ENLIGHTENING PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS AND IMMIGRANT STUDENTS' SUCCESS IN THE U.S.: EVIDENCE FROM A HOLISTIC MODEL
University of Northern Colorado (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
This paper examines how a unique co-curricular and student support services teacher preparation program serves as a comprehensive model to recruit, support, and graduate teachers to work with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) students and English language learners (ELL) in the United States. The paper analyzes the program design and its relation to Professional Standards for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in a region of the country experiencing rapid demographic change. As the number of CLD students, including immigrant and refugees, now surpasses 60% in the local school district and ELLs represent some 26%, compared to the national average of 9.4% (NCES, 2017), the demand for teachers who can effectively engage with diverse students and families rises dramatically.
This research is premised on socio-constructivist theories that transformative education requires learners to identify, critically reflect, and then act upon an object of knowledge and their particular ways of being. Accordingly, transformations in individual behavior or consciousness, occur through meaningful human interactions, especially those focused on aspects of social justice and equity. We pose three questions: 1. What roles do the different components of a co-curricular program play in pre-service teachers’ professional development? 2. How are pre-service teachers encouraged to develop professionally and personally as teacher-leaders through co-curricular requirements? 3. What are potential threats or limitations to this type of program?
Using a case study approach we examine program review and assessment data, including an external review, student voices, and students’ community-built leadership projects. Informed by the Council for Advancement of Standards (CAS) for Higher Education, specifically for the functional areas of Student Leadership and Educational Opportunity programs, a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis was conducted.
Findings for question one show how program components constitute strengths founded on High Impact Practices, such as Living/Learning Communities and Community Engaged Learning experiences that develop students’ leadership roles, professional voice, and identities. Findings for the second question illustrate how teacher candidates developed critical reflections and mutually beneficial experiences, and transformative learning via leadership projects with underrepresented K-12 students and their families including multiliteracies, athletics, and tutoring. With regards to the final research question, we identified weaknesses such as a limited enrollment capacity, notwithstanding demand, a need to develop more robust networks of teacher-mentors, and societal and family perceptions on teaching and compensation.
This model program successfully prepares candidates to meet TESOL standards and to demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively in schools and community “advocating for ELLs and their families, engaging in self-assessment and reflection…”. We invite audience discussion about the program model and how teacher preparation programs can ensure candidates are enlightened to face classroom and social issues, especially with regards to diversity, power relations, and self-consciousness about their place and role as change agents.
Keywords: Teacher Training, Preservice Teachers, Community Engagement, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse, English Language Learners, Program Models.