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The Efficacy of Floridas Approach to In-Ser vice English Speakers of Other Languages Teacher Training Programs by Ronald D. Simmons, Jr. A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Psychological and Social Foundations College of Education University of South Florida Major Professor: Barb ara Shircliffe, Ph.D. Sherman Dorn, Ph.D. Toms Rodriguez, Ph.D. Linda Evans, Ph.D. Date of Approval: July 2, 2008 Keywords: English language learners, limited English proficient, professional development, language policy, ESL, ESOL Copyright 2008, Ronald D. Simmons, Jr.
Dedication I would like to dedicate this dissertation to my mother and father Susan and Ron Simmons, and my wife Akemi Simmons. While my parents may no longer reside on this earth, their spirit has and will continue to infuse in me a burning drive to help the disenfranchised and vulnerable.
Acknowledgements I would like to thank the members of my committee for the time and considerable effort they provided to me in the course of this study. Their expert advice proved to be an invaluable resource and their numerous suggesti ons only served to add to the strength of the dissertation. In particul ar, I would like to thank th e committee chair Dr. Barbara Shircliffe. Her guidance and tire less devotion in assisting me over a period of more than three years went beyond the call of duty and I wa nt to extend my profound thanks to her.
i Table of Contents List of Tables v List of Figures vi Abstract vii Chapter 1 Introduction 1 Statement of Problem 1 Background to Floridas Consent Decree 3 Purpose of Study 17 Research Bias 17 Research Questions 19 Significance of the Study 19 Clarification of Terminology 19 Overview of Remaining Chapters 22 Chapter 2 Review of the Literature 23 Overview 23 Marginalizing English Language Learners 25 A Brief History of the Bilingual Education Movement 27 Beyond the Bilingual Education Movement 37 Effective ESOL Pedagogy 39
ii Professional Development of Teachers Working with English Language Learners 45 Characteristics of Sound Professional In-Service Teacher Training Practices 52 Summary 57 Chapter 3 Method 58 Overview of Method 58 Selection of Participants 59 Delimitations 60 Limitations 62 Threats to Internal Validity 62 Threats to External Validity 62 Threats to Legitimization 63 Sampling Scheme for Mixed methods Study 64 Quantitative & Qualitative Instruments 64 Procedures 67 Research Paradigm and Design 67 Mixed Data Analysis 69 Chapter Four Results 71 Introduction 71 Phase I 74 No Follow-up 78 Check-it-off-mentality 78
iii Impractical Classroom Applications 79 Lack of Engagement 80 Fear of Audits 81 Phase II 83 Phase III 92 Overemphasis on Cross-Cultural Awareness Strategies 92 Curriculum was Redundant to Participants 93 Lack of Specificity 94 Training Viewed as a Waste of Time 95 Summary of Results 97 Chapter Five Discussion and Recommendations 100 Issues & Problems with Study 100 Practicality & Usefulness of Trainings 105 Recommendations for Improved Utility 109 No Meaningful Accountability 113 Recommendations for Improved A ccountability 114 Over Emphasis on Cross-Cultural Awareness Strategies 118 Creating a New Model 119 Summary of Study 125 References 130
iv Appendices Appendix A 147 Appendix B 157 Appendix C 164 Appendix D 166 About the Author End Page
v List of Tables Table 1 Frequency distribution of survey and score responses 72 Table 2 Rubric mean scores per district and across all three districts 76 Table 3 Comparison of survey and rubric means across all three di stricts 85 Table 4 Comparison of pair-wis e differences across coverage areas 88 Table 5 ANOVA summary table for study investigating the relationship 90 between districts training coverage across five areas
vi List of Figures Figure 1. Combined mean scores across all three districts 77 Figure 2. Survey and rubric means comparison across three districts 86
vii The Efficacy of Floridas Approach to In-Service English Speakers of Other Languages Teacher Training Programs Ronald D. Simmons, Jr. ABSTRACT Much of how Florida and other states acr oss the country justify the practice of mainstreaming English language learners in to regular content classrooms rests on the premise that with the guidance of state offici als, local school distri cts adequately train content teachers to work with English language learners. Yet little to no research exists that can help identify and analyze the overa ll efficacy of these programs. Consequently, this study has attempted to determine whethe r district training se ssions in Florida are sufficiently covering the state-mandated content areas that teachers are required to learn and to what extent in-service teachers agree or disagree that they received the appropriate amount of instruction that w ould prepare them to instruct English language learners. Training sessions in three la rge Florida school districts wi th high proportions of English language learners were studied using a mixed-methods approach that gathered quantitative and qualitative data from observa tions, surveys and in-depth interviews. Among other things, the findings revealed a pattern of districts overemphasizing crosscultural awareness issues to the detriment of other critical areas teachers need to know such as methods and curriculum. In addition, there was a general consensus on the part of participants that the trainings lacked specificity and were both impractical and redundant.
viii A number of specific re commendations are offered such as ways to modify the focus of the curriculum, provide incentives to teach ers, and create more accountability and oversight of the training sessions themse lves. Policymakers are strongly urged to prioritize these types of progr ams by providing training sessions with more resources and attaching to them a larger sense of importance.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 1 Chapter 1 Introduction Statement of the Problem The issue of school achievement among E nglish language learners (ELLs) in the State of Florida has grown in recent years to become one that policy makers and school officials can hardly afford to ignore. As of the school year 2006/ 07, the total number of English language learners in Floridas public schools for all categories was 234,934. This is approximately 9% of the states total school population. The majority of these children could be found in just five counties, accoun ting for close to 70% of the entire English language learner population in the state (Flo rida Department of Education, 2005-06a). Worrying to many is the fact th at this very sizeable group has one of the highest grade retention rates in the nation for secondary level students (Kindler, 2002). Additionally, according to the last report available in which state-wide data was collected the graduation rates of English language learners enrolled in English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs, in Florida, a state in which levels are already low, was a paltry 36.2% in 2001 (Florida Depart ment of Education, 2005-06a). English language learners furthermore do not appear to be faring well on Floridas high stakes accountability meas ures either. In 2006, only a quarter of the English language learner population received a passi ng score on the readi ng section of the 2006 Florida Comprehensive assessment Test (FCAT) (Florida Department of Education, 2006) and perhaps most troubling, in some dist ricts reading scores for English language
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 2 learners actually fell from prior year s (Florida Department of Education, 2006). Statewide the overall passing ra te for the general student population for reading in 2006 was 75% for third graders, declining to a paltry 32% by 10th grade. Furthermore, while almost all groups with the ex ception of students with disabi lities have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) at least once sin ce 2002-2003, English language learners in the State of Florida have never once made AYP since reports were made available beginning in 2002-2003 (AYP is a Statewide accountabil ity measure mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001) (Florida Depa rtment of Education, 2008). Notwithstanding these dismal results, it s hould be noted that the percentage of English language learners passing the reading section of the FCAT test increased by 15% from the time the exam was first administer ed in 2001 to the pres ent. However, it is questionable whether a 15% increase should be considered substantial when the state has spent millions of dollars on its (ESOL) program in the past five years to ensure this important population receives a comprehensible education. In addition, these gains, as noted above, have not closed the gap betw een English language learners and native English speaking students. Given these trends, one would assume that Florida would be taking an aggressive approach to rectifying these shortcomings via its compensatory programs aimed at providing English language learners a comp rehensible education. These programs are comprised mainly of providing English instru ction to ELLs part of the day in ESOL classes as well as training regular content teachers in ESOL methods to work with the large numbers of English language learners that are mainstreamed in their classes
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 3 throughout the school year. These types of programs are not unique to the state. They can be found in various forms from California to Massachusetts, and while the use of such models has proliferated over th e past twenty years, some notable scholars have been quick to criticize their use. Cummins claims for example, that despite the myriad of compensatory programs and the hiring of additional aides, and remedial personnel, Hispanic drop-out rates among Mexican American and mainland Puerto Rican students remains between 40 and 50 % and Hispanic studen ts in places such as Texas continue to be overrepresented in special e ducation classes (Cummins, 2001). Here in Florida it would appear that shortcomings exist regarding these compensatory programs as well. In partic ular, the ESOL in-service teacher training programs which can be found in counties across th e state are, in my opinion, in dire need of reform. English language learners in Fl orida are overwhelmingly mainstreamed in content classes, (MacDonald, 2004), and it has become the responsibility of teachers to provide a comprehensible and meaningful educat ion to those not proficient in English. If the district in-service training many teacher s receive is not sufficiently preparing instructors to manage the thousands of ma instreamed ELLs placed in their classrooms year after year, then the entire system of requiring teach ers to take ESOL training courses as a way to justify the system must be called into question. Background to Floridas Consent Degree How Florida arrived at th is troubling situation in which it appears the vast majority of its English language learners ar e struggling to succeed is a rather complex question. Floridas story, however, should not be viewed within the parameters of the
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 4 state in and of itself; much of Floridas approach to teaching its English language learners relies on an English-only model which corres ponds to a national trend that states have turned to in the wake of the demise of the bilingual education movement beginning approximately twenty years ago (San Migue l, 2004). In August of 1990, the State of Florida signed a consent decree as a settleme nt of a lawsuit filed by a coalition of eight minority rights advocacy groups. The consent decree created in effect the formalized framework by which districts across the state use to offer instruction to their English language learner populations. The decree mandates six areas of compliance: identification and assessment, personnel, equa l access to appropriate programming, equal access to appropriate categorical programs for ELLs, and monitoring issues, and outcome measures. In 2003, the Decree was amended to expand some of the original provisions and also require that administrators and guidance counselors to obtain the 60 hours of ESOL training that social studies, mathematic s, science and computer literacy content teachers are already required to take (L eague of United Latin American Citizens ( LULAC) vs. State Board of Education 1990). Much of the basis regarding the methods for how ELLs are provided instruction is stated in Section II, Equal Access to Appropriate Program ming which stipulates that English language learners are entitled to e qual access to programming that shall include both access to intensive English language inst ruction in basic subject matter areas of math, science, social studies, computer liter acy which is (1) understandable to the LEP student given his or her level of conditiona l English language proficiency, and (2) equal and comparable in amount, scope, sequence an d quality to that provided to English
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 5 proficient students (Office of Multicu ltural Student Language Education, 1998, p.9). Part F of the Decree offers di stricts the alternative to prov ide home language instruction to English language learners over establishing an ESOL model as long as they conform to a number of stipulations such as implem enting accepted bilingual pedagogy and requiring that teachers who work with ELLs be qualified bilingual personnel. The Decree, however, does not prescribe any specific advice regarding bilingual instructional approaches or for any other model for that matter. To compensate for this, the Florida Department of Education ha s published a resource manual trainers and program administrators can use to guide them through the implemen tation of their inservice district training courses. In the manual, Language Arts Through ESOL A Guide For Teachers And Administrators: A Companion To The Florida Curriculum Frameworks For Language Arts (1999), chapter 5, sect ion 5.1 Instructional Approaches states that content area instruction may be delivered through two major approaches (p.5). If a school or district c hooses to implement the ESOL model, they must ensure that the classes have been struct ured in conformity with the ESOL strategies for teaching ELLs (English language learners) ba sic subject matter and also ensure that these strategies are used at all times. The manua l also stipulates that the course be taught by qualified personnel and appropriate materials are used and the subject matter taught to English language learners is comparable to that provided to nonELL students (p.6). If a school or district chooses to implement a bi lingual approach, the manual stipulates that content area instruction shoul d be delivered in two languages utilizing sound, research based instructional strategies th at foster the development of discrete linguistic systems in
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 6 the formal and informal registers, as well as literacy, both in English and in the first language. (p.6) Other stipulati ons include encouraging and assi sting students to maintain their native language as well as teaching them to learn to speak, read and write in English at a developmentally appropriate level provided the students first la nguage is not English (p.7). What is important to note here is that while the decree and training manual may provide guidance and the option for district s to provide ELLs with native language instruction, it does not specifically require them to do so as much if not almost all of the language in the decree places a greater empha sis on establishing ESOL programs over bilingual ones. For example, in Section II, pa rt C, entitled, Basic ESOL Instruction the Decree describes in detail what instructional ESOL program s should include, as well as the number of instructional ESOL hours an E nglish language learner should be provided with, the manner in which ESOL services sh all prepare students fo r reclassification, and the standards and criteria the state provides di stricts for evaluating ba sic ESOL programs. ((LULAC) vs. State Board of Education, 1990). The Decree does provide certain standards that must be met in order for dist ricts to develop bilingual programs such as those mentioned hitherto but the description of these requirements is in no way comparable in my opinion to the length and br eadth of coverage that the Decree reserves for establishing the ESOL formalized framework. For instance, the stated requirements for districts to submit a bilingual program do not include any language which speaks of how ELL students are to be reclassified, nor do they discuss the training of personnel. In terms of the latter, the ESOL model contains clearly stated policies for how personnel are
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 7 to be trained, which among other things include the number of hours each type of educator must obtain to receive an endorsement. Indeed, it may very well be left up to the districts to choose whether to implement an intensive English model or a bilingual one, but the emphasis on the ESOL m odel in the Decree allows di stricts to make a choice between a program that is generalized and briefly stated to one that is explicitly spelled out throughout the Decree. One could also argue as well that in t odays socio-political climate marked by anti-immigration sentiment and the push for E nglish-only legislati on, it is doubtful that districts in the State of Flor ida would establish a comprehe nsive bilingual policy if they were not explicitly forced to. This is especial ly true when there is little to no federal support for bilingual education in the wake of The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) passed by President Bush and Congress in 2001. This bill reauthorized the Bilingual Education Act of 1994, formerly known as Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to what is now T itle III of the NCLB (San Miguel, 2004). Nowhere in the titles new title, Language In struction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Children is the word bilingual me ntioned; the simple explanation lies with the fact that through a funding formula which fa vored one part of th e bill over another, money allocated for the program was exclus ively directed toward promoting Englishonly instruction (Kuenzi, 2002). Thus the fe deral support for bilingual programs which states and school districts ha d once relied on in the past has evaporated, leaving them on their own to generate fundi ng during a period of limited resources and a stagnant economy. Nevertheless, a failure on the part of districts to implement bilingual programs
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 8 might perhaps be more of a result of inade quate resources such as funding and retaining qualified bilingual teachers as well as securing av ailable funds rather than a failure on the part of the Decree to provide sufficient expl anation as to how districts might begin to establish such programs. Thus, while the State of Florida may affo rd districts the opport unity to implement bilingual programs, the overwhelming majority of districts rely on the ESOL model as their sole instructional me thod. In one study, scholars at Florida State University surveyed 44 ESOL administrators from vari ous districts across Florida and found that few bilingual services were offered to the majo rity of lower level ELLs and that inclusion was the overwhelming option at all grade le vels (Platt, 2007). According to another scholar at Florida State Univ ersity, Floridas provision for ESOL Reveals that inclusion has become the most widespread and prefe rred model for teaching English (MacDonald, 2004, p. 18). Inclusion refers to mainstreami ng English language learners into regular content classes. Along with ta king regular content classes wi th native English speakers, ELLs also spend one or two class periods a day in ESOL classes where they are taught English using second language acquisition techniques. This practice is commonly referred to as pull-out (Iowa Departme nt of Education, 2004). As of 2004-05, 2,674 elementary schools in Florida delivered ba sic core subject area instruction through inclusion as opposed to just 36 schools which offered basic core subject area instruction in the native/home language. In secondary schools, 1,727 schools em ployed the inclusion model compared to 14 schools which offered native/ home language instruction (Florida Department of Education, 2006).
