formal educational experiences along

    with limited English proficiency, which present

    further challenges to helping teachers and stu-dents meet academic standards. The academic

    stakes are much higher for ELLs at the secondary

    level, because in Ohio, all students must pass the

    Ohio Graduation Test to obtain a high school

    diploma. Although many Ohio school districts

    have designated ESL teachers and programs,most have no program of support for content

    teachers to assist ELLs in meeting the states

    standards of academic achievement. In short,

    content teachers have a need for extensive profes-

    sional development in pedagogical methods andpractices that have proven efficacy for ELLs.

    In our work as teacher educators at Ohio State

    University, we are acutely aware of students and

    teachers needs for ESL instruction. Our daily

    contact with preservice and in-service contentand ESL teachers, as well as with administrators

    in school districts (superintendents, curriculum

    directors, ESL specialists), and our research into

    teachers needs, reveal many core issues. We took

    these issues into account as we sought to better

    understand and address the training needs of con-tent teachers, and to assist us in working toward

    expanding the knowledge base, dispositions, and,

    ultimately, the number of teachers qualified to

    Figure 1. Application of findings to creation of train-

    ing program.

    work with ELLs through an in-service teacher

    professional development program that we de-

    veloped. In this article, we discuss findings from

    results from our review of the literature, our pro-fessional intuition, and a needs analysis survey

    that we conducted to assess teachers needs, and

    we address implications for creating in-service

    training programs for secondary content teachers

    of ELLs, where such training has been lacking.

    Developing a Training Program

    We developed a training program for in-

    service secondary-level teachers through the sup-

    port of a $1.5 million U.S. Department of Educa-

    tion grant from the Office of English LanguageAcquisition. We attempted to address as many of

    the needs that we had documented, with regard

    to new and existing resources. Figure 1 offers

    a visual representation of how we approached

    the creation of our training program. Program

    development grew out of our findings from areview of the literature and a needs assessment

    survey that we developed, which further informed

    the reciprocal interaction of logistics, program

    content, and collaboration.

    Literature Review

    Content and ESL Teacher Collaboration

    As part of our interest in understanding teach-

    ers needs for in-service training programs and





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  • Integrating English Language Learners in Content Classes

    applying our findings, we reviewed professional

    development models for teacher learning, col-laboration, and partnership to understand con-

    temporary issues in ESL teacher professional

    development. Professional development typically

    consists of in-services or workshops of varying

    length, often of the one-shot variety, in which anoutside expert is invited to present information

    to teachers on a particular issue or topic. How-

    ever, the National Staff Development Council

    (2001) has advocated that in-service training be

    sustained and continuous, rather than brief anddecontextualized, and promote learning commu-

    nities and collaboration. Recognizing the ineffec-

    tiveness of top-downmodels, many programs, in-

    stead, incorporate elements of collaborative pro-

    fessional development and job-embedded train-

    ing into their designs.Furthermore, Vygotskys (1978) notion of so-

    cial constructivism, along with developments in

    cognitive psychology and sociocultural theories

    of learning, have played a major role in the shift

    from top-down models of education to bottom-up models, whereby learners, through their own

    agency, engage in building their knowledge and

    skill base. Drawing upon social constructivist

    theories, the trainer of trainersmodel is one form

    of staff development that has been successfully

    implemented to promote teacher learning. Learn-ing is scaffolded through meaningful, cooperative

    activities and the assistance of slightly more

    capable peers; a cadre of trained teachers, in turn,

    becomes the trainer of other teachers. Caldern

    (1990) described the particular effectiveness ofcooperation and collaboration with teachers who

    work with ELLs, noting how cooperative learn-

    ing assists teachers academic and instructional

    development, and promotes collaborative and so-

    cial skills (particularly coaching, feedback, andsupport techniques), self-esteem, the building of

    teacher communities, and increased competen-

    cies in decision-making and problem-solving.

    Caldern and her colleagues (Caldern, 1986;

    Caldern & Belker, 1981; Caldern & Cummins,

    1982) on-going empirical research has shownthat, in order for teachers to successfully transfer

    new knowledge and behaviors into the classroom,

    the following elements are necessary: (a) pre-

    sentation of research and theory, followed by

    (b) extensive modeling and teaching strategies;(c) analysis and discussion of adaptation and

    modification of teaching; (d) extensive observa-

    tion and practice; (e) guided practice with peer

    coaching, feedback, mentoring, and videotaping;

    (f) adaptation to curriculum and lesson planning;(g) reflective activities that promote analysis of

    ones own teaching performance and decisions;

    and (h) self-directed collaborative study groups

    where colleagues continue to refine their practice

    (Caldern, 1992). To maximize our success, ourprogram would need to incorporate all eight of

    these elements.

