SURN ESL Workshop Featured in School of Education News Release

SURN Workshop Featured in School of Education News Release:

by Julie Tucker | March 8, 2017

“The faloopious scaringas tringled quaransically to the barton.” This sentence, projected on a conference room screen, welcomed 65 middle- and high-school teachers from across Virginia to “ESL101,” a workshop at the William & Mary School of Education last week.

The group of educators, led by Katherine Barko-Alva, clinical assistant professor of TESOL, puzzled out possible meanings by analyzing the sentence structure and using the visual cue offered by an accompanying photograph. A consensus quickly emerged about a grumpy cat holding tight to a treat he did not want to share.

“Every sentence has layers upon layers of meanings,” said Barko-Alva. “The beauty of ESL is when you bring content and academic language together for the purpose of classroom instruction.”

The workshop, offered through the William & Mary School-University Research Network (SURN), was geared toward teachers with English language learners in their classrooms and offered strategies to help them meet the needs of those students.

The need for this type of training for teachers is huge. “When I ask superintendents what kind of professional development opportunities they need for their teachers, ESL training is almost always at the top of the list,” said Amy Colley, executive director of SURN.

Luckily for Colley, the William & Mary School of Education brought Barko-Alva onto the faculty last fall, and she enthusiastically agreed to collaborate on a series of workshops for elementary and secondary public school teachers from across the state.

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Dr. Katherine Barko-Alva speaks to an attentive group of teachers at the ESL 101 Workshop.

For Barko-Alva, teaching ESL is a passion born from personal experience. She arrived in the United States from Peru with her family at age 15. And though well-prepared by her schools in Peru and ready for college study, she spoke only a smattering of English.

She recounted one memorable experience in a pre-calculus class when she was given a math problem about baseball. “I knew how to do the math, but the language of baseball — bases, runs, strikes, walks — was totally foreign to me.” Language, she added, depends entirely on context, and every content area has its own specific register. The challenge for the ESL teacher is to navigate the disconnects between content and academic language.

It takes anywhere from one to three years to gain the language skills needed for day-to-day social interactions. Cognitive academic language proficiency — the ability to read, write, analyze and evaluate subject-area academic content — can take up to 10 years.

A year and a half after arriving in the U.S., Barko-Alva enrolled as a freshman at the University of Florida. She’s now a leading voice in ESL education, advocating for students like her who arrive in this country with little or no English but who deserve a full and engaging education.

Public schools in Virginia serve somewhere around 100,000 English learner students. And while these students are guaranteed equal access to grade-level materials and content under federal law, the resources, structures and policies supporting these students vary greatly among districts and schools.

“Our focus for the workshop was to offer specific strategies that teachers could take back to their classrooms and put to use right away,” said Colley. “These are techniques that every teacher can use, regardless of how much experience they have working with ELLs.”

The workshop was co-facilitated by Joy Martin ’02, M.Ed. ’08, who is a reading intervention teacher for Norfolk Public Schools and adjunct faculty member at W&M. For the past six years, Martin has led W&M’s Summer ESL Institute, which allows students to add an ESL endorsement to their teaching degree. Students who pursue the ESL-dual endorsement program graduate prepared to teach English language learners as content-area teachers and as ESL teachers. “And that is what our ELLs need to acquire English and succeed in school — teachers with the knowledge and skills to teach academic language and literacy,” said Martin.

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Joy Martin directs teachers at the ESL 101 Workshop.

Working within the limitations of a one-day workshop, participants at ESL101 got a primer on ESL foundations, but the main focus was on actionable techniques for the classroom.

Martin and Barko-Alva led the group through interactive exercises to conquer oral language production, such as the “jigsaw,” a group activity in which each student becomes an expert in one aspect of a topic and then teaches fellow group members. Another, “think-pair-share,” allows ELLs to practice language with a native speaker before being asked to speak in front of the class. These strategies also ensure that all students have equal opportunities for producing language in the classroom.

Kathy Smartwood, a kindergarten teacher from Yorktown, VA who attended one of the workshops, recognizes the value of having English-language learners in her classroom — to her, it’s a unique opportunity for cross-cultural exchange, rather than an obstruction to learning. “All of my students, regardless of their ability to speak English, should feel confident socially and academically.”

140 teachers from 29 school divisions and the Department of Juvenile Justice participated in the workshops, representing seven of the eight regions in Virginia. “It was a great opportunity to reach out to content-area teachers, who are the front line of support for English language learners,” said Barko-Alva. “We have a lot of work to do to improve outcomes for these students in Virginia, but we have amazing teachers.”

