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Professional Development Programs


Workshop #1

Key Principles for Effective Instruction for English Learners: and for All Other Learners!

Dr. Virginia P. Rojas, Language Education Specialist

About the Workshop

As the demography of international schools continues to change with the result that every classroom has more English learners than ever before, it is necessary to turn the often-heard mantra, ‘every teacher is a language teacher’ into classroom practice. These immersion classrooms differ from past practices and as such require EAL- effective and collaborative ‘growth mindsets’ not just among EAL teachers but among all teachers.

The cost of this workshop is $700.

Who should attend?

  • Elementary, middle school and high school EAL teachers
  • Elementary, middle school and high school classroom teachers
  • Elementary, middle and high school academic leaders

Workshop Goals

In this three-day institute, participants will:

  • Develop a professional knowledge base on issues related to immersion for English learners and how it differs from inclusion for Learning Support students;
  • Focus on strategies to develop academic English-language proficiency so English learners can attain the expectations of the Common Core standards and the IBO command terms);
  • Develop an understanding of bilingualism (multilingualism) in order to build an asset-based instructional repertoire for leveraging English learners' primary languages, cultural assets, and prior knowledge;
  • Develop an understanding of how classroom teachers and EAL specialists can seamlessly work together to teach up so that English learners have access to grade-level standards and success with rigorous assessments (i.e. not resorting to past instructional approaches such as modifications, interventions, remediation, accommodations, or simplification);
  • Cultivate a ’differentiation mindset' not as events but as a way of daily classroom life;
  • Cultivate an ‘instructional scaffolding mindset' for the teaching of reading and writing; and
  • Cultivate a 'student-driven language-growth assessment mindset' using ‘language performance’ descriptors to understand the progressive stages of second language acquisition as they relate to classroom-based assessment tasks.

Implementable Skills

After this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Design language learning targets aligned with mainstream classrooms’ content objectives;
  • Design learning experiences to develop English learners’ use of academic language as per international schools’ expectations;
  • Design learning experiences which leverage English learners’ home languages and cultures;
  • Design learning experiences to progressively scaffold English learners’ speaking, reading, and writing skills;
  • Design differentiated learning experiences based on English learners’ language proficiency;
  • Use formative and summative assessment tasks to grow and monitor English learners’ language proficiency; and
  • Design ways for EAL and classroom teachers to strategically collaborate in order to get this work done.

About Dr. Virginia P. Rojas

Virginia Rojas, a veteran ASCD Faculty member, conducts professional learning on effective programs and strategies for PreK–12 English language learners for ESL and classroom teachers alike.

Rojas works with teachers to design high-challenge, high-support learning experiences to simultaneously strengthen English language proficiency and academic achievement. She provides professional development training, job-embedded coaching and demonstration lessons, and linguistic audits of ESL or bilingual programs.

Rojas, a former ESL and bilingual classroom teacher, university professor, and central office administrator, has worked as an education consultant in over 200 international schools throughout the world, as well as with school districts across the United States. She worked with an Illinois school district for five years to train ESL and bilingual teachers and develop a K–8 curriculum framework for dual-language programs. She also performed a long-term implementation with a major Northern Virginia school district, training K–12 classroom and ESOL teachers as well as administrators on responsive instructional practices for English language learners. In her international work, she conducted training for all teachers on responsive instruction for English language learners and established ESL certification programs for American teachers working in international schools.

Rojas has presented at major conferences in the United States and throughout the world. She is the author of several ASCD publications, including Strategies for Success with English Language Learners (ASCD, 2007) and the ESL Teachers and Educating English Language Learners: Connecting Language, Literacy, and Culture DVD Series (ASCD, 2010).

Rojas holds an EdD in philosophy, an MEd in applied linguistics and TESOL, and a BS in language education.

Workshop #2

What Do Teachers and Administrators Need to Know About Learning?

Rami Madani, Director of Learning,
The International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


About the Workshop

The workshop approaches ‘learning’ through a practical lens. It aims to consolidate a range of research around learning and present it in a manner that makes practical sense to educators. The workshop first establishes a common “understanding” of learning and then applies this understanding to various components of the learning process: planning, instruction, assessment, feedback, and observing learning when visiting classrooms. Participants will reflect on their own practice and receive feedback that helps them further refine their practices and shape their identity as educators.

The cost of this workshop is $700.

Read More about the Workshop

The workshop uses the ‘learning lens’ to address several core questions, such as How do we know when learning is happening with our students? What do we look for? How do we act when our intended learning isn’t accessible, or is too easy for our students? What is worth learning and how do we know? How do we design units and learning experiences that address the ‘non-negotiable’ curriculum and allow for whitespace and student autonomy? What are the ‘look fors’ when it comes to further improving instructional practices? What type of feedback is most meaningful for students? How best do we observe learning when visiting other classrooms? How can we have meaningful conversation about what we observed?

Who should attend?

  • Elementary, middle, and high school classroom teachers
  • Elementary, middle, and high school curriculum and learning coaches
  • Elementary, middle, and high school administrators

Workshop Goals and Takeaways

In this three-day workshop, participants will:

  • Develop the ability to define learning and to know when and how it is happening. This skill helps teachers and administrators develop confidence in knowing, in real time, when learning is happening. It also enables them to respond when learning isn’t at the ‘right’ level for the students.
  • Clearly differentiate between the conditions essential for acquiring knowledge, skill, and understanding. Since these three elements are different components of learning, they require different considerations when it comes to planning, instruction, and assessment.
  • Develop understanding of what is worth learning and how that might fit in the ‘non-negotiable’ curriculum. Several leading organizations and educational experts have studied this area at length. This workshop will share a summary of this research and provide participants with tools to use in their lessons.
  • Be able to plan learning experiences that are most appropriate to the type of desired learning.
  • Reflect on their instructional practices and consider possible enhancements to make these more learning-focused.
  • Refine what teacher and student autonomy within the ‘non-negotiable’ curriculum might mean. This aspect of learning is key to the development of life-worthy skills.
  • Develop the ability to give meaningful feedback on learning.
  • Learn protocols that support learning observation in classrooms of other colleagues and how to give meaningful feedback to the teacher.

About Rami Madani

Rami Madani is the Director of Learning at the International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Prior to that he worked in international schools in Yemen, Zambia, and India, serving students and faculty at all school levels.

He has taught subjects ranging from Mathematics to Music to Theory of Knowledge. He served as a secondary school principal, dean of students, and department head in various international schools.

Rami has designed a variety of professional development and training programs for teachers.

In addition, he is an IB Diploma consultant and is passionate about aligning a school's systems with its mission, and ensuring that teaching and learning is the focus of what schools do.

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