By Jana Echevarria, Ph.D.
The title of this post may sound hyperbolic, but the truth is that teaching can often be an isolated and lonely profession, especially when teachers feel that they are not reaching their students or seeing the learning results that inspired them to become teachers in the first place. That’s where ongoing professional development comes in.
When teachers have the opportunity to learn and grow professionally, to try out research-validated practices that are effective in helping students make academic gains, and in the case of English learners, improve their language proficiency, it can be immensely rewarding.
Recently a teacher who took an online PD course emailed the instructor to express thanks for helping her to create lesson plans that incorporate features of the SIOP Model, features that ensure that lessons are comprehensible for English learners and concurrently develop academic English proficiency. She added, “ I am really delighted with the SIOP Model and will practice it until I have it down completely. I have applied all that I understand about it thus far to my lesson plan.”
After implementing the lesson plan the following week, she sent the update below to the instructor:
I implemented only some of the lesson to my freshmen class to try it out and it made me feel so much more successful than I have ever felt in the full 15 years I’ve been teaching. I think you and your colleagues are on to something with SIOP! T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U! You came into my life just in the nick of time. I was headed out of teaching all together after this year because I didn’t believe that I could help students anymore. SIOP has given me hope!:)
SIOP trainers often hear stories like this one about how the right PD at the right time has dramatically affected teachers’ practice and outlook.
Effective professional development provides teachers with a setting through which to collaborate with other educators, acquire new knowledge to deepen their understanding of best practice, plan and analyze lessons, and discuss implementation successes and challenges. The process offers teacher the tools and support they need to work more successfully with students. Without it, they can become disheartened, and worse, leave the profession.
By Amy Washam
“I have been SIOP trained!” Whenever I hear educators say these words, the follow up question is, “Do you implement the features of SIOP into your lessons, and if so, to what degree?” Receiving SIOP training is only the first step to becoming a high-implementing SIOPer. I often use the analogy of climbing a mountain, a SIOP mountain. For most educators, the SIOP training only makes you aware that the SIOP Mountain exists. You do not begin to ascend the SIOP Mountain until you implement the features consistently into your lessons. And you do not summit the SIOP Mountain, become a high-implementer, without lots of experience implementing the features.
While I know quite a bit about implementing the SIOP Model, I am not an experienced mountain climber. So to continue this analogy, I searched, “How to climb a mountain,” and found some striking similarities between the extreme sport of mountain climbing and learning to implement the SIOP Model to a high degree (see http://www.wikihow.com/Climb-a-Mountain). (more…)
By MaryEllen Vogt
For the SIOP National Conference next month in Dallas, I’m presenting a keynote titled, “The Adventures of a SIOP Professional Developer.” I’ll be telling some humorous stories as shared by a couple of SIOP consultants, as well as an anecdote or two from my own experiences while teaching the SIOP Model to thousands of teachers and administrators over the past fifteen years.
But, I have a greater purpose for this presentation than just sharing a few funny stories. More importantly, I’ll be sharing information from a review of research about what constitutes effective professional development, and how we can use research findings to create effective PD that will lead to improved implementation of the SIOP Model. As an example, I’ve learned from a research review (and from my own experience) that effective SIOP professional development is:
- Highly interactive
- Respectful of divergent perspectives
- Dialogic (dialogue is valued)
- Ongoing (learning to implement the SIOP Model to a high degree takes time; it’s a process)
- Sustainable (unlike other PD efforts, schools implementing the SIOP Model know they’re in it for the long haul)
- Embedded in classroom and school contexts
- Substantive (includes increased knowledge of learning and teaching)
- Designed with adult learning theories in mind.