Costa, J., McPhail, G., Smith, J., Brisk, M. (2005) Faculty First: The Challenge of
Infusing the Teacher Education Curriculum with Scholarship on English
Language Learners. Journal of Teacher Education, 56(2), 104-118.
This article describes the first of a 3-year project offered to the faculty of a TE program, as well as the ideas of and feedback from the institute participants as they worked together to change individual course syllabi.
Successfully engaging faculty in a learning activity requires careful attention to four broad factors:
1) the culture of the academic department,
2) the source of change efforts,
3) the external influences at play, and
4) the process of faculty education.
Educating TE faculty about ELLs requires that faculty be intellectually receptive to reflecting on issues and concepts of multiculturalism and multilingualism and to critically examining “the knowledge construction process and text analysis within different disciplines” (Nevarez et al., 1997, p. 166). Faculty must also be ready to examine personal assumptions and to sharpen their awareness of the cultures, languages, and the classroom experiences of ELLs. In this way, TE faculty will be better able to guide TE students.
TE program change could occur because of several concurrent factors.
+ First, the faculty was ready to participate in the institute, as demonstrated by their philosophical agreement with the university’s and department’s focus on issues of social justice and on their voluntary participation.
+ Second, funding for the institute allowed participants to be compensated for their time and made it possible for the facilitator to supply each participant with important reading material in the form of journal articles, data, and Internet resources, including some readings pertinent to the areas of each participant’s greatest interest.
+ Third, the facilitator provided expertise and guidance in navigating the theoretical and practical knowledge about educating ELLs, as well as a plan for enacting concrete change across the curriculum.
+ Fourth, the facilitator’s constructivist approach in the institute activities and interactions demonstrated flexibility in allowing participants to approach their learning as they wanted, acceptance of the variety of experiences and points of view that participants brought to the institute, and the valuing of cultural and linguistic differences among participants (Jackson & Caffarella, 1994).
In short, through the institute, the facilitator modelled important practices that could be applied in teaching TE students about how to best serve ELLs.
Intro / larger issue: TE for ELs
FACULTY EDUCATION FOR CHANGE
4 factors that influence faculty in a learning activity
TE Faculty Education on ELLs for Curricular Change: need for faculty to be intellectually receptive
THE FACULTY INSTITUTE ON ELLS
Description of context
Institute Participants and Their Prior Experience
ELLs and the Sociopolitical Climate of Public Education
ELLs and School Climate
Classroom Context That Supports All Learners
Faculty Reflection and Syllabi Changes
Participants - 7 T.E. faculty (about 1/3 of total) - dept chair, plus linguistics prof., doctoral students, TEP placement director, local school reps (16 total)
- SOE prepares ~800 PSTs/year - 560 undergrads, 250 grad students
Institute Goals (p.107)
+ The purpose of the institute was to change the teacher education curriculum to better prepare teachers for work with linguistically and culturally different (LCD) students.
+ As an individual goal, each participant was expected first to look for ways to change his or her syllabus. Each new syllabus was expected to include material concerning the education of bilingual learners and delineate its objectives, topics and core knowledge, readings, assignments, and evaluation approaches. Faculty were to then implement all changes the next time they taught those courses.
+ To integrate changes at the departmental level, participants would then work together to define the core knowledge about ELLs, as reflected in individual syllabus changes, and then decide in concert the best way to present the core knowledge across the curriculum. In this way, the new knowledge could increase in sophistication from one course to the next and share a common vocabulary.
Faculty Institute Activities (Spring 2003 - Feb-May)
+ Sessions (7 meetings) in one semester
+ Discuss Readings & three overarching questions [see below]
+ Discuss videos of SIOP
+ School visits
Summer Seminar (one day meeting)
The summer seminar was a chance to present to the whole group those ideas for change that individual participants planned to incorporate in their individual courses.
Three (3) overarching questions cover in the Faculty Institute on ELL
1) How do we educate ELLs in the present sociopolitical climate of public education?
2) How can we create a school climate that is conducive to learning for all learners?
3) How can teachers create a classroom context that will promote learning for all learners?
+ Other activities included monthly workshops for practicum supervisors and the development of two handbooks for elementary and secondary levels. All supervisors and preservice students in field placements received a copy.