    Along with the trainer of trainers model,

    interdisciplinary collaboration (Benesch, 1988;

    Kaufman & Brooks, 1996) offers an additional

    model for teaming classroom and content teach-ers with ESL practitioners, whereby mainstream

    classroom and content teachers of the various

    academic subjects are paired with ESL teach-

    ers, who offer support, mentoring, and coach-

    ing strategies as these content teachers learn tomodify teaching practices and adapt instruction

    and assessment. Wong Fillmore and Snow (2002)

    address the need for more of such interdisci-

    plinary training for classroom teachers and also

    advocate that teachers participate in courses on

    language and linguistics, language and diversity,sociolinguistics, and second language learning

    and teaching, in order to improve their knowl-

    edge base and work effectively with the na-

    tions diverse students. Newmans (2005) re-

    search indicates that ESL personnel often reportthat elementary classroom and secondary content

    teachers are unaware of how to most effectively

    collaborate with them, so it was vital for us to

    investigate whether and how collaboration exists

    among school personnel, in order to work towardbuilding and sustaining communities of practice

    (Lave & Wenger, 1991) to meet content area

    teachers professional development needs within

    a research-based framework.

    Building collaboration between ESL teachers,

    paraprofessionals, and content teachers is indeeda complex issue. A constructivist framework for

    collaboration that includes use of techniques and

    strategies and/or the training of the participating





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  • Newman, Samimy, Romstedt Training Secondary Teachers of English Language Learners

    teachers has been shown to optimize the positive

    effects of teamwork for students (Crandall, 1998;Kaufman & Brooks, 1996; Leung & Franson,

    1990; Teemant, Bernhardt, Rodriguez-Munoz, &

    Aiello, 2000; Wagner, 2001). But collaboration

    without direction has shortcomings. Discursive

    analysis studies of classroom talk by ESL andcontent teachers (Davison, 2006; Gardner, 2006)

    reveal the existence of inequalities in the relative

    status and power of ESL and content teach-

    ers. Case studies of collaborative teams of ESL

    and content teachers (Anstrom, 2002; Arkoudis,2003, 2006; Creese, 2002) highlight the ways

    in which these inequalities appear to impact

    the effectiveness of collaborative efforts between

    teachers. Clairs (1998) work on teacher groups

    found that other variables such as tensions about

    knowledge, use of traditional models of profes-sional development, and variations in level of

    understanding of what ELLs need also influenced

    collaboration. Lack of clarity regarding the roles

    of ESL and content teachers is another issue

    that may impede collaboration, and even whenroles are clear, they carry different professional

    pressures, which can affect how collaboration

    is carried out (Creese, 2006; Roache, Shore,

    Gouleta, & Butkevich, 2003). The literature re-

    view helped us to understand how to build effec-

    tive collaborative communities that allow for fullparticipation of ESL and content teachers into

    our program design.

    We also investigated university-based, profes-

    sional development programs that have sought

    to implement content and ESL teacher collab-oration. For example, the Interdisciplinary Col-

    laborative Program (2005) at Indiana University

    sought to bring ESL and content teachers to-

    gether for the purpose of professional develop-

    ment and integration of content and languagelearning, facilitated by distance-learning technol-

    ogy, as have similar projects, including TEAM-

    UP (Regents of the University of Minnesota,

    2007) and Project IMPACT at Southeastern

    Louisiana University (2008). Our understanding

    of the literature and contemporary practices wascentral, then, in shaping the subsequent needs as-

    sessment survey that we created to assess content

    area teachers wants and needs, and in applying

    our findings to our professional development


    Needs Assessment Survey

    Richards (2001) noted that an advantage ofconducting a needs assessment is that, when gaps

    are identified, accountability among stakeholders

    for closing the gaps may be increased, which

    is a necessary step in improving educational

    programs. One of our overall program aims wasto steer ourselves and other stakeholders (such

    as school district leaders, teachers, government

    agencies, and institutes of higher education) to-

    ward greater accountability, collaboration, and

    partnership to address these gaps for in-service

    teacher training, so we created a needs assess-ment survey to conduct empirical research on