Leadership and Learning @WMSURN Leadership Academy 2015

Meeting Nancy Wright Beasley

Last month at the Monroe Scholars Book Award Luncheon, SURN Executive Director Jan Rozzelle met Nancy Wright Beasley, author of Izzy’s Fire: Finding Humanity in the Holocaust. Beasley’s book tells the story of Jewish families who survived the Holocaust, going into hiding with the help of another family. It is a powerful story based on memoirs and personal interviews. An exhibit at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond retells the story. Both the book and the exhibit are highly recommended!

N.W. Beasley

 

Diane Sweeney, Coming Soon!

SURN is pleased to have Diane Sweeney, author of Student Centered Coaching: A Guide for K-8 Coaches and Principals and Student-Centered Coaching at the Secondary Level, join us for our Leadership Academy this summer on June 22-23, 2015.

Diane has been a national education consultant since 1999.  She taught and coached in the Denver Public School system before serving as a program officer at the Public Education and Business Coalition in Denver.  She is a well-respected educator who focuses on coaching and professional development.

Student Centered Coaching: A Guide for K-8 Coaches and Principals (Corwin Press, 2010) focuses on school-based coaching designed to impact student learning.  Professional development should focus on how to best support teachers and collaborate with them in order to design successful and targeted instruction.  The book focuses on the critical role of principal in developing and sustaining a culture of learning.

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Student-Centered Coaching at the Secondary Level (Corwin Press, 2013) is the follow-up to Sweeney’s 2010 best-selling book and focuses on the principles and tools of student-centered coaching in order to meet the challenges in middle and high schools.  Coaching focused on the student can allow the coach to provide feedback that has a direct impact on student achievement.

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For more information on Diane, please visit www.dianesweeney.com.  For more information on SURN’s Leadership Academy and how to sign up, please visit our website for more information or email us surn@wm.edu.

United Kingdom Trip Highlights

Jan Rozzelle (SURN Executive Director) and Jenny Hindman (SURN Assistant Director) has an amazing trip through the United Kingdom to visit potential schools for the 2016 SURN Study Tour. They built relationships with school leaders and learned about how these schools are using research and practices.

Check out some photo highlights from the trip!

On February 23, 2015 College of William and Mary faculty met Head Teacher of Steiner School, Dr. Mark Burgess. Picture is Dr. Mark Burgess, Dr. Jenny Hindman, and Dr. Jan Rozzelle.

On February 23, 2015 College of William and Mary faculty met a teacher and class guardian of Steiner School, Dr. Mark Burgess. Pictured is Dr. Mark Burgess, Dr. Jenny Hindman, and Dr. Jan Rozzelle.

On February 24, 2015 College of William and Mary faculty visited Holy Trinity First School in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England. Pictured are Dawn Groves (Head Teacher), Dr. Jan Rozzelle (SURN Executive Director), and Dr. Jenny Hindman (SURN Assistant Director).

On February 24, 2015 they visited Holy Trinity First School in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England. Pictured are Dawn Groves (Head Teacher), Dr. Jan Rozzelle, and Dr. Jenny Hindman.

On the same day, they visited Tweedmouth West First School in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England. Pictured is Anne Rutherford, Head Teacher.

On the same day, they visited Tweedmouth West First School in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England. Pictured is Anne Rutherford, Head Teacher.

On February 25, 2015, Jan and Jenny visited Brudenell Primary School in Leeds England. Pictured are: Dr. Jan Rozzelle, Jill Harland, co-Head Teacher, and Dr. Jenny Hindman. Not pictured is Jo Davies, co-Head Teacher was teaching teaching at the team.

On February 25, 2015, Jan and Jenny visited Brudenell Primary School in Leeds England. Pictured are: Dr. Jan Rozzelle, Jill Harland, co-Head Teacher, and Dr. Jenny Hindman. Not pictured is Jo Davies, co-Head Teacher who was teaching at the time.

On February 26, 2015 Jan and Jenny visited Gallions Primary School. Pictured is Dr. Jan Rozzelle, Harriet Goodman, Chair of Governors, Shazia Hussain, Head Teacher, Dr. Jenny Hindman, and Lisa Naylor, Lead Practitioner.

On February 26, 2015 Jan and Jenny visited Gallions Primary School. Pictured is Dr. Jan Rozzelle, Harriet Goodman, Chair of Governors, Shazia Hussain, Head Teacher, Dr. Jenny Hindman, and Lisa Naylor, Lead Practitioner.