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 9 The consent decrees emphasis on En glish-only instruction over bilingual methods is a program far removed from many past and present approaches throughout the United States to educating students whose fi rst language was and is not English. As far back as the 19th century, Eur opean immigrant groups in the United States such as the Germans, Polish and Dutch established bili ngual schools in various states. In fact, throughout much of the 19th century, French was the languag e of instruction in Louisiana as Spanish was in New Mexico. Particularly widespread were German-English schools which had been established across the Midwest in places such as St. Louis, Missouri between the 1880s and World War One (C rawford, 1999). Bilingua l schools all but disappeared in the wake of anti-immigrat ion fears during and after World War I but would re-emerge in the 1960s, when Coral Way Elementary was established in 1963 in Dade County Florida, with help from a Ford Foundation grant. Coral Way Elementary is considered to be the first public bilingual elementary school program in the United States established in the post 1963 era (Andersson & Boyer, 1970). Another notable bilingual school in Miami of the same era was Rivers ide Elementary who had on their staff the former president of a Havana radio stati on, an attorney and a pharmacist (Chambers & Kersey, Jr., 1973). Riverside, however, would not fare as well as Coral Way as the program was discontinued due to a federal de segregation ruling whic h paired the school with a mostly all black elementary school. As Chambers and Kersey point out it was ironic that a school which had received federal funds to ope rate a bilingual program for nine years was closed by an order from the very same government (p.138).
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 10 There were other bilingual programs that were established in the 1960s. In Texas, many programs were established, most notably in San Antonio, but also in Edinburg, Del Rio, Corpus Christi and Zapata. In Californi a, Calexico and Mary sville began programs in 1966, and in 1967 bilingual programs were es tablished in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Hoboken, New Jersey. In Naples, Florida, four Collier County public schools operated bilingual programs in grades 1-6 during the early 1970s and in Miami, the Miccosukee Day School began a bilingual school to teach Miccosukee Indians (Andersson & Boyer, 1970). In Tampa, Flor ida, West Tampa Elementary operated a bilingual program during the 1970s (according to a bilingual teacher I spoke with who went there during that period).1 Thus, while it is usually Coral Way Elementary which attracts the most attention in terms of being a forerunner of bilingual programs in the post-WWII era, it was by no means the only one, as many other schools began bilingual programs shortly after the school was established. A number of bilingual ini tiatives were also passed by the federal government and courts during the 1960s and 1970s. More will be said later in Ch apter 2 regarding the history of bilingual education including federal legislative initiatives and court rulings, but for now it might be helpful to provide a br ief, detailed timeline of significant laws, acts and initiatives that were enacted prior to the implementation of Florida consent decree in the early 1990s as they provide a context for how the Decree came to be formulated. 1 Conversation between a bilingual teacher and researcher at school site in spring of 2008.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 11 Civil Rights Act (1964). Among other things, the Act pr ohibited discrimination in federally funded programs. This le gislation would later be us ed to determine if federal monies would be made av ailable to school districts in the form of Title I monies based on whether they were found to be following policies which were non-discriminatory in nature. Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965). Part of President Johnsons War on Poverty, the Act began providing categorical aid to schools with high concentrations of low-income children. ESEA Title I funding would later form the basis for providing aid for bilingual programs as the Act was amended in 1968 with Title VII serv ing as the Bilingual E ducation Act of 1968. Bilingual Education Act (1968). Also known as Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Act provided supplemental funding for school districts to implement programs which targeted the special needs of limited English proficient students. Lau vs. Nichols (1974). The Supreme Court decision ruled that local school districts had to take steps to improve the quality of inst ruction toward children who faced a language deficie ncy and the court ruled teaching non English speaking children in English without assistance violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Equal Educational Opportunity Act (1974). Provided clarification of what constituted denial of equal opportuni ty including the failure by edu cational agencies to overcome language barriers in instructional programs.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 12 Lau Remedies (1975). The Office of Civil Rights issued a document detailing a number of remedies by which sc hool districts could estab lish bilingual programs and later produced a set of co mpliance procedures which for the first time, pressured districts to establ ish bilingual programs by th reatening to withdraw federal funds if bilingual prog rams were not implemented. The remedies also discouraged the use of English as a second language (ESL) programs in place of transitional bilingual ones. Castaneda vs. Pickard (1981).Idaho vs. Migrant Council (1981). Denver vs. School District No. 1 (Denver), (1983), and Illinois vs. Gomez (1987). These court cases established the legal responsibility of th eir respective states Department of Education to mon itor and evaluate district programs directed toward limited English proficient students (Mora, 2006). Amendment to Floridas State Budget (1987). For the first time in Florida, money was earmarked to provide funds to local districts for LEP students (Badia, 1994). to English language learners.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 13 Since the 1990s, the favorable climate which ensured bilingual programs would survive and even thrive thanks to the above mentioned legislative ac ts and court rulings, has become clouded. This turn of events will be discussed later in Chapter 2 but for now it should suffice to say that it is today, generally accepted by scholars, that bilingual education is dead, if not on life support (San Miguel, 2004, Crawford, 2001). The No Child Left Behind Act, signed in 2001 offi cially replaced the B ilingual Education Act with an English-only piece of legislation. This coupled with the fact that various states around the country in recent years have ma de English only instruction mandatory, has resulted in a general acceptance among the majority of teachers, administrators and policy makers that the English-only model is the only viable alternative to teaching the nations English language learners (San Migue l, 2004). I should not, however, that there are, nevertheless, numerous bilingual and dual language or two-way immersion schemes that exist in various places around the country where progressive reformers have made determined efforts to maintain heritage language programs. Thus, for better or for worse, Florida today finds itself in similar circumstances as other states with high proportions of Eng lish language learners and perhaps not coincidently, their approach to dealing with the vast numbers of English language learners that are mainstreamed into regular content classes under the inclusion model is often quite similar. Florida, like Arizona and California for example, essentially takes the approach that by training its teachers in ES OL methods, it is by proxy offering the states English language learners compensatory serv ices under the consent decree. How this is accomplished can be seen by the rules and regul ations outlined in the consent decree.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 14 The Decree requires basic ESOL teachers or primary English and Language Arts instructors to obtain an ESOL endorsement in which they must complete 300 in-service points or 15 college semester hours. Teachers of mathematics, social studies, science, computer literacy and as of 2003, administrato rs and guidance counselors, must take an ESOL training course called Empowerment which is equivalent to 60 in-service points or three college-semester hours (Florida Departme nt of Education, 2006). Within the district in-service training programs, elementary and secondary English and language arts teachers must take five separate ESOL related courses that total 300 hours of training. Other secondary school content teachers such as social studies, science and mathematics are required to take 60 hours of ESOL training in the Empowerment course. Essentially the Empowe rment course is designed to be an overview of the five separate ESOL classe s which the 300 hour group is required to take. In the Empowerment course, typical ESOL st rategies, methods and issues are compressed into a broad framework that is meant to summarize many important aspects of second language acquisition. With a few exceptions, all other teachers, are required to take the Empowerment courses. The five major areas required to be covered in district in-service settings or at the pre-service level in colleges according to the consent decree are listed on the following page.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 15 a.) ESOL curriculum and materials development b.) cross cultural commun ication and understanding c.) applied linguistics d.) methods of teaching ESOL e.) testing a nd evaluation Districts are allowed to design their own in-service trainings as long as they meet the requirements as stated in the Decree (F lorida Department of Education, 2006). There have been several attempts in the past to evaluate the training and preparation of teachers and dist rict personnel in charge of English language learners here in Florida by looking at for in stance whether teachers were documenting ESOL strategies and if bilingual aids were present in cl assrooms when 15 or more ELLs were present (OMSLE, 1998). Yet, much of how we understa nd the process in which the in-service district training sessions are conducted is shrouded in rela tive obscurity as there has been no empirical study as of yet which focuses on the district training. In fact, there have been concerns raised about how these trainings were designed and are conducted today. In an interview at the University of South Florida, Peter Roos, a well known lawyer who has argued U.S. Supreme Court cases on the educational rights for language minority children, contends that part of the problem with the training of personnel as outlined in the Decree is the not ion that teachers who do not receive the full 300 hours of training are someho w viewed as being fully credentialed in ESOL when they are taking just 60 hours the one Empowerment course. Additionally, Roos questioned the viability of courses which offer less than 300 hours, believing as he said
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 16 that there is a real questi on as to whether they are taught by faculty who have a specialization in ESOL methods and he worried that ther e is no meaningful training of the trainers themselves (Roos, 2004). He furthermore raised the issue that Florida at the present time needs to develop a system to check whether educators who have been trained did indeed learn what they were supposed to have learned. Nevertheless, Roos is quic k to point out that Florid a before the Decree was a different place prior to its implementation. Before the Decree was signed, there was no training for educators whatsoever, nor was there any method for identifying ELLs. Over time he relates that our expectations have increased and we now see a debate shifting from whether or not to provide programmi ng to which system should be used (Roos, 2004). The type of instructional system designed to instruct ELLs and to train educators working with them is a critical matter becau se as we have seen, Floridas system of educating its English language learners based on the de-facto acceptance of the ESOL inclusion model depends on its educators to implement ESOL strategies in the regular content class in which they teach. With so much riding on teachers to use what they learned in district training sessions, it seems almost commonsense to assume that more attention would be given to the training sessi ons themselves. However, to date, there has been no study evaluating the in-service trai ning teachers receive to earn their ESOL endorsement.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 17 Purpose of Study Little to no research exists that can help identify and anal yze the overall efficacy of professional ESOL in-service training pr ograms across Florida. Consequently, this study attempts to determine whether district training sessions in Florida are adequately covering state-mandated content areas for th e ESOL endorsement and to what extent secondary school in-service teachers agree or di sagree that they received the appropriate amount of instruction that w ill prepare them to educate the myriad of English language learners who are mainstreamed into their classrooms each year. Research Bias It should be noted that research bias may have exis ted in terms of how I both viewed the efficacy of these training sessions and how I interacted with participants and trainers in the sessions I obser ved and studied. I have spent over six years working in a Title I high school where the majority of the schools population is Hispanic and one which has a large number of English language learners. Prior to that, I spent a good number of years living in Japan which provided me with an understanding of how difficult it is to accomplish even the most ordina ry of tasks when one is not proficient in the dominant native language. These experiences have sensitized me to the perils and pitfalls of second language acquisition and made me more aware of how critical it is that we provide our own children with a comprehe nsible education. This sensitivity has also been colored by the fact that over time at the high school where I worked, I witnessed numerous instances in which English language learners were placed in my classroom without even a rudimentary understanding of English. This practice coupled with a
