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Bilingual Career Ladder Programs: An Answer to the ESL Teacher Shortage?
This publication was prepared with funding from the National Library of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, under contract no. ED-99-CO-0008. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of NLE, OERI, or ED.
Bilingual Career Ladder Programs: An Answer to the ESL Teacher Shortage?
Sally Morrison, ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics
An ongoing and ever increasing issue for school administrators is finding enough qualified teachers in critical needs areas. The teaching of English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) has been on the critical needs list for many K–12 institutions for years, and the demand seems to be growing. According to the January/February 2002 issue of ESL Magazine, the shortage lies in part-time ESL positions in big cities and in rural and poor areas. Compounding the problem is the fact that 20% of all new teachers leave the field in two years, and 6% of all teachers leave the field each year (Nixon, 2002).
The National Education Association reports that 2.4 million new teachers will be needed nationwide in the next 11 years due to teacher attrition and increased student enrollment. Some of the greatest teaching shortages are in ESL and foreign language (National Education Association, n.d.).
According to Teddi Predaris, ESOL Coordinator for Fairfax County Public Schools (VA), ESOL has been on the critical needs list at the elementary and secondary levels for years. In the last 2 years, Fairfax County has hired 100 new ESOL teachers and has been able to fill almost all vacancies. However, Fairfax's ESOL program grows 15-18% each year. Fairfax County Public Schools is the largest employer in Virginia, employing 13,000 teachers in over 220 schools. Over 600 of those teachers are in ESOL. All but 20 schools in Fairfax County will have an ESOL program in 2003.
ESOL coordinators like Teddi Predaris use a number of ways to recruit new teachers. The Fairfax County school district has formed relationships with many area universities, and district representatives regularly attend teacher preparation courses to recruit new graduates. Recruiters also attend area job fairs, and the county sponsors its own job fairs three times a year. New teachers recruited into Fairfax County receive a $1,000 signing bonus if they teach in one of the critical areas, including ESOL.
One method of recruiting new ESOL teachers that is being explored by Fairfax County and many other school districts is a paraeducator career ladder project. These projects enable paraprofessionals already working in school districts to earn bachelor's degrees and ESOL teaching licensure over a defined period. The University of Southern California's Latino and Language Minority Teacher Project has been active for over 9 years. The Philadelphia School District and the University of Northern Iowa also have bilingual career ladder programs. These programs are usually funded with grants from the Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students (OELA) (formerly the Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs) of the U.S. Department of Education.
Portrait of a Career Ladder Program
Fairfax County participates in the Bilingual Career Ladder Teacher Training Program (BCLTTP), a partnership involving George Mason University's Graduate School of Education and New Century College, Northern Virginia Community College, and three Northern Virginia school districts — Fairfax County, Arlington County, and Prince William County. BCLTTP was founded 2 years ago in response to the rapidly growing population of limited English proficient students and the critical shortage of ESOL teachers in Northern Virginia. The program is funded by a grant from OELA. Bilingual paraeducators who have at least 3 years of experience in their school divisions are nominated by their school districts for the program. After acceptance to the program, the students have 5 years to complete seven graduate-level courses that will lead to ESOL licensure. There are currently 36 students enrolled.
"All the candidates that are coming to either Northern Virginia Community College or to George Mason University are experienced people working in the classroom. [They] are people with extensive experience working in the school division who are truly committed to teaching," says Dr. Jorge Osterling, director of BCLTTP (Local teacher recruitment, 2002).
The educational background of BCLTTP participants varies. Some students had already earned a bachelor's degree and have gone directly into graduate courses to earn their licensure. Others had some college credits and are working toward both their bachelor's degree and licensure. Students gain credits toward their degrees by taking courses at Northern Virginia Community College or George Mason University. Many students use foreign credits and life experience to finish their bachelor's degrees through GMU's New Century College Bachelor of Individualized Studies (BIS) Program. "The program can accommodate a wide range of experiences, personal backgrounds, and educational preparation that the students have," says BIS advisor Karole McKalip.
Most participants are from Spanish-speaking countries, but there are also students from Afghanistan, Portugal, and Vietnam, as well as from the United States. All the students are bilingual, and many are multilingual. These paraeducators have worked in their school districts as teacher assistants, resource assistants, parent liaisons, interpreters, and provisionally licensed full-time teachers for as many as 22 years. "The fact is, many of these people are already doing the ESL teaching in the classroom," says McKalip.