    teachers actual needs. We selected six public

    school districts in Ohio to serve as representative

    districts in which to conduct the survey, and these

    districts comprised a mix of urban, suburban,and rural districts that had some of the states

    highest enrollment of ELLs. Our 30-item, Web-

    based survey2 was developed using SurveyShare,

    a subscription-based, professional online survey

    tool, to investigate such topics as: numbers of

    ELLs in teachers classes; status of services andexisting infrastructure; opportunities for profes-

    sional development; collaboration between con-

    tent area and ESL personnel; and interest in

    participating in professional development. ESL

    coordinators distributed a Web link to the surveyvia an e-mail invitation sent to approximately

    1,672 secondary content and ESL teachers across

    the six districts. We received a response rate of

    144 teachers, or 9%, and respondents included

    138 content teachers in mathematics, science,social science, special education, music, busi-

    ness, health & physical education, foreign lan-

    guages, language arts, art, family and consumer

    science, computers and technology, and history;

    and six teachers who identified themselves as

    ESL teachers or paraprofessionals. Data from thesurvey were analyzed quantitatively for the fixed-

    response items, and qualitatively for the open-

    ended responses, which were grouped together





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  • Integrating English Language Learners in Content Classes

    according to similar themes to yield emergent

    categories.Our survey findings revealed that 96% of

    content teachers had ELLs in their classes, with

    56% reporting between 110 students and 19%

    reporting between 1120 students. Despite the

    high numbers of ELLs in respondents classes,only 26% of all teachers had ever taken a specific

    college course that addressed teaching ELLs, and

    only 45% reported ever having participated in

    an in-service on ELLs. Furthermore, only 9%

    of content teachers were in possession of anendorsement in Teaching English to Speakers of

    Other Languages (TESOL). These findings indi-

    cate a significant gap in participants professional

    knowledge, as well as in the six districts infra-

    structure to educate their teachers. Seventy per-

    cent of all participants responded, however, thatthey would be interested in taking a graduate-

    level course that addressed ESL, and 41% re-

    ported an interest in pursuing a TESOL endorse-

    ment to add to their existing license. Although

    most teachers lack training, our findings showencouraging news for trainers and administrators,

    namely, that the majority of content teachers are

    willing to pursue professional development for


    We also wanted to know factors that could

    influence teachers willingness to participate inprofessional development. Of the twelve criteria

    we offered, respondents top six factors were

    minimal or no cost for tuition (92%), of-

    fered at a nearby school in my district (71%),

    free textbooks (64%), offered in my building(57%), offered during the summer (45%), and

    offered via distance education (36%). Only

    13%were willing to participate on weekends, and

    only 6% reported that they were willing to come

    to the researchers home campus to take courses,indicating a need for training to be delivered

    on weekdays, and via alternative means. Fifty-

    eight percent indicated that they were willing to

    participate in a distance learning class related to

    ESL; and 60% reported having taken a course via

    distance learning. These findings clearly indicatethat, although professional development courses

    in ESL would appeal to the majority of respon-

    dents, cost and the proximity of these courses

    to their school or school district would influence

    teachers willingness or ability to participate.Teachers also reported on their perceptions

    of ELLs needs. Responses clustered around lin-

    guistic, sociocultural, and other concerns. Teach-

    ers reported that ELLs encountered linguistic

    challenges such as the inability to understandcontent vocabulary and oral instruction/lectures,

    a lack of reading/writing skills to complete as-

    signed tasks in a timely manner, and limited

    oral proficiency to participate in class discus-

    sions. Sociocultural factors included students notknowing how to behave in a classroom and

    having difficulty making eye contact, asking

    questions, or telling their teacher if they really

    understood school materials due to sociocultural

    beliefs and values from their native culture about

    the institution of education, interaction with maleversus female teachers, and the appropriateness

    of asking questions (which might be perceived as

    disrespectful), social isolation, and lack of indi-

    vidualized attention. Several teachers expressed

    a need for their district to offer more ESL in-tensive classes, sheltered classes, and designated

    welcome centers.

    Because theory and practice support the need

    for secondary content and ESL teacher collabo-

    ration (Benesch, 1988; Caldern, 1990; Kaufman

    & Brooks, 1996; Teemant et al., 2000; Wagner,2001), we inquired about teachers collaborative

    experiences. Sixty-five percent of content teach-

    ers reported collaborating with an ESL teacher,

    yet 55% of the respondents skipped the subse-

    quent question asking them to elaborate on theircollaborative activities, causing us to question

    the actual nature of the reported collaboration.