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 18 conspicuous lack of meaningful services directed toward these children at the school where I work has over time frustrated me to the point of indignation. To my knowledge, teachers who were supposed to have been tr ained in ESOL methods do little more than pair Spanish speaking children with English speaking ones and most of the time teachers spent regarding English language issues is al most exclusively concer ned with filling out meaningless paperwork that the district requ ired teachers complete. Never in the five years I have been teaching English language le arners has an aide come to assist me nor has any district official come to observe whether I was complying with mandates explicitly stated in the consent decree. In fact the Office of Multicultural Studen t Language Education came to a similar conclusion in their monitoring report of Miami-Dade County School District back in 1998, where they found teachers were not doc umenting their ESOL strategies and bilingual aides were not cons istently in classrooms where 15 or more English language students were present (OMSLE, 1998). Neverthele ss, I would also like to note that I am conscious of the fact that many ESOL professionals in th e Floridas schools are hard working professionals who make every effort to improve the lives of the children they teach and assist. I argue the problem is not so much with these individuals but rather with the bureaucratic infrastructure of the entire system itself and most importantly an almost imperceptible disregard on the part of policy makers to go above and beyond the bureaucratic motions entailed in the ma ndates associated with the Decree.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 19 Research Questions The following research questions wi ll be addressed in the study: 1. To what extent do the ESOL in-service district training se ssions adequately cover the five main content areas the st ate requires be included in training programs? 2. How do secondary teachers perceive th e coverage, depth, and utility of inservice district training sessions? Significance of the Study It is hoped that this studys findings w ill lead policy makers to reevaluate how they approach training in-service teachers to manage the thousands of English language learners who are mainstreamed into content classes each year. Only by taking a serious look at their programs curriculum and imp act on teachers perceptions will districts begin taking the needed steps toward reform. Clarification of Terminology Acronyms, terms and definitions used by professionals and laypersons alike to describe the various groups, subjects, pr ograms and models associated with the instruction of English language learners can be bewilder ing and confusing to say the least. It is possible to desc ribe in general terms, however, some of the more commonly used identifiers. There are different terms used to iden tify students whose fi rst language is not English. These students may be called L anguage Minority Students (LM), Limited
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 20 English Proficient (LEP), or English language learners (ELLs). The label (L1) refers to a students first language and (L2) refers to a students second language or non-native language. The term English language learner ( ELL) is the most widely used today but it is not uncommon to still see the term LEP in recent literature. According to the State of Florida, the terms English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) or English as a Second Language (ESL) are used to identify the t eaching of English/Language Arts to Students whose heritage langua ge is other than English (Florida Department of Education1999). Both terms are essentially th e same but in the State of Florida, the acronym ESOL is the most frequently used term. The primary purpose of both ESL and ESOL is to teach English and in no way shoul d these models be confused with bilingual education. Within the ESOL model, students are classified using a number of acronyms that identify their place in the programs ba sed on English proficiency or having received services. For instance a LY student is a student who is identified as LEP and being served in an approved ESOL program. LN students are students who are id entified LEP but are not being served in an approved ESOL pr ogram and an LF student is someone who exited the program and is being monitored for a two-year period (Florida Department of Education 1999).This is an important clar ification because data which identifies ELL populations must discriminate between thos e students who are stil l enrolled in ESOL programs (LYs) and those who have been exited (LFs). In the State of Florida, this distinction is quite large because those st ill in the programs account for approximately 230,000 students as of 2005-2006, but taken toge ther with those who have exited, the number exceeds 2,000,000 individuals (Flo rida Department of Education, 2007).
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 21 In Florida, the vast majority of Engl ish language learners (ELLs) receive ESOL instruction through inclusion or immersion where students are mainstreamed in regular classes and taught by teachers who are trai ned to deliver instruction using ESOL strategies. There are certain cases wher e students may receive instruction in sheltered or structured immersion or self-contained classes where ESOL students are grouped together and learn content in English thr ough modified instruction. Regardless of which method an ELL receives, they will still take ESOL classes during part of the day if they have been formally classified as LYs. This period where they leave to take ESOL classes is called pull-out though it should be noted that there seems to be a discrepancy in the literature in terms of whether pull-out means taking ESOL classes during part of the day as described above or whether pull-out means a student is actu ally taken out of their regular content class during the period eith er at the beginning or mid-way during the period as I have witnessed on a few occasions. Unlike ESOL or ESL programs which have as their primary goal to teach English, bilingual programs attempt to teach student s in both their native language and English. Across the country bilingual programs take the form of three main models. One model is the two-way bilingual program where English speakers and ELL students are in the same class and some subjects are taught in Englis h while other subjects are taught in the language minority students first language which is not English. These programs are referred to as two-way immersion but are also called dual-language They are relatively rare but in the State of Florid a they exist in certain cities, though they almost always are found in elementary schools. The second type of bilingual model is called early-exit or
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 22 transitional bilingual program (TBE) and here th e goal is as the name implies, to transition students from using their first langua ge (L1) to English within a few years at the most. Finally there is the late-exit developmental or maintenance bilingual programs which have as their main goal to maintain English and the students first language throughout a students educationa l career as long as possible. Most bilingual advocates support this model over the transitional mode l because they believe it is the only true program that attempts to establish bili ngualism (Peregoy & Boyle, 2005). Often you will hear or see in the literature the term subtractive bilingualism which refers to the transitional programs and additive bilingualism which refers to the maintenance programs. Overview of Subsequent Chapters Chapter 2 provides a review of the lit erature related to the professional development of teachers working with Englis h language learners and two other related areas but important to the study: national, stat e, and district policies for English language learners and instructional st rategies and program models for ELL instruction. Chapter 3 describes the studys methodology, including a discussion of the participants, instruments, issues of validity, procedures, research design, and data analysis. Chapter 4 examines the results of the study based on the three main phases of the research and Chapter 5 provides a discussion of the salien t points related to the study as well as offering a number of recommendations.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 23 Chapter 2 Review of the Related Literature Overview While there appears to be little if no lit erature that specifically addresses the training of in-service teachers for the ESOL endorsement that is found here in Florida, there is a sizeable amount of related research on the policies of bilingual education reforms, best pedagogy practices for ELLs and challenges confronting teacher preparations for instructing ELLs. These subjec ts provide a context to make theoretical assumptions and draw inferences about what problems need to be addressed and offer insight as to what solutions might be r ecommended to make the professional ESOL training programs for in-service teachers here in Florida mo re efficacious. In fact, many of the issues found in the literature on professional teacher tr aining parallel those concerning the in-service traini ngs that are the focus of this study. For instance, there is a consensus among some researchers that profe ssional training program s for teachers in general are in need of an overhaul (Clair 1998; Garcia, 1992; Lucas, Henze, & Donato, 1990). Specifically, they point to a variety of issues that plag ue district training programs. For example, rather than encouraging followup sessions during trainings to continue the learning experience of partic ipants and provide them w ith guided practice (Bird & Warren, 1985; Little, 1981), districts tend to favor the one-size-f its-all, and one-shot workshop models over other effective models which may better suit their particular (district) populations (Meskill, 2005). Many districts furthermore do not train teachers specifically through their subj ect area content adequately enough and choose instead
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 24 training that offers broad, ge neralized practices, and behavi ors that do not furnish the specifics as to how to teach populations such as English language learners through ones content area (Gonzalez, 2000). This review begins by making an attempt to contextualize the larger question of how and why district training programs for teachers working with ELLs were created in the first place. Local school districts do not operate within a vacuum. They, like all local bureaucracies, react and adapt to the larger na tional and state trends which, to varying degrees influence their own policy making d ecisions. It is important, therefore, to recognize that a better u nderstanding of these processes wh ich create and shape district training programs can only be understood by first examining the political and social climate in which they were created. To th is end, I will begin with a discussion of educational stratification as it relates to the marginalization of English language learners and provide a brief history of bilingual education which tra ces the movement from its beginnings to the present day. I will then furnish a discussion of effective ESOL pedagogy so as to better inform th e reader of what scholars t oday generally consider to be the best practices used in in structing English language le arners in the classroom. The rationale to include this subject in the discussion lies with th e understanding that as states such as Florida move toward a greater em phasis on requiring content area teachers to carry the weight of instructing ELLs who have been mainstreamed in their classrooms, a critical need arises to provide these teachers with training programs that provide relevant and meaningful instruction that is pertin ent to ELL pedagogy. Finally, I will turn to the
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 25 crux of the study which will examine matters re lated to the professional development of teachers working with English language learners. Marginalizing English Language Learners In a time of anti-immigration sentiment and perceived fears of ethnic separatism tearing apart the country, there seems to be l ittle will on the part of those who can affect change to reverse these trends (Crawfor d, 2000). One way to understand this dynamic is to look at the critical theory of educational stratification. Acco rding to this theory, policy makers, teachers, and administrators work c onsciously and unconsciously to perpetuate the existence of their status groups. This phenomenon results in an unwillingness to enact social reforms that would allow others to share power (Collins, 1971). Larson & Ovando (2001) argue that English langua ge learners simply do not have the power to effect change because they exist outside of the dom inant social, economic and racial hierarchy of district and school power structures. (There are exceptions of course in places such as Miami where generations of Cuban immigrants and other groups have received bilingual instruction in schools such as at Coral Wa y Bilingual K-8 Center, which was the first bilingual school in the United States and Ada Me rritt k-8 Center but the vast majority of Miamis children still attend Miami-Dade P ublic Schools, and rece ive instruction via English immersion). The notion that English language learners do not have the power to effect change is supported by Larson, and Ovando who in the Color of Bureaucracy (2001) argue that there is a tendency by educators to consistently enforce rules, policie s, and practices that discourage change. According to Larson, and Ovando the attitudes of school officials
