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Supporting Classroom Practices for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children through Teacher-Focused Professional Development 

Fri, March 24, 10:15 to 11:45am, Salt Palace Convention Center, Floor: 3, Meeting Room 355 A

Session Type: Paper Symposium


As early care and education (ECE) classrooms become increasingly diverse, the need for professional development (PD) to facilitate enriching, responsive instruction is crucial to achieving positive child outcomes for emerging multi-lingual or dual language learners (EML, DLL). Often, PD is not individualized to teachers’ professional experiences, or specific to strategies for working with EMLs/DLLs, nor does it allow teachers agency in their choice of PD; it is not intensive or systematic. In this symposium, studies explore PD and suggest how PD can be effective in supporting high-quality, culturally and linguistically responsive practice. The first researcher will present findings on teaching teams, identifying practices that best facilitate EMLs’ language/literacy development, the supports educators receive, and their PD needs. The second researcher will present findings from a sample of Latina teachers exploring their previous PD experiences, attitudes about using Spanish for instruction, and PD that results in changing practice. The third researcher will examine how utilizing a qualitative collaborative inquiry model with educators serves as a method for ongoing PD to improve instructional practice with EMLs. Overall findings suggest that teachers respond positively to PD when given an agentic, self-reflective tool for evaluation, aimed at supporting their student population. Teaching teams emphasized the necessity of PD methods, materials, and resources aligned to research driven best practice, and the inclusion of family engagement strategies. PD within a collaborative inquiry amplifies the voices of educators and supports the use of multilingual literacies. Attention to teacher wellbeing and an asset-based approach will frame this symposium.

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