    Collaborative experiences included discussions

    with ESL teachers about students educational

    background and academic progress; consultingESL teachers to share suggestions, strategies, and

    resources; having an ESL teacher or tutor in class

    to help students with their completion of tests

    and quizzes; and working with ESL teachers to

    modify lessons and assignments. Relatively few

    teachers cited this latter collaborative activity,and the lack of response by 45% of teachers

    may suggest that collaboration is negligible, or

    that teachers were unsure of how to respond





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  • Newman, Samimy, Romstedt Training Secondary Teachers of English Language Learners

    to this question. Four of the six ESL teacher

    respondents reported that content teachers soughtthem out; however, they cited a lack of time

    as the major barrier to effective collaboration

    with content area teachers. In general, responses

    indicated that ESL teachers are seen more as a

    resource, and not necessarily as an equal partnerin the education of ELLs in content area subject


    Teachers reported on such district services

    as welcome centers, SIOP (Sheltered Instruction

    Observation Protocol, cf. Echevarria, Vogt &Short, 2008) training workshops, academic team

    meetings, study halls for students, supplemental

    classes, interpretation, and ESL pull-out services.

    Although many of teachers said that they had

    some experience with using ESL support ser-

    vices, and most reports were positive regardingthe assistance that was occasionally provided,

    22% of respondents reported that their school dis-

    trict provided very limited ESL support services.

    One teacher reported frankly that the districts

    services were littlemore than half-hearted efforts,and others commented on the disproportionate

    ratio of students to ESL teachers.

    Teachers also perceived the need for improve-

    ment in their districts ESL services and in their

    own knowledge of working with ELLs. Some

    teachers were not really sure about the services;one reported that ESL staff are the unknown

    personnel because they do not receive much

    attention in the building. Some respondents,

    then, are totally unfamiliar with the nature of

    ESL services and personnel, even when they areavailable.

    We acknowledge that our needs assessment

    survey and its findings may have been con-

    strained by mitigating factors, such as the online

    format of the survey, which some respondentsmay have found prohibitive. Because we relied

    on a third party to distribute the online survey,

    we could not know whether all potential par-

    ticipants actually used their schools e-mail ac-

    counts or read the survey invitation. Participation

    was voluntary, and no incentives were offered,other than the possibility that teachers might be

    able to avail themselves of professional devel-

    opment. In addition, teachers who didnt have

    ELLs in their classrooms may have ignored the

    e-mail solicitations, so our respondent pool mayhave consisted of teachers who did have ELLs

    and who were thus more inclined to respond.

    These and other factors may have skewed our

    analysis, and, although we recognize that the

    generalizability of our findings may be limited,nevertheless, our findings do corroborate those

    of other studies that examine content area teach-

    ers needs for ESL professional development.

    Despite any shortcomings in our survey or its

    analysis, respondents highlighted extensive gapsin their training and their districts ESL services,

    underscoring content teachers urgent need for

    professional development.


    The striking increases in ELL enrollment over

    the past decade have added to the current pres-

    sures on public schools across Ohio to provide

    high quality education for all students. With96% of our responding content teachers reporting

    ELLs in their classrooms, this percentage is sig-

    nificantly higher than the 42% national average

    as reported by the National Center for Education

    Statistics (2002). Content teachers are acutely

    aware of their lack of training, and as our surveyshowed, they want to learn how to adapt materi-

    als, lesson plans, and the delivery of those plans,

    as well as how to enhance the role of parents in

    the school lives of their students. They have no-

    ticed important linguistic and sociocultural issuesassociated with ELLs difficulties in their content

    classrooms, but they may not be able to address

    these difficulties within a cogent framework of

    second language acquisition and effective ESL

    instructional theories for integrating languageand content instruction. Most important, most

    are ready and willing to pursue professional

    development if it can be made convenient.

    Based upon these findings from the literature

    and our needs analysis survey, we developed a

    program model to address the needs of contentteachers. Program logistics, program content, and

    collaboration efforts further interacted to create

    our professional development model.





