Training Workshops for Languages Other Than English (LOTE)
Texas schools or districts may make arrangements for training workshops by contacting the professional development coordinator at your Regional Education Service Center. You may also contact Michael G. Hydak, Ph.D., Director for Languages Other Than English at the Texas Education Agency at 512-936-2444, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for presentation and handout source files used previously to teach the training workshops.
An ideal starting point for teachers new to LOTE instruction, or an excellent review for experienced practitioners, this training provides an overview of the development of the standards and an in-depth examination of the Program Goals (5 Cs) and how they differ from a traditional skills-based approach to language learning and teaching. Participants reflect on the guiding principles underlying LOTE instruction and learning in Texas, consider learning snapshots to identify targeted standards and explore ways to expand those activities, and practice identifying tasks by progress checkpoints as they consider expectations for novice, intermediate, and advanced learners.
This workshop is designed both for teachers of special courses for Spanish for Spanish Speakers and those who have native speakers integrated into regular classes. It begins by examining characteristics of Spanish speaking students and the range of proficiencies and linguistic variations they exhibit. Participants then engage in activities focused on adapting standards-based instruction to provide students opportunities to expand their existing oral proficiency as they develop a full range of cultural and linguistic skills.
While Texas standards for foreign language learners provide guidelines for instruction, they are intentionally broad in scope to allow for maximum flexibility in how districts choose to implement them. Considerable planning and reflection is required before districts begin the process of developing or revising curriculum. This training guides educators through the reflective process as they participate in activities that examine the impact of LOTE standards on instruction and four approaches to curriculum development. It provides the catalyst for team building among those developing the curriculum and helps them ensure students in the district have opportunities to develop the cultural and linguistic competencies needed to become proficient language users.
Because the Texas standards for foreign language learners describe in general terms what learners should know and be able to do at each proficiency level, teachers express a strong desire to see examples of what these standards actually look like when implemented in classroom instruction. This training introduces sample thematic, standards-based units of study, or learning scenarios, and guides participants in hands-on practice in developing them. They discuss criteria for evaluating the activities they develop, and, once created, learn to adapt them to the other progress checkpoints.
Comprehensive standards that focus on overall communicative proficiency require instruction that includes integrating cultural and linguistic skills within the framework of the program goals (5 Cs), more coaching/less directing by the teacher, and emphasizing activities in which students learn through use of the target language. A variety of strategies may be needed to facilitate students’ and teachers’ adjustment to this shift in focus. This training presents priming, grouping, application, practice, and assessment strategies with standards-based examples and opportunities to practice each. Even experienced teachers can benefit from working with colleagues in developing new activities that support standards-based instruction.
Performance-based standards necessitate the inclusion of a variety of assessment tasks that integrate skills and immerse students in scenarios resembling real life situations. This module reviews the differences in traditional and performance-based assessment, examines key characteristics of alternative assessments, and recognizes the match between PBA and state standards for language learners. As they engage in individual reflection and writing, small and whole-group discussions, creating, critiquing, and analysis, participants practice developing tasks that operationalize the standards and provide a match between objectives and instruction.
Many educators find developing performance-based tasks much easier than assessing them, and fear of subjectivity often keeps teachers from engaging learners in this important evaluation process. This module illustrates that rubrics are easy to use, make teacher expectations clear, and provide learners feedback on what they can do and where they need improvement. Participants examine numerous assessment rubrics and get ample hands-on practice in developing them for their own classroom assignments.