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Facilitating Professional Learning Communities That Support Struggling Readers Who Are English Learners in the Southwest

Tue, April 12, 8:15 to 9:45am, Convention Center, Floor: Level One, Room 101

Abstract

Objectives and Purpose
The purpose of this poster is to present Professional Learning Communities Facilitator’s Guide, a tool that can be used to facilitate a professional learning community (PLC) centered on supporting struggling readers who are English learners.

Theoretical Framework
PLCs are a form of professional development in which small groups of educators with shared interests work together with the goals of expanding their knowledge and improving their craft. Typically, a PLC consists of a team of teachers that meets regularly to learn new topics, share ideas, and problem solve, assisted by a facilitator or team leader. PLC members often share the goal of improving student achievement by improving their own teaching practice. This shared interest brings coherence and continuous learning to their professional development (Vescio, Ross, & Adams, 2008).

Methods
The Facilitator’s Guide is designed to guide professional development within a PLC. The guide will:
1. Increase educator understanding of how to facilitate a PLC using the materials in the Professional Learning Communities Facilitator’s Guide
2. Increase educator understanding of the level of evidence supporting the four recommended practices in the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School practice guide.
3. Increase educator understanding of the current evidence base on interventions for struggling readers who are English learners and how this evidence might be applied to local contexts.
4. Increase educator understanding of instructional tools and techniques to help English learners access grade-level content in meaningful ways.

Data Sources
The Facilitator’s Guide uses content from the IES WWC practice guide Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School.

Scholarly Significance
The PLC Facilitator’s Guide is intended to foster a deeper understanding of how scientifically based research in educating English learners may be applied to classroom practice. The research on effective practice for instructing English learners provides the foundation for the content of the sessions in the guide. The PLC format provides opportunities for teachers to actively learn together as they apply research-based concepts to classroom practice. The PLC model is one means of achieving coherence and is a key component in quality professional development (Desimone, Porter, Garet, Yoon, & Birman, 2002). The PLC Facilitator’s Guide demonstrates the alignment of school curriculum, the needs and learning goals of English learners, and school- and district-wide change efforts.

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