For Release : October 27, 2005
73 NJ Teachers Learning Newer, Better Ways to Teach English Language Learners
Seventy-three New Jersey teachers are participating in a year-long series of professional development opportunities designed to enhance and increase their skills as teachers of English language learners. The training, which began in July and August as the Summer Institute for Professional Development for New Jersey Teachers of English Language Learners, was developed in response to issues and challenges faced by educators in helping students who are new to the English language and American culture.
Teachers from 23 school districts attended a four-day workshop, Sheltered English Instruction Training, during the summer. Training was provided by Kean University, Rowan University, and the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC. The center is credited with developing Shelter Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP), a research-based instructional model that teachers can use to improve the academic success of English language learners.
Staff from the universities are supporting the program during the school year by visiting participants at their schools, hosting additional reunion meetings for participants, and setting up an electronic communication list so that the participants can share information and effective lessons with each other.
Approximately one in five New Jersey public school students enter school speaking one of 160 languages other than English. Teachers participating in the workshop and follow-up activities are from school districts that have significant enrollment of limited English proficient (LEP) students and maintain full-time or part-time bilingual or English as a second language (ESL) programs.
The federal No Child Left Behind Act requires all LEP students to be included in each state’s assessment and accountability system. Since local schools must ensure that LEP students make adequate progress in acquiring English proficiency and obtaining knowledge and skills required by the Core Curriculum Content Standards, they must ensure that teachers are developing skills to work effectively with their English language learner students.