The program offers financial, academic, and professional support to its students. The program pays for books, tuition, tests, and registration and transcript fees and provides a monthly $300 stipend to each student. Students are required to continue working at their host schools while finishing the program, which can take up to 5 years to complete.
Most participants juggle school, work, and family life, which can make completing the program a challenge. "The program provides a lot of support to the students — tutoring, counseling, English language preparation, Praxis preparation," says McKalip. "The challenge for some of the students is to meet all the requirements in five years."
Dr. Osterling says the program was designed to help many students with their English language skills. "Every student has spoken language skills in English, but some lack academic language proficiency. This program provides tutoring and support to help the students evolve from conversational English to academic English." The program works with both the George Mason English Language Institute and the Northern Virginia Community College ESL Program to provide tutoring and special courses focusing on academic English. The program also includes a special advanced English composition course.
In addition to academic and financial support, participants in the program benefit from support from their school districts. "Students are full-time, tenured employees in participating schools," says Dr. Osterling. "The schools must sponsor the student, provide release time so that the student can attend courses, and agree to hire the students as teachers when they've successfully completed the program."
The program just concluded its second year and has graduated two students with bachelor's degrees. Two other participants have completed their licensure requirements. The newest ESOL teacher recruited to Fairfax County Public Schools through BCLTTP will be teaching ESOL in a Fairfax County primary school next year. He will also be teaching special education classes for the hearing impaired.
The benefits of career ladder programs such as the Bilingual Career Ladder Teacher Training Program are numerous. They help fulfill school districts' need for ESOL teachers. They also provide a way for many talented and dedicated paraeducators to achieve the professional status that might otherwise have been elusive. Finally, these types of programs help bring minorities into the classroom as teachers. The NEA has reported that minority students make up 33% of the enrollment in U.S. public schools while minority teachers account for just 13% of all teachers (National Education Association, n.d.). Career ladder programs may go a long way toward bridging this minority gap.
ERIC/CLL gratefully acknowledges Dr. Jorge Osterling, Megan Kelly, Teddi Predaris, and Karole McKalip for their assistance in the preparation of this article.
Local teacher recruitment [Radio series episode]. (2002, January 16). In D. Vogel, J. Haas, and T. C. Davis, (Producers), Public interest with Kojo Nnamdi. Washington, DC: WAMU 88.5 FM.
National Education Association.(n.d.) NEA Fact Sheet: Ready or Not: A National Teacher Shortage Looms. (Retrieved May 14, 2002 from the NEA Web site).
Nixon, T. (2002 January/February). The bright side of the U.S. teacher shortage. ESL Magazine.
In each issue of ERIC/CLL Language Link, we feature one or more of the journals that we abstract and index for Current Index to Journals in Education (CIJE), the ERIC database's index to education-related journals. In this issue, we profile TESOL Journal.
TESOL Journal is a refereed publication of teaching and classroom research. Written in an accessible style, articles are geared toward classroom teachers and cover topics such as ESOL methodology, curriculum materials and design, teacher development, literacy, bilingual eduation, and classroom inquiry and research. Each issue of TESOL Journal includes feature articles, textbook reviews, and a technology column.
Each issue of TESOL Journal also provides "Tips From the Classroom," a complilation of brief articles that describe successful ESOL techniques, activities, or methods for adaptation by teachers in diverse programs or teaching situations.
Recent articles in TESOL Journal have included "More Than Talk: A Proposal for ESOL Teacher Education" (Vol. 10. No. 4), "Training Undergraduates to Support ESL Classmates: The English Language Fellows Program" (Vol. 10, Nos. 2/3), and "Guidelines for Establishing Adjunct Courses at the University Level" (Vol. 10, Nos. 2/3).
The Summer/Autumn issue of each volume is devoted to a special topic. Previous special topics have been Sustained-Content Language Teaching: An Emerging Definition (Summer/Autumn 2001) and Preparing Teachers for Work in Diverse ESOL Contexts (Autumn 2000).
You can search online for articles from this and other journals indexed in Current Index to Journals in Education.
You can recognize journal abstracts in the ERIC database by their "EJ" prefix followed by a six-digit number. ERIC abstracts can be read at ERIC centers in libraries in the United States and overseas, as well as on the Web.
Subscriptions to the journals indexed in ERIC can be obtained from the publishers. Individual articles from many journals are available from the article reproduction service ingenta: 800-296-2221; www.ingenta.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
News from ERIC/CLL
New ERIC/CLL Digests
The ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics has recently published four new digests.