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 26 regarding how schools should be run places a great emphasis on stability and traditional procedures that are enforced through coerci on rather than consensus (Larson & Ovando, 2001). Because most local, state, and nationa l officials are White middle-class English speaking professionals who are concerned with maintaining s upport from their own class, they continue to rely on the colorblind imag e of schooling that fails to uncover inequities that do not directly affect their constitu encies (Richardson & Johanningmeier, 2003). Because, as Jim Cummins argues, the relations hips today between teachers and students and schools and communities remains essentially unchanged (Cummins, 2001, p. 2), there is an unwillingness on the part of the dom inant class to forge any type of real and meaningful communication with others. This re sults in a continuation of past behaviors which hampers attempts at school reform. He points out that policy alone will not affect real change until the fundamental relationships between individuals are re-defined. This re-defining of roles with re spect to minority students and communities involves more than creating good policy; it al so entails changing how teachers and administrators interact with students. However, to make mean ingful change will prove to be difficult, as some theorists argue that many in the dominant class view this rela tionship as a struggle for social dominance and preservation, akin to class warfare (Crawford, 2000). Districts only have a limited amount of resources, and th e competition for them is highly political. Some segments of the population believe resour ces directed toward equity concerns such as programs for immigrants, underclass, or disenfranchised ethnic enclaves have sapped money from core academics, resulting in lo wer standards. Policy makers view such program as favoring special interests and re spond to pressures from the dominant power
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 27 groups. From this perspective, Englis h-only advocates view bilingualism and multilingualism as disadvantaging native-born, first language English speakers, whom they represent. By making decisions as to where and how money will be spent, policy makers are in effect engaging in a type of inconspicuous warfare that results in winners and losers (Crawford, 2000;Gershberg, Danenberg, & Sanchez, 2004). Because ELLs lack the political clout to demand equitable treatment that is meaningful they continue to suffer under the wei ght of failed policies which ignore their growing importance in societys increasingl y diverse landscape. Their marginalized position to date is not without historical precedent, however, so let us turn now and examine the forces which shaped their present circumstances A Brief History of the Bi lingual Education Movement As mentioned previously, European a nd Asian immigrant groups throughout the better part of the 19th century had successfu lly established bilingua l schools across the country. New York City, Chicago, St. Louis and other cities had established bilingual schools for the children of German speaking i mmigrants as far back as the 1830s and in Texas and California, Czech and Chinese la nguage schools were created toward the end of the century to accommodate the rising tides of unskilled workers and their children that flooded into the country to fill indus trial jobs (Blanton, 2004; Rothstein, 1998). Indeed, bilingual education was an important cult ural issue for those immigrants as it was for any group who desired to preserve their heritage in the face of pressures to Americanize at all cost. Still, for the na tions Latino population, bilingual education has historically been more than just an important issue. This is due perhaps to the fact that
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 28 Hispanics have traditionally viewed bilingual education as essentially the central issue of Latino civil rights just as school integration was and is for African Americans (Hacsi, 2002, p. 63) and not surprisingly, Latinos have be en fighting to preserve their right to use their native language in schools for as long as Europeans and Asians have. During the mid 19th century, large number s of bilingual schools in Texas existed for Mexican-Americans in Browns ville, El Paso, Laredo, and San Antonio to name a few. How these public schools were able to exist was due in part to Texas law which neither officially sanctioned nor outlawed them and to an education system that had not yet articulated a common goal of Americanizati on prevalent later duri ng the Progressive Era (Blanton, 2004). Then as now, many Latinos have fought to retain their own language and culture and resisted the push to ab andon their heritage by forming groups and organizations such as the mutualistas in Texas which were working class organizations that supported schools such as sm all private institutions called escuelitas. These schools acted as havens against economic exploita tion and discrimination (Blanton, 2004). One scholar found that even in public schools, certain communities in Texas supported bilingual education, believing that student achievement rose as a consequence of employing bilingual teachers from the co mmunities in which the schools resided (Blanton, 2004). The rise of nativism which occurred dur ing and after World War I led a number of states such as Ohio to ban bilingual education, and in Texas a law passed in 1918 made teaching in Spanish a crime (Rothstein, 1998) These events spelled the end for the
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 29 grassroots bilingual education programs that had existed prior to the War and it would not be until the 1960s that the nation would see a resurgence in calls for their renewal. During the civil rights era, Latinos became empowered by the federal governments political position that Mexican Americans had been neglected and began to pressure Congress to provide school distri cts with federal funds to support bilingual programs (Donato, 1997).The passage of the Bilingual Education Ac t in 1968 was the culmination of these efforts and seemed to be a promising first st ep but as San Miguel (2004) has written, there were a number of pr oblems associated with the bill. To begin with, the money appropriated ($85 million do llars) was insufficient in comparison to money ear-marked for poverty programs. Furthe rmore, and this is perhaps the most significant, program participation was voluntary and carried no mandate. As a consequence, it was inevitable that school districts generally neglected to establish bilingual programs. Adding to the problem wa s that the bilingual programs established by the government were open-ended and did not determine any type of curriculum that districts could use as a guide. Finally, th ese programs were vaguely conceived and unclear in how they were to be implemente d. Goals were not specified and there was a lack of experienced teachers and appropriate instructional materials (San Miguel, 2004). By 1970, two years after the passage of th e Bilingual Education Act, the federal government had begun to realize that district s had to do more and formed a commission which notified districts of their responsibi lity not to discriminate if they were beneficiaries of federally sponsored program s. According to one scholar, most ignored the commissions recommendations and carried on business as usual (Donato, 1997,
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 30 p.106). Then in 1974, the Supreme Court moved th e issue to the forefront when it ruled in the landmark bilingual education case Lau v. Nichols. Lau v. Nichols built on the precedent of supporting bilingual educational programs when it ruled in favor of nonEnglish speaking students of Chinese ancestry w ho had brought a class suit in the United States District Court for the Northern Distri ct of California agains t officials of the San Francisco Unified School District ( Lau v. Nichols, 1974). The Court concluded that the San Francisco Unified School District had vi olated 601 of the Civil Rights Act which bans discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Th e Lau case was an important victory for bilingual advocates, but it failed to mandate participati on because it left it up to the districts to decide whether they would in itiate bilingual programs or not. In addition, many districts were confused about ho w to implement the Courts rulings. It really was not until a full seven ye ars after the passage of the Bilingual Education Act in 1968 that school districts were finally forced to begin enacting bilingual education programs. In 1975, the U.S. Department of Education created the Lau Remedies which sought to assist schools with complying with the Lau ruling by provided administrative guidance in developing bili ngual curricula and programs and required districts to develop voluntary compliance plans if they were found to be noncompliant with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and if programs contained 20 or more students of the same language group who had been identified as non-native English speakers (Gonzalez, 2000). Between 1975 and 1981, bilingual education programs were imposed on hundreds of school districts throughout th e country. The Lau Remedies were an
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 31 attempt by the Office of Civil Rights to cl ear away the confusion associated with determining how to interpret the Supreme C ourts Lau decision and while this may have been what bilingual advocates finally wished for, the Lau Remedies proved to be a catalyst for the emergence of an anti-bilingual movement to emerge due to the feeling on the part of many at the time that the federal government had overs tepped its boundaries and had no right to enforce mandates on local constituencies. Although, some schools may have welcomed the governments assistan ce, the Lau Remedies was seen as a period of heavy-handedness which contributed to a backlash agains t bilingual education programs (Crawford, 2000). Beginning in the 1980s under the conservati ve administration of Ronald Reagan, attacks against bilingual education grew loude r and occurred more frequently after the birth of U.S. English formed in 1983 by Se nator Hayakawa of California and Dr. John Tanto. This group, working alongside various ne o-conservatives such as then Education Secretary William Bennett, called for an end to bilingual education in favor of Englishonly programs (Rodriguez & Simmons, 2007) According to one scholar, Bennett allowed school districts to decrease the amount of native la nguage instruction offered within federally funded programs. Additionally, Bennett also reduced the staff, and budget of the Office of Civil Rights, and tried to de-f und the National Clearinghouse on Bilingual Education (San Miguel, 2004). For its part, U.S. E nglish successfully waged a campaign in various states to declare English the official lang uage of their state governments.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 32 Yet beyond the rhetoric of U.S. English and Secretary Bennetts attempts to dismantle the bilingual movement, even more dramatic and substantive changes took place in how the federal government funded e ducational programs. Prior to the Reagan administration, schools accepted money from the federal government through categorical funding, which set regulations and controls ov er how the money would be spent. During the Reagan administration this was changed to block grants whic h replaced regulated programs with a small number of few strings programs that were only given to states that the federal government deemed importa nt (Ornstein, 1984, p.2). Of course this change in the way educati onal programs were funded duri ng the 1980s did not spell the demise of bilingual education, but the lack of federal co mmitment coincided with a growing English-only movement that appeared just as bilingual advocates were searching for ways to garner support. During the early 1990s, opposition to bilingual education decreased because the George Bush Administration and the Republican Party tried to attract Latino voters in the 1992 presidential election, but it was not long until opposition resurfaced when the Republicans won a majority in both houses of Congress and opponents of bilingual education such as Majority Whip Tom Dela y began attacking federal bilingual education policy (McDonald, 1998). Still, th e 1990s saw a period of resurgence in aid and effort on the part of the federal government during Pr esident Clintons two administrations (Pack, 1993). The Bilingual Education Act was reauthor ized in 1994 and for a time it looked as if the bilingual movement had survived the tu rbulent 1980s.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 33 Yet as the 1990s came to a close, key states began efforts to replace bilingual educational programs with an English-only curriculum. California led the way with proposition 227 in 1998, followed by Arizonas proposition 203. In 2002, Massachusetts Question 2 closed the door on bilingual education and Colorado attempted to do the same with Amendment 31 in 2002 which wa s initially defeated only to be reborn in 2006 as Ballot Issue 95 (Gandara, Maxw ell-Jolly, & Driscoll, 2005; Myers, 2006; Rouse, 2006; Vaishnav, 2002). These initiatives were the culmination of efforts by policy makers associated with the English-only movement who, beginning in the late 1970s, began the drive to end bilingual education. Th ey succeeded finally when President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2001, which reauthorized Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Educati on Act into Title III of the NCLB and made bilingual education an English-only piece of legislation (San Miguel, Jr, 2004, p.87; Crawford, 2000 ). As mentioned previously, funding for bilingual education programs has dried-up since the passage of No Child Left Behind due to a funding formula that uses a formula-based block grant. The bill has two parts; Part A promotes English-only programs and Part B promotes programs whic h maintain bilingual students. Only one part of the bill can be in effect at any one time. Part A can be in effect when Congress appropriates an amount equal to or more than $650 million dollars, and Part B is effective when the funding fails to match this amount. When NCLB was authorized, the funding Congress provided matched the amount needed for Part A and federal funds were directed under the umbrella of an English-on ly framework (United States Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition, 2008).
