Part of my job is to provide training and coaching to our mainstream teachers as they develop lesson plans that include ELLs.
In this post I want to focus on the Iast one. I encourage our mainstream teachers to spend some time in my sheltered classes. I want them to, at the very least, observe the students learning in a safe/comfortable environment. At best, I want our mainstream teachers to interact with a lesson in a personal way with our ELL’s.
The benefits of a teacher seeing a normally quiet, socially reclusive, or awkward student in a “safe” environment are many, but here are 3:
1.) Such an experience immediately changes the teacher’s understanding of a student’s language proficiency level.
2.) Watching me interact with the full confidence of the student’s academic ability increases the mainstream teacher’s awareness of scholastic capabilities.
3.) Finally, observing conversations in which I don’t understand a student linguistically (or they don’t understand me) allows another teacher to pick up comprehension techniques and maneuvers as I work with a student to achieve clear communication.
Teachers observing other teachers is a cheap and easy way to accomplish professional development/training. Mainstream teachers observing a sheltered class may note:
Seeing an ELL in action within a safe environment can build confidence in the teacher as get to know the student and see techniques useful for ELLs. It also allows the student to achieve a new comfort level with another teacher.