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  • Integrating English Language Learners in Content Classes


    First, we addressed basic logistical needs that

    our respondents cited. We needed to minimize

    inconvenience for participants, and to cover the

    costs of tuition and textbooks. Thus, our pro-

    gram is free of charge3 to teachers, representing

    an approximate value of $5,000 for the fourgraduate-level courses that we offer. Since 58%

    of respondents cited interest in taking courses via

    distance education, and 60% had experience with

    distance education, we blended existing resources

    and infrastructure at our university4 with thoseavailable throughout the state of Ohio. Distance

    education (synchronous and asynchronous) is

    used to deliver the four courses in our program,

    and the courses are coupled with three face-

    to-face meetings, in order to build trust andcommunity among all participants.

    Logistics included the need for sustained in-

    teraction to build capacity and continuity. Thus,

    we constructed a year-long program, similar to

    other university-based professional development

    programs, with ongoing follow-up after com-pletion. Because of the literatures emphasis on

    learning communities and communities of prac-

    tice, we decided to only accept district cohort

    teams, rather than solo teachers from a variety of

    districts. If change is to be effected, we reasonthat district teams are more adept at supporting

    each other across time, and within their own

    districts and buildings. Our own staffing logistics

    limit participation to five to seven district teams

    per year, consisting of within-district groups ofsix to eight teachers, yielding an overall yearly

    cohort of approximately 40 teachers. As addi-

    tional incentives, we offer graduate-level college

    credit for the four courses that can be applied to-

    ward either a TESOL endorsement or a Masters

    degree in foreign and second language educationat our institution.

    Program Content

    The literature and our needs assessment sur-vey informed program content, which specifi-

    cally addresses theory and practice, as well as

    the framework of state-endorsed, graduate-level

    university coursework for TESOL (which also re-

    lates to the logistics of our need as an institutionto generate student enrollment and credit hours).

    Our year-long program and its four courses form

    the core of our universitys seven-course TESOL

    endorsement program: Introduction to Methods

    of Teaching ESL; Field Experience Practicum;Language and Society; and Testing and Assess-

    ment. None of these courses had previously been

    taught via distance education, which necessitated

    a revision of the courses to adapt them to a

    new teaching and learning environment. Coursecontent includes (a) basics of second language

    acquisition in order to better understand ELLs

    language phenomena; and (b) practical methods

    of teaching English to ELLs and adaptation of

    instruction, materials, and assessment in a way

    that makes language accessible but preserves theintegrity of the content. Because of its empirical

    research base and focus on content teachers, we

    drew from the SIOP, developed by Echevarria

    et al. (2008), to address the need to integrate

    English language and content instruction. Addi-tionally, (c) best practices and collaboration with

    colleagues are heightened through weekly online

    discussions in a course conferencing system, and

    (d) culture and family influence on instruction

    are also incorporated. These topics draw from

    respondents expressed wants and needs, and ourunderstanding of gaps in current services, and

    also mirror many of the recommendations noted

    by Caldern (1992).


    Although a large-scale, sustained effort is nec-

    essary to accommodate all content area teachers

    who are interested in ESL professional devel-

    opment, such an effort is beyond the currentcapacity and infrastructure of state and district

    ESL programs to undertake, unless alternative

    and cost-effective approaches can be considered.

    Because the nature of ESL and content col-

    laboration among our survey respondents was

    inconclusive, we advocate an approach that drawson job-embedded, collaborative professional de-

    velopment models such as interdisciplinary col-

    laboration and the trainer of trainers model





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  • Newman, Samimy, Romstedt Training Secondary Teachers of English Language Learners

    noted above. Collaboration has a number of

    other important qualities, including the fosteringof a shared vision and responsibility among

    all teachers for the education of ELLs. Such

    collaboration can help to mitigate professional

    tensions noted by the research, and work to

    build and sustain communities of practice. Im-portantly, Petrie and Sukanen (2001) noted that

    collaboration also counteracts teacher frustra-

    tion with the frequency of pull-out instruction

    (p. 36), which is frustrating for students, too,

    when they are singled out and removed from theircontent classroom peers, thus setting them even

    further behind the ever-advancing pace of content


    Collaboration in our program also includes

    (a) collaboration between us, the program de-

    velopers, and school districts on Ohio; (b) col-laboration among teachers from different dis-

    trict teams; (c) collaboration among teachers of

    the same content area (e.g., science); and (d)

    collaboration among content and ESL teachers.