 

Another Visit to a P4C School

Another stop in the UK for Jan and Jenny involved traveling to London’s East End to visit a school that is using P4C. In this session, a video was used as a stimulus to get students to generate questions for discussion. One student recorded the following question for her group- see images.

The school has approximately 600 students ages 3-11. The outdoor space is designed to be used in all kinds of weather including rain- see image of all the boots. It was raining the day Jenny and Jan visited the school and some younger children were experiencing cause and effect by jumping in puddles in school- provided rain gear. Like other schools we have visited to discern possibilities for the 2016 SURN study tour, music is an integral part of the school with students starting at age 3 with rhythm lessons and acquiring skills and a keen ear so that when they get a school-provided stringed instrument at age 7 they are well prepared.

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SURN Around the World

Jan Rozzelle and Jenny Hindman, SURN Director and Assistant Director, have been spending this week in Edinburgh. They had an amazing conversation with The Edinburgh Rudolf Steiner School  teacher and class guardian, Dr. Mark Burgess, who described the values and hallmarks of a Steiner Education. Dr. Burgess trained for two additional years to become a Steiner teacher. The focus of learning is on the student. The format for learning includes verse, song, recall of the previous day’s learning, time for the new material, a portion of the day is called the will where students continue to develop and show their learning. Jan and Jenny experienced through Dr. Burgess’ words the Steiner vision.

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Jan in Edinburgh with a Scotsman playing bagpipes

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Jenny petting Greyfriars Bobby, a faithful dog whose legend is a popular children’s book

Congratulations!

SURN partners have been busy celebrating many accomplishments! 

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At the recent School of Education Awards Ceremony, Rachel Ball received the SURN Virginia L. McLaughlin Collaborative Leadership Award. This award was established by SURN to honor Dr. Virginia L. McLaughlin for her tenure as Dean of the School of Education.

 Angie Seiders_VASCD Impact Award

Angie Seiders, SURN Principal Academy Mentor, was recently recognized as the VASCD Region 2 Impact Leader!

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At the recent School of Education Awards Ceremony, Wendy Gray received the Chandler Family Scholarship. This scholarship is given in recognition of a graduate student in the Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership Program who demonstrates a commitment to serving in the field of Education.

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Also at the School of Education Awards Ceremony, SURN Graduate Assistant, Jennifer Pogue, received the Frances C. Hudgins Memorial Endowment. This scholarship is awarded in support of a student preparing for teaching or studying guidance and counseling.

Join SURN in congratulating these individuals when you see them!

SURN Literacy Study Group

The SURN Literacy Study Group is a group of literacy specialists and other educators from SURN school divisions who meet monthly to explore strategies to enhance literacy and literature teaching at all levels. Led by Dr. Denise Johnson, Assistant Professor at The School of Education, LSG participants take part in discussions surrounding the do’s and don’ts of teaching reading and writing. Highlights of the group from past years include: designing professional development for teachers, coaching, writing conferences, informal assessments, and reading and writing across content areas.

What do current SURN Literacy Study Group participants have to say about the group?

“I loved being able to connect with others around the area to discuss topics and to gain knowledge of how other divisions are addressing similar issues/structures”

“This group has helped me to grow as a literacy leader and go “beyond my comfort zone” in advocating for “best practice” and “research-supported pedagogy.” It promotes a climate of trust where district representatives are able to discuss challenges and what strategies/practices could best help meet these challenges. This group of professionals is diverse, edifying, resourceful, and supportive.”

“I also think the sharing of resources is invaluable.”

Some key topics to be addressed this year include:

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Does your division have a representative attending the Literacy Study Group this year? If the answer is no, what are you waiting for? Email surn@wm.edu to make the most of your SURN experience!

College and Career Readiness Workshop

Motivating adolescents to read can be a challenge for educators; however, we know that there are four factors that make a significant positive difference when it comes to adolescent reading. Students who have knowledge goals for reading, choice in what they read, interesting texts, or opportunities to collaborate are not only more motivated to read, but also have increased reading comprehension and achievement (Guthrie & Humenick, 2004). On Tuesday Oct. 7, 45 secondary ELA teachers gathered together at SURN for our first of four workshops in the 2014-15 school year. This workshop series will focus on building student engagement and literacy practices in order to best prepare students for college and career. Each teacher left the workshop with two contemporary YA books – one fiction and one nonfiction – to help to jumpstart literacy efforts this year. Below are the titles from which they were able to choose.

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