I thought that new – and veteran – readers might find it interesting if I began sharing my best posts from the first half of this year. You can see the entire collection of best posts from the past thirteen years here.


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We’re doing a series of professional development sessions (about three hours each) for all of our teachers on teaching English Language Learners. Because of logistical issues, we’re doing the same session ten times for about ten teachers each.

They’re going well, and I’m thinking that, perhaps, the agenda could function as a good template for a professional development session on just about anything.

We’re beginning with participants sharing what has worked for them in teaching ELLs, and what challenges they have faced.  It’s both a time to acknowledge the experience and expertise in the room, and also get a better sense of things to cover later in the session.  We also show the movie “Immersion” (see A Look Back: Every Teacher Who Has An ELL In Their Class Should Watch This “Immersion” Film) and have teachers share their impressions.

Next, we have a student panel share what teachers have done that has helped them learn English, and what they haven’t done well, along with what teachers have done to successfully help them feel motivated to learn (and what hasn’t motivated them).  See Video Of Our ELL Student Panel & Downloadable Hand-Out They Used For Preparation.

Then, we discuss “data” related to ELLs at our school, along with talking about the ELPAC test (see English Language Proficiency Assessments – What’s Happening Here In California & Elsewhere).

After that, we spend time on the Do’s and Don’ts of Teaching ELLs (see an earlier version of that here – Do’s & Don’ts for Teaching English-Language Learners).

We end with participants sharing what they want to stop doing, continue doing and start to do (see Here’s What Our Teachers Have Learned About Teaching English Language Learners).

It seems like this kind of plan fits into what recent research has found about effective professional development (see Who Would Have Thought? Professional Development Focusing On Specific Instructional & Classroom Management Strategies Found To Be Effective).

I’m thinking this kind of plan has the potential of working for just about any professional subject/topic:

  1. Teachers share their successes and challenges
  2. A student panel saying what has worked and not worked for them
  3. Discussion of school-related data
  4. Do’s and Don’ts of the the session’s topic
  5. Participants reflecting on what they want to stop doing, continue doing and start to do…

What do you think?  What might be missing?

I’m adding this post to The Best Resources On Professional Development For Teachers — Help Me Find More.