    In collaborating with ESL coordinators to helpus distribute our survey to teachers, we learned

    of the importance of working with the existing

    ESL infrastructure, and of including districts

    as partners. As such, teacher recruitment for

    program participation is conducted by ESL co-

    ordinators and district personnel, since they bestknow the needs of their districts. This helps

    to mitigate the outside expert factor and fos-

    ters greater collaboration between university and

    school districts. By promoting district peer teams

    of differing backgrounds and experience, we helpto foster Vygotskys (1978) constructivism and

    scaffolding of learning, as well as interdisci-

    plinary collaboration. Our model also includes at

    least one ESL teacher from each district. Trained

    and certified ESL personnel receive a stipendof $500 per class to engage in peer coaching,

    including observations of teaching and offer-

    ing supportive feedback for their teams content

    teachers. After learning about and experiencing

    collaboration throughout the program, teachers

    are expected to continue their collaboration af-ter program completion. To assist in this, the

    final component in the program consists of dis-

    trict teacher teams creating ongoing educational

    programs to share with peers in their school

    districts, thus enacting the trainer of trainersmodel.

    Conclusion and Recommendations

    The literature and our needs analysis have

    documented significant gaps in currently-existing

    ESL services, underscoring content teachers

    urgent need for professional development. For

    stakeholders who wish to enhance job-embeddedprofessional development for teachers, the fol-

    lowing recommendations, drawing from our pro-

    fessional experience, form the basis of such a

    plan of action. First, we recommend that content

    teachers be provided with professional develop-

    ment that is comprised of the following fourparts:

    1. Content teachers need to learn the basics

    of second language acquisition, in order to

    understand how language is acquired, to betterunderstand the language phenomena that they

    observe among their ELLs.

    2. They need to become aware of practical meth-

    ods of teaching English to ELLs, because

    language learning should and does take place

    within the context of the content of a class-room, and not only in weekly or biweekly

    pull-out sessions with an ESL tutor; such

    awareness will serve to maximize their learn-

    ing. To accomplish this, content teachers need

    training in adapting instruction, materials, andassessment in a way that makes language eas-

    ier but preserves the integrity of the content.

    3. Both content and ESL teachers need to learn

    how to look for best practices and guide

    fellow teachers toward them. This awarenessof best practices can serve as the foundation

    of collaboration with their colleagues.

    4. Finally, content teachers need to know how

    culture influences the classroom, how societal

    issues impact policy and programs in order to

    afford teachers a foundation for requesting theresources needed to successfully implement

    their training, and how to involve ESL parents

    in their students education.





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  • Integrating English Language Learners in Content Classes

    These recommendations draw directly from par-

    ticipants expressed wants and needs our survey,the literature, and our understanding of gaps in

    current services.

    It is our belief that implementation of these

    recommendations for the training of content

    teachers will benefit a variety of stakeholders andserve to foster the development of dispositions

    for collaboration and improved instruction for

    ELL students around the state of Ohio, and

    in other, similar contexts where in-service, sec-

    ondary content, and ESL teachers are in need ofjob-embedded professional development. Impor-

    tantly, such recommendations may find purchase

    in contexts where a unified, statewide vision

    of the education of ELLs may be lacking or

    still under development. Through the training

    program that we developed, we will soon beable to empirically investigate and report on

    additional findings from the recommendations we

    have advocated in this article.


    We particularly thank the U.S. Department of Edu-

    cation, Office of English Language Acquisition, Lan-

    guage Enhancement and Minority Affairs, for their

    funding of our training program and research efforts.

    In addition, thanks are also due to the members of

    our professional development program team including

    Yunyan Zhang, Sun Yung Song, Michelle Ray, and

    Steven Wisnor, who assisted us with compiling our

    research data.

    1. The most common home languages for Ohios

    ELLs include Spanish, Somali, Arabic, Amish Ger-

    man, Japanese, Vietnamese, Russian, Korean, and


    2. A copy of this 30-item survey may be obtained by

    contacting the authors.

    3. Because of prohibitive costs of textbooks and its

    impact on our program budget, we eventually re-

    quested that our partnering school districts agree to

    cover the cost of textbooks for their participating

    teachers; we covered all other costs. We have since

    instituted a minimal registration fee for participants,

    in order to encourage buy-in and sense of personal


    4. Our desire to create and implement a distance

    education program subsequently created a need for

    our own professional development as researchers

    and teacher educators, as two of us had no ex-

    perience whatsoever with distance education. One

    of our current research projects explores how we

    grew to become distance education instructors as a

    by-product of our needs assessment and program

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