GSE Receives Grant from NJDOE to Provide Professional Development in Sheltered English Instruction

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) granted Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE) $44,312 to provide professional development to public school district teachers and administrators of all disciplines to help them support their English language learners (ELLs).
The goal of this project is to ensure that ELLs have sufficient support to succeed academically in school. As more teachers have students from linguistic and culturally diverse backgrounds, many school districts are looking for ways to educate their teaching staff on the language and culture learning process and how to adjust their teaching strategies to meet the needs of ELLs.
“Teachers need to understand the perspective of ELLs and the natural responses to being immersed in a second language,” noted Dr. Mary Curran, Associate Dean for Local-Global Partnerships at the GSE. “They need to understand, expect, and feel comfortable with the natural responses that occur when students participate in interactions in which they are not completely proficient in the language. When teachers employ strategies to support learning academic English and disciplinary content, they improve their instruction for all learners.”

The collaborative project between the NJDOE and the GSE incorporates several intensive professional-development sessions over the course of the academic year. Throughout the project, participants will experience learning strategies, explore theoretical concepts, analyze lesson plans, and develop materials to support classroom learning. Participants will become familiar with sheltered instruction, which is a teaching approach that integrates academic instruction with support for English language learning. At the conclusion of the project, GSE faculty and doctoral students will observe the teachers who participated in the professional development sessions using a sheltered English instruction rubric in order to help them reflect upon how they are putting what they have learned into practice in their teaching. The participants will also engage in an online component, in which they will share their lesson plans and evaluate each other’s work by posting questions, discussing strengths and weaknesses, and providing suggestions for improvement.
Dr. Elizabeth Franks (GSE Ed.M. Education Leadership ’03, Ed.D. Education Leadership ’12) and Barbara Tedesco are delivering the professional development sessions for this project   Both women are past-presidents of New Jersey Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages/New Jersey Bilingual Education (NJTESOL/NJBE) and have been  advocating for ELLs for many years as teachers, administrators and activists. In order to help all educators develop successful techniques and create effective learning environments for culturally and linguistically diverse learners, they founded, Literary Associates for Multilingual and Multicultural Education, LLC.
View the academic programs offered at the GSE to learn more about our programs for English as a Second Language teachers.
To learn more about Dr. Mary Curran, visit her faculty profile on the GSE website.