31 SES 12 A, Professional Development for Teachers in Multilingual Classrooms: International Perspectives
In the UK, and particularly within England, the numbers of learners whose home language is not English has risen year on year since 2004; this despite the impact of Brexit. To date, around 21% of primary school children (ages 4 -11) and 17% of secondary school pupils (ages 11 – 18) are learning English while also learning the content of the curriculum. This presents teachers in most schools with the challenge of adapting their practice to work for both monolingual English speakers and multilingual learners. Such a challenge is not easily met because England has a nationally prescribed curriculum that makes very limited acknowledgment of multilingual learners (Flynn & Curdt-Christiansen, 2018) and because, by and large, teacher education does not equip teachers with the confidence to attend to their needs (Flynn, 2019). Furthermore, funding to support the teaching of MLLs has reduced significantly in the past decade (Strand et al, 2015). The challenge in England, therefore, is to design professional learning for the teachers of MLLs which is both low cost and fosters a pedagogy that benefits all pupils. The Enduring Principles of Learning (Teemant, 2014) provides a potential model that can attend to these needs. These principles provide a rubric for both professional learning and observing teachers practice that has had proven success in raising MLLs attainment in the US (Teemant, Wink & Tyra, 2011). The project presented in this paper is a pilot study which sought to adapt the US-based Enduring Principles of Learning, for an English junior school (360 pupils, ages 7 – 11) where 98% of learners were multilingual. This participatory action research project with the whole staff (n = 30) involved a series of professional development meetings (n = 9), classroom observations at three time points, and interviews/focus groups with teachers (n = 15). Tracking responses to professional learning over one year of activity, this paper illustrates the challenges and successes of working alongside teachers and their senior managers while trying to effect change in both mindset towards and pedagogy for MLLs. Taking a socio-cultural approach to data analysis, combining the work of Freire (1993) and the construct of the linguistically responsive teacher, outcomes illustrate the ways in which professional learning must take account of local school contexts, and engage with teachers’ and pupils’ realities, if research is to uncover ways forward for teacher education that positively impact outcomes for MLLs.
Flynn, N. (2019). ‘Teachers and Polish children: capturing changes in the linguistic field’. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 40(1), 65-82 Flynn & Curdt-Christiansen (2018). ‘Intentions versus enactment: making sense of policy and practice for teaching English as an additional language.’ Language and Education, 32:5, 410-427 Freire, P. (1993). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Penguin Random House UK Strand, S., Malmberg, L., & Hall, J. (2015). English as an Additional Language (EAL) and educational achievement in England: An analysis of the National Pupil Database. Oxford: University of Oxford Department of Education. Teemant, A. (2014). ‘A Mixed-Methods Investigation of Instructional Coaching for Teachers of Diverse Learners.’ Urban Education, 49(5), 574-604. Teemant, A., Wink, J., & Tyra, S. (2011). Effects of coaching on teacher use of sociocultural instructional practices Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 683-693.
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