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 34 Policies directed toward educating ELLs in recent years have for the most part coalesced under the widespread practice of mainstreaming English language learners into regular content classes. Much of the explanation for this lies with a failure on the part of the federal government to provide funds under NCLB and with state initiatives to mandate an English-only curriculum. Still ot her perhaps less obvious explanations exist which point to the causes for this general trend. The political movement to end bilingual education has further been bolstered by a lack of consensus regarding whether there is reliable evidence that bilingual education programs benefit children in school. In Children as Pawns: The Politics of Educational Reform Timothy Hacsi (2002) argues that while th ere have been studies that have been accepted by experts as valid, such as a study by the American Institutes for Research Evaluation (1977), the Ramirez Report (1991), and more recently Thomas and Collier (1997), the results have not convinced the ge neral public that there is as he writes compelling evidence one way or the other on what kind of program will help children learn English and be successf ul students over the course of their educational career (Hacsi, 2002, p. 100). In fact th ere are those on both sides of the issue who point to flawed method in studies supporting or refu ting bilingual models, and it is next to impossible to find a consensus in a climate in which people on both sides of the issue have, as Hacsi writes, little trust in thei r opponents good intenti ons and are unwilling to listen to each others positions (Hacsi, 2002, p. 63). Furthermore, the media has played a role in lending credence to the argument that if the experts are divided regarding whether or not bilingual programs are effective, then it is assumed that the scientific
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 35 evidence itself must be inconclusive a nd should not warrant federal expenditures (Crawford, 2000). Adding to the divisiveness is what I believe to be a misunderstanding on the part of the English-only advocates that immigrant groups who seek to preserve their native languages are anti-assimilationist at heart. Those who make such claims point to the fact that immigrants in recent years have sought to preserve and maintain their mother-tongue at levels not seen in the past (Lambert & Ta ylor, 1996), and indeed there are a variety of factors which have led to increasing mother tongue maintenance. These range from the continuous flow of immigrants to ethnic enclaves which serves to support and sustain native languages, to the growing phenomenon of round trip immigra tion which inhibits permanent settlement, to the emergence of oppositional youth culture as a response to deindustrialization (Fidle r, 2001; Portes & Rumbaut, 2001). St ill there is evidence that the same people who seek to preserve their heri tage languages also make efforts to learn English and become successful within the dominant culture. In fact, many immigrants and native -born non-native English speakers care deeply about developing competence in Eng lish and finding ways to acculturate within the dominant framework of American societ y. Lambert and Taylor (1995) found that Hispanic and Asian mothers seek to forge an additive form of bilingualism/biculturalism that both protects their heritage culture wh ile at the same time accepting Americanization so their children might be successful. They know all to well that bi lingualism has become an asset on the job market. For example, Pa rk and Sarkar (2007) surveyed 87 KoreanCanadian parents and found that a majority of respondents believed strongly that their
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 36 childs bilingualism would ensure them bette r future economic opportunities, and give them more chance to communicate with their extended families. (p. 232). Others find success juggling both language s and culture by ra tionalizing that their two languages belong in public and private spheres. In Hunger for Memory (1982), Richard Rodriguez spoke of his native Spanish as an intimate language and English a public one. By drawing this distinction he was able to move easily between both worlds and walk the fine line between preserving his heritage while at the same time working within the dominant culture. Today, in fact there are millions of non-na tive English speakers who seek to both preserve their linguistic heri tage while at the same time learn English and attempt to become successful within the dominant fram ework of American so ciety. English-only advocates are wrong in my opinion to assume that these same individuals are somehow unwilling to acculturate. They assume that toda ys immigrants refuse to learn English, or that ethnic leaders are promoting bilingualism or that language dive rsity leads to ethnic conflict and political separatism (Crawfor d, 2001). Yet, according to James Crawford there is no evidence to support any of these assumptions and are in fact demonstrably false (p. 6). Indeed, it would be true that wanting to preserve ones heritage and language at the expense of learning English and the culture and customs of a society would be antiassimilationist, but I suspect those who c hoose this path are far outnumbered by the millions of others who understand that much of their success in American society rides on navigating successfully between both worlds. How well these families and individuals
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 37 succeed in this endeavor will undoubtedly define how well the English-only advocates are able to make their case that cultural and language maintenance is inherently antiassimilationist. Beyond the Bilingual Education Movement As federal and state sup port for bilingual education programs has dwindled over the last two decades, the research bilingual advocates might have used for support to justify their programs has, in turn, evaporated in the face of attacks. In this void, some states such as Arizona, California, Florida, and Massachusetts have taken the lead in devising approaches to educating English language learners that rely solely on inclusion. All four states mainstream ELLs and place th e onus on the educator to be trained in second language acquisition issues and techni ques. They do this by requiring educators to complete a set number of ESOL professional development training hours within specified periods of time. In these states, regular conten t instructors are required to be trained either in colleges and universities at the pre-servi ce level or by the distri ct professional training offices once they have been hired. As of 2004, Arizona required instructors to obtain a Structured English Immersion (SEI) endorsement. A provisional SEI endorsement requires 15 hours of professional development and a full endorsement requires 45 hours or three semester hours, for a total of 60 hours (Arizona Depa rtment of Education, 2005). Floridas Category II teachers who comprise social studie s, mathematics and science instructors are required to obtain the sa me 60 hours but they do not receive an endorsement. An ESOL endorsement in Fl orida is only obtained after completing 300 hours of ESOL training. California also ha s a requirement that all teachers must
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 38 complete a 45-hour Commission approved st aff development program in order to continue teaching and must pass either th e Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development Program (CLAD) or the Bilingual, Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development Program (BCLAD) co mpetency tests (Ca lifornia Commission on Teaching Credentialing, 2006). Yet, one scholar (Mora, 2006) argues that instructors in these programs are not required to be certified in the CLAD or BCLAD, prior to instructing English language learners. Massachusetts also requires teachers to take ESOL professional development training. All teachers in the state regardless of the content they teach are required to take a total of 70-80 hours of training if the dist rict they teach in has English language learners. Teachers there are required to take a total of four cla sses with training in sheltered content instruction comprising th e bulk of the required in-service hours (Massachusetts Department of Education, 2008). The changes in these four states repres ent a larger trend to place the onus on teachers to provide compensatory services for ELLs in their classrooms. If this trend continues, the need to ensure that the training teachers receive is adequate will require vigilance on the part of policy makers to allo cate every available re source to professional development training programs and classroom s upport so that the burden instructors now assume is reduced. It is clear that district in-service training programs fo r instructors working with ELLs have not been and are not created in a vacuum. The forces that shape and mold the decisions as to how English language learners will be educated go far beyond the district
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 39 level (Batt, Kim & Sunderman, 2005). Inevit ably these policies filter down from the federal government and states leading to the creation of programs that districts use both to justify what is expected of them and ab solve themselves from the responsibility of having to tackle these difficult decisions on their own (Iatarola & Fruchter 2004, p.492). Before discussing the final subject of professional development of teachers working with English language learners, we should briefly address the topic of effective ESOL pedagogy in order to guide our understand ing of what the literature reveals in terms of best practices. This is a critical issue because a better understanding of recent research will better inform th is particular study in terms of whether the participants being studied covered material in line with what researchers are suggesti ng should be taught. Effective ESOL Pedagogy There are three gene ral approaches to ELL instructi on. They are direct instruction, interactive instruction, and a pr ocess approach to instruction. Direct instruction teaches reading and writing explicitly and is gene rally thought to be a good method to teach ELLs who may require additional reading and writing assistance (Genesee & Riches 2006). Genesee and Riches (2006) looked at a number of studies related to direct instruction and concluded th at while direct instructi on was indeed a good method for teaching reading, there was less agreement whet her direct instructi on was effective at teaching writing. Echevarria and Short (2000), on the other hand, found that there was a statistically significant difference in writing between students who were instructed using the sheltered instruction met hod (SIOP) and those of a similar group of ELLs who did not receive the sheltered in struction approach. It should be noted, however, that the there is a
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 40 question whether one can even consider the SIOP method direct instruction being that much of the strategies contained in the approach are intera ctive by nature. Other studies reveal that the direct instruction me thod excels at vocabulary development and developing ideas based on reading text (A vila & Sadoski, 1996; Bermudez & Prater, 1988). The second general approach to instruc ting ELLs is interactive instruction. The majority of scholars seem to agree that this method is the most advantageous because it allows students to have o pportunities to interact with competent speakers of English while being given direction by the teacher through direct instruc tion (Egbert & SimichDudgeon, 2001). In the interactive method, students engage in literacy activities with one or more learners who are competent readers and writers in English. From this arrangement, students are able to develop th eir higher order mental functions by engaging in conversation and working collaboratively with other students and the teacher. Vygotskys (1978) theory of the zone of proximal development forms the basis for this approach because it is posits that children can accomplish tasks w ith the assistance of more competent peers, which they ordinarily would not yet be able to do on their own. Genesee and Riches (2006) again looked at a wide assortment of studies which evaluated the efficacy of this approach and concluded that in almost all of the studies they reviewed, the interactive met hod using peer assistance saw improvement in reading and writing skills. Current trends in education for English language learners emphasize more student participation and communication in the classroom that are hallmarks of the interactive
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 41 approach (Short, 1991). At the heart of this concept is the notion that teachers should introduce to the curriculum a variety of wa ys to present and assimilate information beyond lecture and reading from the text. Th ese strategies can include multiple media activities such as the use of realia, graphs, journals, dialogue activities, graphic organizers and a host of other activities (Peregoy & Boyle, 2005; Gibbons, 2002). The rationale behind this approach is to make input comp rehensible (Krashen & Terrel, 1998). Krashen posited that to make input comprehensible, instructors should use a natural approach which stresses language acquisition over form al knowledge in the beginning stages of second language acquisition. Krashen devel oped a number of hypotheses to demonstrate that a variety of conditions must first be met before a child can acquire information through a second language. One of the key hypotheses put forth by Krashen (1995) was the Affective Filter Hypothesis which posited that a students emotional filter must be low in order to allow information in. This can be accomplished by reducing the students anxiety and increasing his or her motivati on, and self-confidence which will together prevent the filter from being raised and thereby block out information. How a teacher attempts to reduce anxi ety, raise motivation, and improve self confidence can be a difficult proposition but an important tool toward accomplishing this challenge is by scaffolding information. Sca ffolding information refers to building on students background knowledge so that learners can make sens e out of activities as they progress toward information that they w ould usually not be able to comprehend (Gibbons, 2002). Just as the zone of proxi mal development provides learners with assistance from more mature students adept at speaking, reading and writing in English,
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 42 scaffolding techniques give students a way to comprehend informa tion through a gradual process that builds on the information they al ready know. For example, in social studies instruction for example, scaffolding is an important process that is used to provide students with comprehensible input. Teachers ca n help students prior to reading text by going over key vocabulary terms and concepts through the use of semantic webs, maps, diagrams and charts (Egbert & Simich-Dudgeon, 2001). Deborah Short (1995) argues that content specific strategies which bu ild on background knowledge should include prereading and pre-writing strate gies and other strategies to develop schema that builds associations between student experiences and what is being taught. In order to accomplish this, teachers should prepare studen ts for text by introducing key vocabulary and even consider doing a thematic unit pr ior to teaching required content to build understanding of particular topics. Yet activating background knowledge may not always be enough when trying to make sense out of textbooks that are commonl y used in content area subjects. According to Schleppegrell, Achugar and Oteiza (2004) students need to learn the difference between everyday language and academic langua ge. For example, in social studies classes, students should unders tand how to think about history in ways that focus on language and ways that allow them to answer questions about text in more specific ways. For example, students should be asking what hi storical events are presented, how are they presented and what is the perspective of thos e taking place in the events (p. 89). Indeed, it may be too simplistic to assume that stude nts will understand text simply by activating their background knowledge and, ther efore, teachers need to ha ve a rather sophisticated
