A Program for Professional Growth Based on Collaboration

A Program for Professional Growth Based on Collaboration

Over the past three years, COERLL has been working on several projects that require participation from language instructors; a new realm for a language center accustomed to making language learning materials with small teams of faculty and graduate students.

In order to jumpstart these participatory projects, we started a “COERLL Collaborators” program to mentor teachers and give visibility (and some funding) to their work, while spreading the use of open licenses and starting a network for our projects. Participants in the COERLL Collaborators program have helped COERLL tremendously over the past year or so, by testing and providing insights into our projects.

We piloted COERLL Collaborators for FLLITE (Foreign Languages and the Literary in the Everyday), a project with CERCLL (Center for Educational Resources in Culture Language and Literacy) in which teachers write multiliteracies lessons around an authentic resource, receive peer review feedback, and have their lesson published on fllite.org. The FLLITE team chose three graduate students to go through this process, based on lesson proposals they submitted.

These lessons are now published on the project website for anyone to use, and exemplify how a teacher can transform their interests into a completely original lesson.

  • Natasha César-Suárez photographed an image from Spain’s 15-M movement and turned it into a lesson on language in social movements.
  • Marcelo Fuentes developed an image of a letter to God found in a Chilean church into a cultural lesson and letter writing activity.
  • Carol Ready used a poem by Pablo Neruda to teach students about the impact of commercial food production on Latin America through the study of descriptive language.

For our digital badging partnership with Austin Independent School District, which awards teachers digital badges for professional development based on the TELL (Teacher Effectiveness for Language Learning) Framework, we chose three more Collaborators. The three teachers agreed to attend professional development and personal mentorship sessions organized by Thymai Dong, AISD’s World Languages Coordinator, and to earn digital badges related to the topics of the sessions.

Unfortunately administrative changes stopped us from seeing this process through to the end, but the COERLL Collaborators still received some mentorship and challenged themselves to take risks and reflect on their teaching.

  • Rachel Preston developed her own professional growth plan based on a self-assessment of her teaching, which led to an increase in her students’ self-assessment, reflection and goal-setting.
  • Tania Shebaro got motivated at a workshop to scrap her lesson plans for the next day and rewrite everything, leading to engaging and participatory class sessions.
  • Janeth Medrano attended every professional development event possible to get new resources and tools she could adapt for her students.

Thank you to all six of our Collaborators – they have taught us, in addition to teaching their students!

Six more COERLL Collaborators are now busy perfecting some new FLLITE lessons in Spanish, Portuguese, Persian, and German, and we are narrowing down COERLL Collaborators applications for our Heritage Spanish project. We are looking forward to expanding the COERLL Collaborators program and building up a network of creative and collaborative language instructors.

See what the COERLL Collaborators have created:

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