Excited to explore, but unsure where to begin?
This guide is designed to help administrators and professional development (PD) providers find a helpful place to start using the Multilingual Learning Toolkit! As a first stop, visit and bookmark the Starter Guide. This thorough explanation of research and key foundational principles for Multilingual Learners (MLs) is an invaluable resource for both you and the teachers with whom you work. You can weave the research-based content into presentations and PD activities or use it to make programmatic decisions that support MLs and families.
Use the Reflection Tool (English PDF or Spanish PDF) to reflect on the strengths of your own practice as an administrator or PD provider and (2) to identify priorities to build capacity among the teachers of MLs with whom you work.
Step One: Self-Reflect
Administrators might begin by reflecting on their own strengths and growth areas. In the table below, review each critical capacity of school administrators and put a mark in the appropriate column to reflect on your own strengths and growth areas. Notice the areas you marked as emerging strengths and growth areas, and explore associated Evidence-based Strategies and resources which are part of Strategy 11: Building Educators’ Capacity.
Step Two: Determine Priority Areas for Teachers
Administrators and PD providers can guide teachers to identify priority areas for their own learning. Here are steps you can take to structure self-reflection in a faculty meeting or professional development session:
- Introduce the Reflection Tool for Teachers. You might say something like: “We have access to a new website offering great Evidence-based Strategies and resources for teaching young Multilingual Learners! We are going to explore it together this year. In order to focus our learning, we’re going to begin by reflecting on priorities for our own learning. We’ll reflect individually, and then identify areas we’ve chosen in common.”
- Invite teachers to review the numbered Instructional Topics in the blue rows of the Reflection Tool. Use the prompt, “When it comes to teaching Multilingual Learners, I am confident about this topic/strategy…” and ask them to mark an X in the column that indicates how confident they feel about the Instructional Topics: (A “not very,” (B) “somewhat,” or (C) “very.”
- Then, ask teachers to share which Instructional Topics they marked as (A) “not very” or (B) “somewhat.” Keep a tally in the chart below. You might read off the number and name of the Instructional Topic and ask teachers to raise their hands if they marked it (A) or (B), or post a chart like the one below and ask teachers to add their own tally marks. Remind teachers that this exercise is meant to guide collaborative work to strengthen teaching and learning with MLs. Tell them that marking an Instructional Topic as (A) “not very” is okay and will not be criticized. Administrators and PD providers can guide teachers to identify priority areas for their own learning. Here are steps you can take to structure self-reflection in a faculty meeting or professional development session:
- Focus on the 2–3 Instructional Topics with the most tally marks. Present them to the teachers to facilitate discussion. You might say something like:“Which of these Instructional Topics seems like a helpful place for us to begin exploring, given our school’s mission, program model(s), and our learners’ strengths and development areas?”Gather teachers’ feedback and use it to identify 1–2 starting points for shared learning and exploring around the Instructional Topics.
Step Three: Dig Deeper into Evidence-based Strategies
Now ask teachers to read through the white rows of lettered Evidence-based Strategies underneath the Instructional Topic that you have chosen in the Reflection Tool. Use the prompt, “When it comes to teaching Multilingual Learners, I am confident about this topic/strategy…” and ask teachers to mark an X in the column that indicates how confident they feel about the Evidence-based Strategies: (A) “not very,” (B) “somewhat,” or (C) “very.”
Teachers are now ready to explore specific Evidence-based Strategies and resources that will help them learn more about the Instructional Topic. Co-construct a plan with teachers to explore the Strategies that they marked as (B) “somewhat” or (A) “very.”
Step Four: Facilitate Exploration of the Multilingual Learning Toolkit
Organize teachers to begin exploring resources. You might choose one Instructional Topic area for everyone to explore together or divide teachers into groups based on interest or learning needs. For example:
- Use professional learning time to complete a jigsaw exploration activity: Invite pairs of teachers to divide up the re sources within one Evidence-based Strategy area to engage in close examination. Then ask teachers to share out one new strategy that they would like to try out in practice. Independent exploration time can also be done prior to the professional learning session to maximize time for jigsaw sharing.
- Help teachers develop a plan, as individuals or in pairs, to try out a new resource or strategy in their own class rooms and come back and reflect on the experience in a session 1–2 weeks later. Give teachers thinking time, or ask them to do a quick write using the following prompt: “What worked well, and what was challenging about using the resource or practice you selected? What questions do you have?” Ask teachers to share out and react to one another’s ideas. Facilitate a discussion about what teachers want to try out next.
- Ask teachers to volunteer to try out a specific Evidence-based Strategy that they have learned about from the Multilingual Learning Toolkit. Give them time during the professional learning session to reenact or share a video from part of their lesson. Again, use prompts like, “What worked well, and what was challenging about trying out the resource or practice you selected? What questions do you have?” to facilitate a discussion.
- Assign teachers to read through a “Strategy in Action” for an example of how one teacher implements Evidence-based Strategies for MLs in their own practice. Group teachers into pairs or trios to read the description of the practice at their grade level, and then have them answer the reflection questions. Invite groups to share out and facilitate a discussion using prompts such as: “What in our own practice reflects the strategy described here? Was there something this teacher did that we can integrate into our teaching practice? What questions do you have?”
Step Five: Keep Going!
Go back to your Instructional Topic tally marks as you continue to facilitate learning experiences for teachers on how to support MLs. Continue to explore the Evidence-based Strategies and resources for Instructional Topics with high marks for (A) “not very” and (B) “somewhat.” Offer teachers more opportunities to fill out the Reflection Tool (English PDF or Spanish PDF) to explore other specific Evidence-based Strategies and keep up the learning process. New resources will continue to be added to the Multilingual Learning Toolkit. You may also want to structure opportunities for teachers to come back to review Evidence-based Strategies that they marked as (C) “very” to see how other researchers and teachers work to implement resources into practice with MLs.