Department of Educational Studies (EDST) undergraduate and graduate students attended a professional development workshop that provided introductory information on how they can best serve English Learner (EL) students in their future careers as classroom teachers. The workshop, held Monday February 11 in Jubilee Hall, was co-developed and co-facilitated by Dr. Bryan Meadows (EDST) and Pfr. Hansley Cazeau (Kean University / Passaic Public Schools). The workshop event was organized by the TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages) graduate certificate program and additional support was provided the College of Education and Human Services Office of the Dean.
The workshop facilitators, Pfr. Cazeau and Dr. Meadows, led attendees through a series of interactive discussions on the challenges presented by K-12 classroom environments that lack linguistic support for EL students. The presenters structured the conversations around brief excerpts of the short film, Immersion (Dir. Richard Levien). Drawing on the film excerpts and their own personal experiences in K-12 classrooms, attendees and presenters collaboratively identified the many kinds of challenges that EL students face when attending content-area instruction (e.g., Science, Mathematics, Language Arts, and Social Studies) that is not designed with their academic, linguistic, and personal needs in mind. The workshop participants next adopted the teacher's perspective to identify the different kinds of challenges teachers can experience when feeling under-prepared and under-resourced to effectively address the needs of EL students they serve. The workshop leaders then turned the conversation to classroom solutions: The practical things all classroom teachers can do to support EL students in their care. The session was highly interactive as attendees asked questions and posed ideas regularly during the hour-long session. To complement the content of the workshop, attendees were presented with the infographic, "Eight Tips for Mainstream Teachers Serving ELLs", which was designed by Dr. Bryan Meadows and EDST sophomore Ms. Katherine Conroy.
Pfr. Cazeau and Dr. Meadows wish all EDST students the greatest success in serving all classroom students with equity and with dignity. They are currently developing a follow-up workshop that will provide interactive coaching in specific classroom techniques that support EL student success.
CEHS offers a 15-credit graduate pathway to ESL K-12 teacher certification. For more information please visit the program webpage.