Undergraduate education majors attended a virtual seminar titled, "Tips for Making a Positive Difference in the Academic Experience of English Learner (EL) Students" on Tuesday, May 3rd. The workshop, held online using Teams, was co-developed and co-facilitated by TESOL faculty, Dr. Bryan Meadows (EDST), and TESOL alum, Ms. Bilynda Bright-Brown (Washington Twp 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 by the College of Education and Human Services. The workshop is one way members of the TESOL graduate certificate program are making a positive contribution to the field of English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction in New Jersey public schools.
The workshop facilitators, Ms. Bright-Brown and Dr. Meadows, led attendees through four specific strategies they can use as future teachers to support EL students from the first day in the classroom. Those tips were the following: (1) Know your students and affirm their cultural and linguistic identities; (2) Become familiar with the language demands of your teaching area (e.g., Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science, Social studies, etc.); (3) Differentiate classroom instruction and assessment to match the current strengths of individual EL students; and (4) Be an advocate for educational equity by getting active in local/national professional organizations. The workshop facilitators elaborated on each teacher strategy sharing materials and classroom anecdotes drawn from their professional experiences.
The facilitators further situated the four teacher tips in a larger framework of three teacher beliefs: (a) every student matters; (b) every student is deserving of a high quality education; and (c) every student can be successful.
TESOL alum Ms. Bilynda Bright-Brown exemplifies servant leadership in her classroom instruction, her advocacy for students, and in the professional development workshops she leads. The College of Education and Human Services is fortunate to have had her participation in the May 3rd webinar session.
Dr. Meadows and Ms. Bright-Brown wish all EDST students the greatest success in serving all classroom students with equity and with dignity. CEHS offers a 15-credit graduate pathway to ESL K-12 teacher certification. For more information please visit the program webpage here.