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 43 understanding of not only the basic underlyi ng concepts of sec ond language acquisition but also content specific stra tegies to help ELLs succeed in understanding regular content instruction. A major issue surrounding the instruc tion of ELLs is the effort to make curriculum more inclusive and relevant to the students. Sleeter (2005) has written extensively about this issue and argues that while teachers may believe they are implementing a multicultural curriculum, they ar e in fact only adding bits of diversity into a mainstream curriculum that lacks any re al attempt to discuss and learn about other cultures, histories and lived experiences. Moll (1992) a nd others have suggested that a key strategy to make curriculum more inclusive is to make use of the students funds of knowledge. Moll refers to the funds of knowledge as a body of knowledge that students bring with them to class that includes a wide range of sophisticated and rather complex understanding of subjects ranging from ranc hing and farming, to medicine, machine repair, economics, religion and household management to name a few. Teachers, Moll argues, unfortunately rarely make use of th ese resources and instea d often view students as products of working class families that ar e as he writes, somehow disorganized socially and deficient intelle ctually (p.134). By accessing the funds of knowledge teachers have a unique opportunity to be a bridge between the students world and the world of the classroom. Teachers can develop for example thematic units that include collaboration between other students and guide d instruction from the teacher. These units make use of the students background knowledge which draws from their home experiences.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 44 In summary, teachers need to have an unde rstanding of the benefits of interactive instruction and how to create zones of proxima l development that are meaningful and not superficial. They should understand how to scaffold instruction, to build background knowledge, and they should know specific strategi es that allow student s to learn language through content. Teachers should additionally make attempts to create curricula that is inclusive and uses students backgrounds rather than assuming they do not know anything relevant to class di scussions. Of course, one may argue that recommended strategies for ELL instruction would impr ove engagement and understanding for all students. However, this issue is beyond the scope of the study. The subject of best practices for ELL instru ction is a large and varied topic and it is not possible to mention every relevant i ssue here. One could go on at length about the need to create authentic assessment instruments, the procedures for implementing curricula that is differentiated, and the impor tance of adjusting teaching style. What has been discussed here is simply a brief outlin e of the different strategies teachers can employ to best instruct ELLs. Indeed, acquiring competency in these best practices would be a challenge and one finds it questionable whether anyone w ithout extensive training and years of classroom experience would be able to effectively instruct ELLs in a mainstreamed environment. College professors who teach ESOL courses in Florida have expressed similar reservations to me and one wonders whether it is even po ssible to ask regular content teachers to learn all of these subjec ts and implement them effectively with the
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 45 small amount of time devoted to training school districts acro ss the nation provide teachers. This is a question that this study will help answer. Professional Development of Teachers Wo rking with English Language Learners The challenges facing regular content teachers to provide worthwhile and comprehensible lessons to English language learners in mainstream classes are formidable. For example, Gandara, et al. ( 2005) surveyed approximately 5,300 educators throughout 22 school districts in California in 2004 and found that two of the most important issues instructors have to gra pple with are not having enough time to plan appropriate lessons for English language lear ners that require cr eating differentiated instructional methods and having to teach English language learners who may be relatively proficient in speaki ng but lack basic writing and re ading skills even in their first language. Other issues such as not rece iving adequate support from ESOL aids and instructors in terms of planning and carryi ng out lessons, and lacking knowledge of, or access to, appropriate instructi onal materials that specifically target these children also adversely affect instructors chances of pl anning and teaching adequate lessons (Penfield, 1987). Sadly, teachers may believe they are on their own in terms of overcoming these types of problems and finding ways to addr ess them satisfactoril y. Teachers who do not receive training or support f eel that the districts are s weeping kids under the rug (Constantino, 1994, p.11) and not providing mean ingful help in their instruction. Penfield (1987), surveyed 162 teachers in large urban school districts in New Jersey using an open-ended qualitative approach a nd found that respondents admitted to having
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 46 little to no training in how to instruct English language le arners and had no practical understanding of how to make th e necessary changes to teach them even when willing to do so. She attributed these views to a lack of decent in-service training and the failure of ESL teachers to assist them in classroom situations. The consensus of the existing research is th at districts can do more to alleviate the plight of mainstream teachers of English langua ge learners. However, there is a lack of literature that pertains specifically to the pr eparation of teachers in district in-service programs to work with English language learners. A number of literature search strategies produced only a few research articles or papers on topics related specifically to this subject. These searches included ERIC LexisNexis Academic, and Wilson Omnifile full text mega edition as well as cited referen ce searches found in the prior searches using the Web of Sciences Social Science Inde x. Nevertheless, while there may be scant literature regarding the specific question of how districts prep are in-service teachers to teach English language learners, it is possible to examine the larg er literature as it relates to generalized professional te acher training and offer insight s which apply more directly to the focus at hand. One of the main themes emerging from the literature on district in-service training programs is the notion that schoo l districts tend to take a piec emeal approach to training. In this regard school officials are often more reactive rather than proactive in implementing policies. Floden (1987) survey ed between 20 and 30 school districts among five states in 1982. He observed th at when districts take such approaches to the total set of policies that confront teachers, creates as he says, a welter of incompatible
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 47 directives, and thus, the net result is decisi on-making with no clear pattern of curriculum policies (p.16). Perhaps an example of this can be seen when one examines the impact that the LULAC Consent Decree has had on district policies since it was signed in 1990 Florida and META, or the Multicultural Education Training Advocacy, Inc. The question of how to address English language learners in th e State of Florida had by no means been an irrelevant issue prior to 1990, but barring a few exceptions, districts had made little to no attempt to assist English language learners in schools across the Florida (Badia, 1994). It was only after the consent decree was signed th at districts took steps to alleviate the conditions English language learners faced in schools across Florida. Once approved, districts were given a wide la titude to implement their ow n training programs as long as they followed a number of mandatory guideline s, including requiring content teachers to take a set number of in-service traini ng hours to obtain an ESOL endorsement and requiring district trainers to cover a core curriculum of content such as ESOL methods and cross-cultural awareness issues (MacDona ld, 2004). Without being forced to take these steps, one wonders if districts in Florid a would have ever made any effort at all to offer training to its teachers. To determine whether the consent decr ee spawned a piecemeal, reactive approach to how districts approach training in-service teachers to meet the needs of English language learners may depend on more evidence and research. However, it is clear, that one finds that district approaches across the State of Florida are so varied and convoluted that it takes a vast amount of time and resear ch simply to understand not only what they
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 48 offer, but to whom they offer it and even if their programs are in any way monitored or regulated by the state who init ially gave them the mandate to develop the programs in the first place. Part of the problem with these issues is by their very nature, school districts are often loosely-coupled systems that often ina dvertently act to thwart attempts at real reform. This is because loosely-coupled syst ems often allow local decision makers to manipulate mandates to fit their localized e nvironments and they are able to do so without having to change the entire system they exist in (Weick, 1976). This can be a positive phenomenon but also a negative one when local groups are somehow able to subvert top-down directives to fit their lo cal needs which may negatively impact certain groups who do not benefit from those decisions For instance the Stat e of Florida has in place a regulated system that establishes re latively rigid criter ia for how district professional ESOL in-service training programs are to be run. School districts are allowed to implement these directives accord ing to their local circumstance and it is within this loosely-coupled system that districts can bend, and shape policy to their liking. This would explain agai n why it is so difficult to ascertain how these training programs are run, how and if they are monitored and by whom. Furthermore, policy makers including dist rict officials and even principals at school sites play a role in sh aping policy to fit their own needs by employing a type of creative insubordination which is often employed by street-l evel bureaucrats. According to Haynes and Licata (1992), street-level bureaucrats of ten resolve conflicts by consciously bending their directives to be mo re responsive to their own local realities.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 49 This creative insubordination occurs frequen tly and in multiple ways ranging from how Title I money is spent to the ways in which professional development programs are implemented. Often these decisions are seen in a favorable light and can be construed as an unanticipated but positive consequence of having to adapt to environments both externally and intern ally (Haynes & Licata, 1992, p. 34). Yet, I would argue that these consequences may not always be positive for all those concerned being that street-level bureaucratic decisions may not benefit those w ho need help the most, namely in the case here, English language learners and the teachers who teach them In fact it is precisely this type of creative insubordination within th e context of a loosely-coupled system that may in the end be a critical factor in allo wing inadequate training programs to exist and continue on a continuous basis. In fact the entire system of making and implementing ELL policy is hampered not only by individuals who make autonomous decisions but also by the very nature of the bureaucratic system in which policy is formed and carried out. The sociologist Max Weber, (1946) warned readers in The Bureaucratic Machine of some of the many problems associated with modern bureaucr acies. For instance, he argued that once bureaucracies are established they are one of th e hardest social structures to destroy and likewise those who benefit from bureaucraci es make every effort to sustain them (Lemert, 2004). These arguments strike me as relevant to this discussion because if policies toward ELLs are to be reformed or be drastica lly overhauled, it will ta ke a gigantic effort to do so given the fact that Floridas ELL policy is formulated within a large state
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 50 bureaucracy that may, be practically unshatterable (Lemert, 2004, p. 109) Additionally, there are many working in Floridas ESOL sy stem who gain a live lihood from this very bureaucracy that sustains them, and they more than anybody have a common interest in seeing the system that exists today survives. During the 1970s a similar bureaucracy exis ted forged from the policies of the Department of Educations Office for Civ il Rights and from money approved through legislation in the wake of the Lau decisi on. According to Alexander and Baker (1994), this bureaucracy created a bilingual elite whic h was able to take control of decisions directed at educating ELLs and created a vast bureaucracy of vested players who monopolized the entire process of bilingual in struction. Alexander and Bakers view may be a cynical one and one that indicates a bias against bilingua l education in general, but their points are interesting because one can take the notion of a bilingual elite that emerged in the 1970s and transpose the notion to what I consider to be the existence of an ESOL elite here in Florida. These individu als would include those at the state level in charge of the Office of Acad emic Achievement through Lan guage Instruction and local district official who supervise ESOL depart ments. They, like the bilingual advocates of the 1970s, have created a vast bureaucracy in which they dictate the sole method by which ELLs are to be educated and because they operate in Webers iron cage of bureaucracy, any attempts to dislodge them ma y prove futile. Only time will tell if the ESOL bureaucracy funded by the state and legitimized by the consent decree, will continue to dictate the terms of ELL instruct ion or take a more inclusive position and become more open to new ideas, programs models and approaches. Changing the
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 51 existing pattern of instruction will be difficult with so many entrenched interests, but it is not impossible to do so. Just as in the past when individuals chal lenged the orthodoxy of established beliefs, certain key individuals arose to explore new ways of looking at longheld assumptions. Many opposed these challe nges but in the end a paradigm shift occurred which radically transformed how people perceived phenomena which they previously had never challenged (Kuhn, 1996). Su ch a change may very well take place within the paradigm we now rely on to e ducate ELLs. The bureaucracy that sustains those who depend on it for their livelihood may one day come crashing down to reveal a new system that allows more flexibi lity and a willingness to be reformed. Whether it is enough to claim that the pe rvasive piecemeal approach districts have adopted over time is a sufficient cause to e xplain how English langua ge learner policy in the State of Florida and acro ss the nation has evolved is di fficult to answer. Perhaps a better answer lies with a co mbination of factors that t ogether act to shape ELL policy. This includes the piecemeal approach but al so just as importantly, the phenomenon of loosely coupled systems, the influence of street-level bureaucrats, and the negative attributes associated with modern bureaucraci es. One thing we can be sure of is when local policy makers do not have a vested interest in reform, their efforts to create worthwhile and thoughtful programs will fall short (Olsen, 1997). Consequently, the inadequacies we find in these programs are products of an environment that enforces compliance but one that lacks commitment, a nd while there is no doubt that the consent decree has been an effective tool to force the former, it is still not clear whether it has had any lasting impact on the latter.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 52 Characteristics of Sound Professional In-Service Teacher Training Practices While the piecemeal approach to traini ng may be a characteristic of lowperforming or badly run traini ng programs in school district s, according to Iatarola & Fruchter, (2004), a hallmark of highperforming di stricts, is their ability to offer a variety of professional development programs that are differentiated and flexible. Carla Meskill (2005) looked at data gathered from five university faculty members and 123 pre-service and in-service graduate students responses participating in push-in workshops organized by the federally funded Training Al l Teachers (TAT) project. There she found that respondents who had taken part in the workshops indicate d that instructors would not be served well by districts which relied on one -shot workshop models or one-size-fits-all approaches. Instead, they suggested that the b est model was one that fit their particular circumstances and then employed a number of fo llow-up strategies to ensure that teachers actually used what they learned. An important characteristic of successfu l in-service district training programs is the understanding that teachers become actively involved in the process of learning through collaborating with other teachers (Bird, & Warren, 1985; Clair, 1998; Lucas, Henze, & Donato, 1990;). This collaboration among teachers is seen in the literature as a critical component because it is viewed as c ontributing to increased feelings of ownership an enhanced capacity for handling complex problems and more a nd better opportunities to learn from each others shared knowledge that is accumulated in the day-to-day experiences of teaching (Clair, 1998).
