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...