Characteristics of EL Education Professional Development
EL Education professional development asks teachers and administrators to be active learners and to experience fully what it means to read, write, assess, problem solve and learn the "EL way." This means that facilitators model effective instructional practices, and participants engage in the social construction of meaning by collaborating in small and large groups. Our facilitators skillfully attend to both the content and process of the group’s learning. The following are foundational characteristics of how EL delivers professional development, either nationally or at schools.
EL Education Professional Development…
Is strategic: Professional learning has clear and relevant goals that are aligned with student achievement benchmarks, school or district goals, improvement plans, and/or work plans. Professional development sits within a comprehensive strategic plan that considers sequence, timing, and progress monitoring.
Cultivates positive professional culture: EL Education PD intentionally builds a learning community–a positive, collaborative learning environment rooted in trust. Sessions include protocols, purposeful initiatives, and carefully designed openings and closings–including relevant readings and the use of norms. The prior knowledge and experience of participants is honored and seen as an asset.
Engages adult learners: Participants in EL Education professional development are respected as capable creative agents, motivated to learn and propel students’ success. PD prioritizes application and planning, and grounds participants in theory. Educators interact with and discuss a variety of resources and research to gain a common understanding of a topic and then apply those ideas to their own context. There are multiple opportunities for choice and self-direction.
Models strong instructional and assessment practices: Clear learning targets set purpose for each professional development experience. Assessment practices are used throughout the session to engage adult learners in self-assessing, goal setting, and reflecting on their growth. Learning targets also allow facilitators to check for understanding and determine appropriate next steps, which are often differentiated. Participants interact with challenging content and experience intentional lesson formats and protocols. They have time to engage with complex text, analyze models, generate questions, and discuss. Debrief and reflection support transference to classroom practice.
Leads to application: Professional development is only truly effective when it leads to application of new practices that result in increased engagement and achievement for students. EL Education PD is designed to support transference. For example, through student hat/living the lesson experiences, participants directly experience effective instructional and assessment practices. In teacher hat, participants are invited to reflect on their experience and apply lessons learned to their own context.
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