The Role of Metacognition in Second Language Teaching and Learning by Neil J. Anderson
Impact of Two-Way Immersion on Students' Attitudes Toward School and College by Kathryn J. Lindholm-Leary and Graciela Borsato
Tapping a National Resource: Heritage Languages in the United States by Richard D. Brecht and Catherine W. Ingold
Selecting Materials to Teach Spanish to Spanish Speakers by Paula Winke and Cathy Stafford
New ERIC/CLL Partner
The National Council of State Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NCSSFL) has recently joined the ERIC/CLL network of Partner organizations. NCSSFL is an organization of education agency personnel from across the United States who are responsible for foreign language education at the state level. ERIC partners are organizations that have agreed to promote and disseminate ERIC information, enhance the ERIC database through the addition of documents, and participate in joint projects and an exchange of publications.
News from the National Center for ESL Literacy Education (NCLE)
Content Standards for Adult ESL
This bibliography suggests some documents that adult ESL professionals can consult as they address the issue of content standards.
Program Standards for Adult ESL
This annotated bibliography lists publications that discuss the elements of program development and delivery that reflect effective and efficient program performance.
Health Literacy and Adult English Language Learners
This ERIC Q & A defines health literacy and its importance and discusses implications for adult English language learners, instructors, and programs. Recommendations for addressing health literacy in the adult ESL classroom are also offered.
Health Literacy for Adult English Language Learners
This bibliography suggests documents and other resources that address issues of health literacy in adult ESL instruction.
Using Picture Stories for Adult ESL Health Literacy
This Web resource is a collection of picture sequences that teachers can use in the classroom to facilitate discussions around health literacy issues. Background information on using picture stories as well as suggestions for the specific picture sequences are provided.
News from ERIC and the U.S. Department of Education
Visit the U.S. Department of Education's Web site for links to Department initiatives and priorities, grant opportunities, publications, and research and statistics.
Weekly ERIC announcements are published in the New from ERIC section of the ERIC systemwide Web site.
New Adjunct Clearinghouse Formed
The ERIC Division recently announced the formation of a new adjunct clearinghouse. The official name is the Adjunct Clearinghouse on Homeless Education, and it is administered by the National Center for Homeless Education, a component within the Regional Educational Laboratory SERVE. The new clearinghouse is an adjunct to the ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education.
New No Child Left Behind Web Site Launched
On April 8, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced a new No Child Left Behind Web site. The Web site includes fact sheets on various aspects of the bill, a glossary of important terms, and a "parents toolbox" with downloadable brochures and a frequently asked questions section.
Maria Hernandez Ferrier Appointed Director of Office of English Language Acquisition
Maria Hernandez Ferrier was named director of the Office of English Language Acquisition on April 19. In her previous position with City Year San Antonio, Texas, Hernandez Ferrier helped bring together young people aged 17-24 in service to San Antonio. Her "corps members" worked as tutors and mentors to disadvantaged children, developed after-school programs and summer camps, and built playgrounds at low-income elementary schools.
As director of the Office of English Language Acquisition, Hernandez Ferrier will serve as the principal adviser to the secretary of education on all matters affecting English acquisition, language enhancement, and academic achievement for limited-English-proficient students under the No Child Left Behind Act.
News from Our Colleagues
The Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL)
National Literacy Panel Begins Work at CAL
In an ongoing effort to further advance knowledge on language minority children and youth, a National Literacy Panel, composed of well-known scholars, will identify, assess, and synthesize the literacy research knowledge base related to the education of language minority children and youth. The panel expects to provide clear, evidence-based conclusions and recommendations for audiences concerned with the development of literacy among language minority children and youth. CAL is one of the support partners and will host the Web site for the panel.
Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP)
CAL has produced a documentary-style professional development video that illustrates the sheltered instruction model with footage from classrooms and interviews with teacher educators and researchers. The video and accompanying manual are designed for use by teacher educators and staff developers working with content-area teachers to help them learn strategies and techniques for adapting their instruction to meet the academic needs of the English language learners in their classes. The video and manual will be available this summer from the CALstore.
First National Conference for Educators of Newcomer Students
September 26-27, 2002
Radisson Barceló Hotel, Washington, D.C.
CAL is hosting a 1 1/2 day conference that will showcase successful newcomer programs, facilitate the sharing of materials and curricula, and provide information about program design options. Learn how a variety of program models address newcomer issues, and enjoy networking with others who serve newcomer students across the United States.
