All teachers, regardless of the grade-level or subject they teach, bear the responsibility of helping students use language—especially academic language. Knowing how to acquire, access, and implement the language of a discipline—through reading, writing, speaking, and listening—is essential to a student’s success in and beyond school. The task that teachers face in supporting students’ linguistic dexterity is made increasingly complicated by the expanding cultural and linguistic diversity of students enrolled in K-12 schools throughout the United States. The Institute for Educational Initiatives aspires to meet the needs of PreK-12 teachers across the content areas of math, science, English, social studies, foreign language, and theology through this year’s Excellence in Teaching Conference.
The 2-day conference will capitalize on the field-tested methods of Project GLAD (the Guided Language Acquisition Design Model), a program begun on the West Coast to promote language acquisition, academic achievement, and cross-cultural skills in PreK-12 classrooms across the curriculum. Proven so effective that entire school districts have formally adopted the program, the Be GLAD method is now finding its way into professional conferences and professional development offerings throughout the country. Teachers participating in the 2018 Excellence in Teaching Conference will have the opportunity to learn from Be GLAD team members who specialize in teacher training. Anticipated workshops will help teachers develop strategies to make academic language accessible for all students, to differentiate instruction to meet the various levels of academic language development, and to guide teachers from direct teaching instruction using academic content language to small group and independent student mastery of academic writing.