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 53 Issues such as teacher collabora tion and follow-up training have great implications for teachers working with ELLs and lie at the heart of any meaningful attempt to construct worthwhile in-service di strict training programs. Whether or not both of these topics are covered within the fram ework of the five gene ral areas related to second language acquisition will be a quest ion which this study hopes to ascertain. There is literature which identifies a few effective professional development training programs that specifically target t eachers of English language learners. Tellez & Waxman (2005), point to three promising prog rams found in Arizona and California. The Balderas Elementary School in Fresno Unif ied School District was opened in 1991-92 to accommodate a growing number of students, many of whom were from diverse nonEnglish speaking backgrounds. Not long afte r opening, the principal at Baladeras arranged a partnership with California State University at Fresno to teach graduate courses at the school using Title I money. Th e professional development program offers in-service credit to teachers but also reduced tuition for those who apply to a masters degree program at the university. The curriculum focuses on working with teachers to develop hands-on content based instruction using ESL methods and emphasizes crosscultural awareness strategies (United St ates Department of Education, 1995). The Funds of Knowledge for Teaching (F KT) project in Arizona is sponsored by the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA) and the College of Education at the University of Arizona. These entities work closely with mostly elementary school instructors to provide training that emphasizes teachers gaining an ethnographic perspective of students and their families. The FKT staff teaches instructors
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 54 how to collect ethnographic data about their students and apply their findings to thematic units which make use of their cultural bac kgrounds and home lives. For instance, teachers found out that one student who visited Mexi co, often brought back candy to sell. The teacher created an interdisciplinary unit on ca ndy making and selling and invited a parent to come to the class to make candy where both historical and scientif ic applications were used (Moll, 1992). Project outcomes revealed th at lessons made better use of skills, and information to students and after the home interviews began, attendance rates increased and graffiti and vandalism around school grounds declined (United States Department of Education, 1995). Finally, the Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence (CREDE) has formed a partnership with the Starlight Elementary School in Watsonville, California, where they work closely with sta ff and administrators to provide professional development opportunities to apply five sta ndards the center has devised which they believe articulate the philos ophical and pragmatic guidelines for effective instruction (Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence, 2008). With the assistance of a Title VII grant and the guidelines establis hed by the Center, classroom teachers are given time during the day to meet and among other things, share e ffective instructional practices, develop assessment tools, determine if students have met standards, reflect on how to better improve the program and identi fy needed materials and resources for the classroom (Starlight Elementary School, 2008). What makes these three programs seem succe ssful to some observers is the fact that they contain many of the very charac teristics that scholars argue professional
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 55 development training programs need. The importance of collaboration and follow-up training and the ability to be flexible and offer differentia ted instruction seem to be present in these three programs and perhaps most importantly, local policy makers are active and show a vested intere st in guiding these schools with assistance and resources. The importance of curriculum designers to step back and take a fresh approach by evaluating what their programs were and wher e they needed to go to show improvements can not be overstated. According to the pa radoxical theory of change advocated by Gestalt theorists, change can only occur when an organizatio n first seeks to abandon what theyd like to become and look deeply at what they first are (Beisser, 1970). These programs seemed to have done this and yet Florida steadfastly clings to the consent decree which was forged under a theory of action that was reactive and defensive by nature. According to Argyris and Schon (1974), hum an beings construct meanings from their environment and design ac tions to achieve consequences Often times these actions will be defensive in nature as they serve to protect individuals and groups from threats in the environment. Essentially, defensive routin es result in preventing policymakers from identifying and ridding themselves of the very reasons that initiated the action in the first place (Argyris, 1990). The consent decree might ve ry well fall into the category of what Argyris classifies a defensive routine of acti on because like all defensive routines it is anti-learning, overprotective, and self-sealing (p.25). The Decree has created an atmosphere in which participants today comply with the law without perhaps considering the intent of the law in the first place This type of single-loop learning fails to question
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 56 the underlying objectives which served to underp in the creation of th e Decree in the first place and in the end dooms the process from achieving real change. Because the consent decree was born from a coercive attempt by we ll meaning individuals to bring equity to the process of educating ELLs, Gestalt theori sts would question whether such a process could ever be successful. In or der to bring real reform to the process as other programs mentioned previously have done, the State of Florida should consider whether the consent decree as it exists presently lives up to its promise as an agent of change or acts as a buffer between those who desire meaningf ul reform and those who seek to preserve the status quo. If the consent decree is to live up to its promise of delivering reform policymakers might also start by reexamining the assumptions regarding monitoring and compliance in terms of the teacher in-service ESOL training programs. The decree states that monitoring should include a review of pr ogram effectiveness and that it is the responsibility of the state to monitor program effectiveness through a process of periodic reviews. The Decree goes into some deta il for example, regarding monitoring the identification and assessment of childre ns language proficiency and provides a framework for districts and schools to show documentation that they are in compliance with state mandates (Florida Department of Education, 2008). The decree also has language in it that requires the state issue a nnual reports summarizing the results of the compliance reviews it conducts. Yet there is no language in the Decree that provides for specific ways in which program effectiveness can be ascertained regarding these trainings. With so much riding on the prepar ation of teachers to work with ELLs, one
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 57 would think this would be a priority and yet, most of the language in the Decree in terms of compliance relates to iden tification and assessment. Summary There are in fact a myriad of perspectives found in the literature that help us understand what creates and sh apes district teacher trai ning programs including those geared toward training teacher s to work with English language learners. First, at the national and state level, there has been an increase in anti-immigration and anti-bilingual policies shaping how school districts respond to English language learners since the end of the 1990s. In addition, literature suggest s program design and implementation of inservice training often involves a piecemeal, reactive approach over a holistic approach that stresses the importance of collaboration. Sc holars instead argue for the importance of ongoing training and follow-up measures that include monitoring to ensure compliance (Goodwin, 2002; Gonzalez & Darling-Ha mmond, 1997; Walqui, 2000). However, research on how districts approach training in-service teachers to work with English language learners has been sorely lacking. This dissertation hopes to begin to fill this gap by exploring the efficacy of several in-service te acher training programs here in Florida.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 58 Chapter 3 Method Overview of Method This study addressed the following topics: 1. To what extent do the ESOL in-service district training se ssions adequately cover the five main content areas the st ate requires be included in training programs. 2. How secondary teachers perceived the cove rage, depth, and utility of in-service district training sessions. The study was broken into three phases: non-participatory observations, survey and interviews. In Phase I, the researcher observed in-service ESOL professional teacher training programs in three Florida districts with relatively high proportions of English language learners. Three sections were obser ved, totaling 30 sessions or ten sessions per section (sections refer to tr aining classes which include a total of 12 sessions). As in many other districts in the Stat e of Florida, the districts under study have an online inservice training program. However, it is be yond the scope of this study to attempt to evaluate the on-line training programs. A rubric was developed base d on state guidelines in whic h the researcher scored the degree of trainer coverage based on 30 i ndicators (see Appendix A). The researcher also took field notes during the observations Phase II of the study entailed conducting a survey in which participants rated the trainers coverage ba sed on identical items found in the researchers observation rubric. The scale used in the observation rubric and survey
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 59 was also identical and had an equal number of indicators (30) (see Appendix A). The objective for using an observational rubric a nd survey with the same indicators and same method of scoring was to compare the judgments of participants and th e researcher on the same indicators. Finally Phase III was the purely qualitative part of the study. The researcher interviewed 10 participants using a closed-response inte rview protocol (see Appendix C). Selection of Participants In Phase I, I used purposive non-probability homogeneous sampling to select districts that I could access and that al so had a relative high proportion of English language learners within Flor ida. The trainings I chose to study are referred to as Empowerment classes. Those educators who to ok part in the Empowerment training fall within the states definition of Category II co ntent teachers who are required to take 60 hours of in-service ESOL credits. These inst ructors include social studies, mathematics, science, and computer literacy teachers, as well as guidance counselors and administrators. The Empowerment courses may also include elementary and English and language arts teachers as the Empowerment course is considered one of the five courses they must take to obtain the 300-hour endorseme nt. All of the particip ants are individuals who did not fulfill the states ESOL traini ng requirements at a university college of education in Florida either because they tran sferred from another state, graduated from a college of education before the ESOL endorsement was required, or had degrees in noneducation majors. The districts had a number of training sections scheduled for the fall of
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 60 2007, and three sections were selected based on availability, and the willingness of the trainers to participate. In Phase II, the researcher asked participan ts at the conclusion of each of the three sections that were observed to complete a survey. Asking participants to fill out the ratings scale at that time was more likely to improve my response rate and would likewise avoid any validity issues relate d to maturation and history. The sample population for the survey was 21 for district 1 (n=21), 16 for district 2 (n=16), and 13 for district 3 (n=13), or a total of 50 surveys collected (n=50). In the qualitative aspect of the study (Pha se III), only educators who participated in the three observed in-service ESOL trai ning programs were eligible. The researcher again used purposive non-probability sampli ng to choose 10 participants to be studied (n=10). Asking volunteers to provide intervie ws after the trainings were completed by passing out index cards at the close of each s ection. Participants returned them to the researcher with their name and contact informa tion if they were willing to be interviewed. In the end, 10 participants showed a willi ngness to be interviewed. This matched the recommended sample suggestion size consid ered appropriate by Creswell (1998) who found that 10 participants or fewer would be suitable when the research design is phenomenological in its approach. These were three interviewees from districts 1 and 3 and 4 interviewees from district 2. Delimitations The State of Florida requires English, language arts and elementary teachers to take five separate ESOL teacher training c ourses in order to fulfill their ESOL training
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 61 requirements. With the exception of a few other groups such as physical education, art and music teachers, all other in-service t eachers including social studies, science, mathematics and computer literacy teachers, as well as administrators and counselors are required to take a 60 hour course called Empowermen t. I chose to study the Empowerment course because I wanted to deli berately exclude the English, language arts and elementary teachers as the expertise of the language teachers regarding language domain issues and the large number of hours they take would skew the findings of the other teachers who do not share similar traits, and thereby require two separate studies. I also decided to study the Empowerment course s because it would have not been feasible to prepare and execute a formal study of a ll five courses. In addition, the Empowerment courses are required for practically all in-service content teachers. I should note that my attempt was not succes sful to control the groups of teachers with language expertise i.e. the 300-hour group because after I began the study, I soon found that many participants in the Empowerme nt trainings were elementary teachers. I had previously thought they would be excl uded from the Empowerment course because they were required to take the 300 hour s opposed to 60 hours. I learned later Empowerment is considered one of the five courses the 300-hour group must complete. Thus while the Empowerment courses are meant to be an overview for non-English secondary teachers, many of the participan ts who take these courses are in fact elementary school teachers.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 62 I also confined my study to school districts with proportionally high ELL populations. This would allow me to take a re presentative snapshot of large district practices with high ELL populati ons across the state. Limitations Threats to internal validity. Because this study is descri ptive, the researcher believed the main threat to validity of the findings had to do with inst rumentation. In particular, one or more measures in my best practices rubric may not have generated reliable scores (low internal-consistency reliability), and da ta observed may not have been recorded consistently from one situation to the next (low intra-rater reliability). There was another concern that had to do with react ivity effects. This researcher believes that the trainers in the session may have altered their behaviors and even lesson plans to varying degrees in order to appear more actively involved in the process than they might ordinarily be. This is called the Hawthorne effect (Onwuegbuzie 2003. p. 79). To reduce the possibility of this phenomenon occurring, the researcher hoped that by attending multiple sessions over time, it would become easier to evaluate overall content coverage exhibited by the trainers. Threats to external validity As in any study, population validity is a c oncern in that the sample may not have been generalizable. I am, however, not overly concerned here in this regard because I purposely chose districts that have a high proportion of English language learners and they in themselves should be representative of the general populat ion considering that
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 63 such districts would have to enact a more rigorous plan than others with little to no significant proportion of English language lear ners. I should note that the purpose of the data gleamed from interviews is not so mu ch to generalize about the population per say but to but to get at some of the nuances teachers have when reflecting on the training. Also, all trainers in the State of Florida ar e required to cover a num ber of pre-determined standards and cannot vary in wh at overall topics they must cover. Ecological validity is more worrying because while trainers must ascribe to a set of prescribed standards, there will be, I assume, variation in the settings a nd contexts of instruction. Some districts may have more resources than others and so me districts may be better organized. Threats to Legitimization The purely qualitative phase of the study (pha se III) were the interviews that were conducted post hoc. Thus, in terms of intervie wing participants, one of the main internal validity concerns was ironic legitimization, which implies that participants will hold multiple realities of the same phenomenon. Another possible threat may have been illusory validity, whereby I believed there to be a relationship or pattern present between respondents answers and other facets of the study when in fact there was not. In regards to external va lidity, ecological validity was also a concern because participants will to a certain extent be coming from various parts of the county which range from rural to urban, affluent to relatively impoverished, and thus, will have different experiences in terms of their environments, conditions, and contextual experiences (Onwuegbuzie, 2003).