Visit the CAL Web site for further conference details and to download the registration brochure online. If you would like to receive the registration brochure by mail, email Charles Martorana. If you would like more information about the conference, contact Beverly Boyson.
Heritage Languages Conference
October 18-20, 2002
Tysons Corner, VA
The Second National Conference on Heritage Languages in America will seek to further the aims of the Heritage Languages Initiative, a national effort to develop the non-English language resources that exist in our communities. Pre-registration is available online through July 19.
The Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE)
New Practitioner Brief Now Online
Practitioner Brief No. 4, Nongraded Primary Programs: Possibilities for Improving Practice for Teachers, by Ellen McIntyre and Diane Kyle (April 2002), is now available online. The brief focuses on the nongraded primary program implemented by the Kentucky Department of Education and how its philosophies correspond to CREDE pedagogical standards. The authors offer recommendations for practitioners implementing nongraded, multi-age classrooms.
Spring Issue of Talking Leaves
This issue of Talking Leaves (Spring 2002, Vol. 6, No. 1) focuses on ways to use multi-media materials for professional development and features the first-hand perspective of teachers whose work is featured in some of CREDE's new teacher-training CD-ROMs.
The National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC)
NCLRC's Language Resource
The May issue of the Language Resource is now online.
NCLRC Summer Institutes
The NCLRC is committed to offering a varied selection of professional development opportunities to foreign language educators worldwide. Based on the overwhelming success of last year's workshops, the NCLRC is offering six institutes this summer with the aim of providing foreign language educators at all levels with practical ideas for improving foreign language instruction.
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
Teaching English to Younger Learners
San Diego, CA
Developed by TESOL and in collaboration with ESOL professionals in Mexico to reflect ESL and EFL perspectives, the Teaching English to Younger Learners symposium will feature three renowned keynote speakers from Mexico and the United States: Mary Lou McCloskey, Myriam Monterrubio, and Catherine Snow. The speakers will share insights from their work and research on teaching English to younger learners to help participants learn more about this very important issue in the ESOL profession. Specialists in the field who wish to attend the symposium should contact the TESOL Education Programs department.
American Association of Teachers of German (AATG)
GOLDEN (German OnLine Distance Education Network)
GOLDEN, an interactive online teacher development project sponsored by AATG, the Goethe Institute, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers German teachers innovative distance learning courses on Instructional Planning, Technologically Enhanced Language Instruction, Writing Pedagogy, Reading Pedagogy, Listening Pedagogy, and Speaking Pedagogy, via the Web.
National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition & Language Instruction Educational Programs (formerly National Clearinghouse on Bilingual Education)
NCBE Name Change
The National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education was recently renamed the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition & Language Instruction Educational Programs. The former NCBE is now known as NCELA.
Implementing Reading First with English Language Learners
This document presents a brief history of the Reading First legislation, synthesizes broad, research-based recommendations for the effective instruction of English language learners, explains each of the five Reading First components and instructional practices within that component, gives research-based examples and recommendations of effective instructional practices for ELLs within this component, and presents additional considerations for instructional planning and implementation of reading programs with ELLs.
State Elementary and Secondary LEP Enrollment Growth and Top Languages, 1999-2000
NCELA has compiled the 1999-2000 school year state data on the growth of the LEP student enrollment in the United States and the most frequently spoken languages in each state.
Survey of States' LEP Students
The most recent Survey of the States' Limited English Proficient Students and Available Programs and Services 1999-2000 Summary Report is now available online.
National Data Poster on LEP Population, 1999-2000
The national data on the number of LEP students enrolled in U.S. schools is now available online in PDF format.
NCELA Newsline Bulletin
The NCELA Newsline Bulletin is a weekly online newsletter that offers legislative updates, Department of Education news, and information about awards, conferences, and job opportunities. Subscribe online or look at current or back issues on the NCELA Web site.
American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese
Spanish Immersion and FLES Methods Course
June 30-July 12
The focus of the Spanish Immersion and FLES Methods course will be integrating language, content, and culture in thematic units. Class sessions will engage participants in model lessons based on a children's story, a theme, or a historical topic. Subjects such as foreign language standards, using children's literature to teach language, pair and small group activities, assessment, and planning thematic units will be discussed.
Language Acquisition Resource Center
The Language Acquisition Resource Center's Digital Media Archive at San Diego State University is an online tool for creating widespread national and international access to shared language resources via the Internet. This tool facilitates fast and easy access to these materials for foreign language research, teaching, and learning.
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