Framework for Quality Professional Development for Practitioners Working with Adult English Language Learners

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This guide provides a framework, based in research conducted by the American Research Institute, to build quality professional development opportunities for those working with English language learners. It has information on planning, implementing, and evaluating these opportunities. The framework has three components-content, process, context- which address what practitioners need to know and the professional development process and system. Included in this resource is an appendix with a rationale for quality professional development, visuals, and planning tools.

Required Training

No training needed to use this product, however more in depth follow-up training would be appropriate.

What the experts say

Why this resource may be of value to the field of adult education and its potential use. Most significant or useful features, etc. Include up to two citations of the research undergirding the resource listed by the experts.

In large, this is a very useful and concisely constructed tool. It is an excellent piece for policy makers, administrators and teacher trainers who are planning a long-term strategy for the professionalization of the Adult ESL workforce. A highlight of this piece is that administrators need to participate in professional development programs. The elements of the context of PD are acknowledged and the ones that cannot be controlled are explicitly stated, as are the ones that CAN be controlled. Those elements-- a system, shared decision-making and support-make or break any PD initiative.

What is particularly notable is the focus on extended PD and on the use of adult learning principles in delivery of the PD. The authors emphasize the need to move away from "one-shot" PD efforts and offer a framework that establishes a clear way to plan and implement long-term PD. The division of the framework into content, process and context is well-accepted adult learning practice and would be familiar from program planning classes. The framework's open format also supports the suggestion that PD content be planned by a team of practitioners, increasing their ownership of the planning.

The checklists are very comprehensive. However, if taken seriously this framework would constitute a one or two year teacher training program that would make an excellent MA or M.Ed course of study along with a professional license. Some of these ideas and concepts could not possibly be learned in a week. And, a more explicit focus on changing teacher practices rather than just learning content should be considered in the planning process.

The authors, importantly, consider the different learner backgrounds, needs, and affective factors that will impact learners' outcomes in any given PD initiative. However, many of the sources are based in adult education and K-12 research, rather than the target population of adult ESL learners, therefore extra attention should be given to the needs of this population when planning. And, while the authors cite context as important and use the workplace as a rationale for learning English, they ignore the extensive body of specialized knowledge in the area of workforce literacy (see Steve Reder and Karen Wickland's work).

A suggested resource: (Note: not reviewed by LINCS):

Lytle, S.L. Belzer, A., Reumann R. (1992) Invitations to Inquiry: Rethinking Staff Development in Adult Literacy Education, Technical Report TR92-2, NCAL Project. National Center on Adult Literacy at the University of Pennsylvania.