NPD Grant Highlight: SEE-TEL Leverages Student And Family Strengths To Improve Educator Competence And Confidence
June 22, 2020
Strengthening Equity and Effectiveness for Teachers of English Learners (SEE-TEL) is a five-year, $2.6 million National Professional Development Grant (NPD) from OELA. The main goal of SEE-TEL is to improve and equalize the instruction and achievement of designated ELs across the state of Missouri by developing educators’ expertise on effective instructional strategies and family engagement. The grant activities emphasize equity and civil rights for immigrant and refugee children from across the highest-need areas of Missouri.
SEE-TEL educators transcend deficit perspectives and insist on foregrounding what families and students offer the broader community. An article in the November/December 2019 issue of Literacy Today stated that SEE-TEL has shifted the focus from what families need to how they can lead.
US News and World Report and the Washington Times adapted a story from The Joplin Globe, which reported on SEE-TEL’s success in connecting four diverse Missouri school districts. As part of SEE-TEL, each district has opportunities to share their challenges and opportunities offered by their EL and immigrant communities.
Evaluations and research reports indicate educators benefit from SEE-TEL’s professional development activities. A recent article in TESOL Journal examined how creativity is manifested in online TESOL coursework required by NPD grant participants. Surveys show that from Year 1 to Year 2 of SEE-TEL, participating educators grew more confident in:
- Recognizing differences between school and home-country cultures and communication styles.
- Developing better relationships with families whose children were designated English Learners (e.g., see these slides from Dr. Kim Song’s recent presentation at the National Association of Bilingual Education).
- Communicating children’s educational progress to immigrant and refugee parents.
- Adapting curriculum and instruction to accommodate and build upon students’ diverse home languages
To develop such learning, SEE-TEL content teachers practice careful lesson planning, using this WIDA-Supported Lesson Plan Template, which incorporates such scaffolding elements as four language modalities, key vocabulary words, function/action verbs and more. Download a SEE-TEL Sample Lesson Plan created by one teacher who uses translanguaging pedagogies, multilingual texts and vocabulary word banks.