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 64 Sampling Scheme for Mixed Methods Study The study incorporated a sequential design using a nested sample for both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of th e study (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 2003). After observations were collected from Phase II ( observations), a purposive sample was drawn to select 10 participants from thos e who completed the ratings scale. Quantitative and Qualitative Instruments A standardized coding instrument (observation rubric) was used as well as a closed fixed-response instrume nt (ratings scale). The rati onale for the selection of instruments was that the responses from th e coding instrument and questionnaire would enable the researcher to tria ngulate the findings through the reporting of mean scores and standard deviations as well as building confidence intervals around the descriptive statistics. The development procedure for the rubric was initiated by first ascertaining what content areas the state require s trainers to cover in dist ricts across Florida. It was determined that there are five general areas th e state requires district s incorporate in their trainings. These are cross-cultural awareness, methods, curriculum, applied linguistics and assessment. I developed the standardized coding instrument with input from two professionals in the field of second langua ge acquisition and by cross referencing Floridas English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Compet encies and Skills. 11th Ed., the Florida Performance Standards for Teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages and the textbook Empowering ESOL Teachers: An Overview Volume I and II which districts provide in-service teachers in the 60 hour Category II Empowerment
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 65 training sessions. In order to check for c ontent and construct va lidity, I also obtained feedback from two experts in the field as to what should be retained, omitted, or modified. The purpose of the observational rubric in Phase I was to determine the extent of variation between content area topics and general overall c overage by the trainer. This was determined based on a rating scale de veloped by myself that ranged from 0 5, where 0 indicated no coverage and 5 indicated full and complete treatment of a specific or general topic. The score of 3 was chosen to represent satisfact ory coverage and was used to determine whether both specific content areas and district training sessions as a whole were accomplished satisfactorily This re searcher was responsible for scoring both the rubric and recording the ratings scale responses. Because this was the first time this rubric and questionnaire ha ve been developed, the rese archer cannot report score reliability using previous research. The rubric consisted of a number of indi cators or scores which varied per each area, so overall mean scores were calculat ed. For example, the content area applied linguistics contained seven i ndicators for a total of seven scores. The content area assessment and evaluation contained five i ndicators and five co rresponding scores. In total the rubric consisted of 30 indicators. The survey also contained 30 indicators and overall mean scores per area were calculated in a similar fashion. The purpose of the survey in Phase II was also to produce another set of scores that were independent of my own in-class observations. By incorporating observations made by other teachers in the
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 66 trainings, it was hoped that these additional set of scores would contribute to the validity of the study. Interviews contained standa rdized closed-ended questions that were formatted to allow insights that the quantified phases mi ght not have obtained. The rationale for using closed-ended questions over open-ended ones was that closed-ended questions allowed me to transcribe the resp onses with more ease (Johnson & Christensen, 2004), and provided me with a sense of continuity across responses. It should be noted that there was some concern that the decision to include closed-ended questions over open-ended ones may have resulted in losing the types of re sponses that closed-ended responses are not able to capture. Interviews took approxim ately 20 to 30 minutes and were informal sessions at the schools where the participants worked. Examples of sample questions asked were as follows: (a) Was there a ny part of the training that you felt was overemphasized? (b) To what extent do you think Floridas approach to preparing teachers to instruct English learners is eff ective? The interviews were audio-taped and transcribed by me. Transcripts were sent to participants in a self-addressed, stamped envelope to provide opportunity for member checking. They were instructed to return the transcripts within two weeks or the researcher would assume the transcripts were accurate and satisfactory to the participants. Field notes were also gathered in the qualitative phase of the study (Phase I observations). The field notes were used to record accurately any descriptive observations of the training but also include as much reflec tive data as possible in order to record any feelings, hunches, possible problems and ideas related to the trai nings (Bogdan & Biklen,
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 67 1992). Because the rubric focused primarily on the trainers actions, the field notes were an important tool to record the participants attitudes, reactions, and willingness to participate as well as the general atmosphe re of the proceedings. After the sessions, written notes were transcribed onto a word pr ocessor to ensure clarity and to provide a means to categorical constructions in order to form reoccurring themes. Procedures A research protocol was submitted to the University of South Floridas Institutional Review Board for approval as well as to the districts in which I conducted the study. All participants in the study were assured anonymity and confidentiality via the Institutional Review Board. The trainers and participants were clearly informed that I was not working for the district in any research capacity. I was able to conduct the interviews within two months of the comp letion of district training sessions in order to avoid any issues of validity having to do with maturation and the history effect. Research Paradigm and Design The research paradigm for the quantitative aspects of the study is based on a postpositivist ontological view. This researcher acknowledges that reality is contextual and there is a multiplicity of realities and th rough them, one can try to understand phenomena within the social and cultural context of the participants lives (S uri, 1999). Nevertheless, according to Mertens (2003), the researcher who accepts this view believes that while there is a multiplicity of perceptual realities, there is indeed one reality or truth that can be known to a certain extent. The qualitative research pa radigm in this study is constructivist. The goal of the interviews was to provide a voice for those who speak
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 68 directly to issues that affect stigmatized and marginalized groups such as English language learners who do not have a voice (Waszak & Sines, 2003). The mixed-methods paradigm is pragmatic because the primary concern for using both quantitative and qualitative approaches is to determine what practical uses can be gained from using both methods (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004). By combining the two approaches and allowing them both to refute and corroborate each other in varying degrees, the outcome of the study becomes the focus of the inqui ry rather than the methods themselves. Essentially, the researcher agrees with Charles Sanders Peirce when he said, let no method stand in the way of inquiry (Maxcy, 2003, p.86). The research design in the quantitative pha ses (Phase I and II) is descriptive. The goal of the two phases is to record scores gathered from observations and responses as accurately as possible in order to determine frequency and central tendencies. The qualitative research design is phenomenological because the focus of the interviews is to gain a better understanding of how the participants construc t and make meaning out of the phenomenon being studied (Johnson & Christensen, 2004). By adopting a phenomenological stance, the researcher believe s that it will be possible to assume as Johnson and Christensen (2004) suggest, a commonality in human experience(T)his commonality is called an essence, or invariant st ructure, or essential characteristic of an experience. (p. 365). The design for this mixed methods aspect of the study is a partially mixed sequential dominant design. Although there are actually three phases of the study (the first two are quantitative, with the excep tion of the field notes while the third is qualitative), one could view the study in te rms of two dominant phases--quantitative and
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 69 qualitative, the former receiving greater empha sis. The purpose of the design is withinmethods triangulation. It is hoped that by using a mixed methods approach, the researcher will become more confident w ith the interpretation of th e results (Leech & Onwuegbuzie, 2005). Interview responses and field notes w ill be analyzed by using the constant comparison procedure to compare code designati ons with a code list to avoid definitional drift. If this occurs, new codes that be tter match phenomena can be created. Categories will be created based on an investigative perspective where the researcher views intellectual constructions as a means to form the basis of category construction (Constas, 1992, pp. 257-258). Categorical construc tion will be justified on the basis of external verification where experts will be used to verify and substantiate a given set of categories (Constas, 1992, p. 259). Names given to categories will be based on an interpretive, hermeneutic approach where the researcher will try to put himself in the minds of the participants to create categories that best categori ze responses (Constas, 1992). The researcher will cr eate categories post priori. Mixed Data Analysis The following steps in the mixed methods analysis were undertaken. First, data was reduced in Phase I and II by computing the descriptive and inferential statistics. In Phase II and III, data was reduced using an exploratory thematic analysis so as to categorize responses into more easily unders tood themes. Second, by qualitizing the data into themes the researcher was able to compare responses from each phase again more easily and this allowed for an audit tr ail for legitimization purposes (Johnson &
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 70 Christensen, 2004). Finally, data from all th ree phases was consolidated and displayed using chart, graphs, and tables.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 71 Chapter 4 Results Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to report the findings of my study for all three phases. These again include data gathered and analyzed from observations using a rubric and field notes (phase I), from a survey of 50 participants (phase II), and finally from structured interviews with10 participants (phase III). The analysis is primarily descriptive in phase I and II but inferentia l statistics are also used in phase II in order to determine statistical significance for possible differences in district and subject area coverage. Data from the observational rubric employed was solely descriptive because the sample was simply too small. Essentially my observations of each district constituted a sample of one, myself (n=1) per three dist ricts. The statistical softwa re SAS was used to compute the descriptive and inferential statistics for the observational rubric and surveys (SAS Institute Inc., 2006). To give the reader a fuller understa nding of those being studied, I included questions at the beginning of each survey which asked various demographic questions such as their age, teaching experience, and content they teach (see Table 1 on the following 2 pages). The majority of participants were for the most part between the ages of 21-30, 31-40 and 41-50 with an average of 16 people equally distributed in each age group. Most of the participants surveyed had ta ught either 1-3 or 4-10 years. Participants were overwhelmingly female with only 9 out of the 50 surveyed being male. They were predominantly White (36 out of 50) and spoke English natively (44 of 50).
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 72 Table 1 Frequency distribution of survey participants and their score responses Frequency Age CC AL CU M A Total 15 21-30 3.9 3.1 3.4 3.2 2.9 3.3 17 31-40 3.8 3.2 3.4 3 3.1 3.3 15 41-50 3.4 3 2.7 2.7 2.7 2.9 3 51-60 4.5 4.2 4.2 3.8 1.9 3.7 Experience 17 1-3 3.9 3.3 3.2 3.1 2.9 3.3 28 4-10 3.7 3 3.3 3 2.8 3.2 2 11-15 3.8 3.2 2.3 2.2 2.3 2.8 1 16-20 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.5 4 4.3 2 21 + 2.6 3.6 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.2 Gender 9 Male 3.6 2.8 3 2.6 2.3 2.9 41 Female 3.8 3.2 3.3 3.1 3 4 Race 36 White 3.6 3 3.1 2.8 2.8 3.1 5 Black 4.1 3.4 3.5 2.9 3.1 3.4 1 Asian 4.3 3.1 2.7 3.2 3 3.3 8 Hispanic 4.3 4 3.8 4 3.1 3.9
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 73 Frequency Language CC AL CU M A Total 44 English 1st 3.7 3.1 3.2 2.9 2.7 3.1 6 English 2nd 4.3 4 3.5 3.7 3.7 3.8 Content 4 Science 3.2 2.4 2.5 2 2.2 2.5 5 Math 3.6 2.7 2.3 2.2 2.1 2.6 5 Soc. Studies 2.8 2.6 2.5 2.6 2.2 2.5 5 English 4.3 4.3 4.2 4.4 3.9 4.2 8 ESOL 4.5 3.9 3.7 3.6 3.2 3.8 19 Elem. Ed. 3.9 3.2 3.5 3.1 3 3.3 ELL Prop. 6 less 5% 3.5 2.7 2.9 2.8 2.3 2.8 1 5-10% 3.5 3.9 3 3.7 4 3.6 3 10-20% 3.4 3 3.1 3.7 4 3.6 8 30-40% 3.9 2.9 2.8 2.8 2.8 3 11 50-60% 4.2 3.5 3.9 3.6 3.1 3.7 21 70-80% 3.7 3.2 3.2 2.8 2.9 3.2 Major 28 Education 3.7 3.1 3.3 3.1 2.8 3.2 18 Non-Ed. 3.8 3.2 3 2.8 2.7 3.1 4 Other 4.2 3.7 3.7 3.4 3.9 3.8 Note. CC = cross-cultural awareness, Al = applied linguistics, CU =curriculum, M = Methods, A = assess.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 74 A good number of them were elementary teach ers (19 of 50) with the remaining content subjects being almost equally distribute d among the rest of the participants. Interestingly, 64% of the participants surveyed taught in schools where the proportion of ELLs exceeded 50% and 21% of th e 50 participants taught in schools with ELL proportions that exceeded 70%. Finally, mo st of those surveyed were education majors in college and had obtained a B.A. w ith nine of them holding a Masters degree and one with an Ed.S. Phase I The observational rubric I used to score trainer coverage consisted of five subject areas which again were: cross-cultural awar eness, applied linguistics, curriculum, methods and assessment. Each subject area on the rubric was further broken down by a set of related sub-topics. Three of the topi cs, cross-cultural awareness, curriculum and methods had six sub-topics each, applied lingui stics had seven and assessment had five. Average scores were calculated for each of the five subject areas based on the scores given for each areas sub-topics. The scores I assigned for subject area c overage across all three districts were generally quite low. For example, an average score or mean was calculated for the area methods. In the district 1 training session methods received an overall mean score of 1.3 out of 5. In district 2, methods also receive d an average score of 1.3 and in district 3, methods received a 1.5. Thus, the overall score for methods in all three districts was 1.4. According to the scale I used, a 1.4 lies betw een brief and minimal coverage but closest to brief. Applied linguistics rece ived a score of 1.6 in distri ct 1, 1.6 in district 2, and 2.1
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 75 in district 3. The overall score for this area in all three districts was 1.8, which again lies between brief and minimal coverage. In f act, with the exception of cross-cultural awareness which had a combined mean of 2.4, representing close to satisfactory treatment, the other subject areas all fell fa r below what the scale considered fair or satisfactory. I scored assessment the lowest assigning district 1 a 0.8 and the second district a 1.0 for each while in district 3, I assigned a 0.0. The total average score for assessment was 0.60. After sitting in 10 sessi ons, I was unable to observe the trainer provide any instruction in assessment to a ny noticeable degree. (see Table 2 and Figure 1 on following two pages).
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 76 Table 2 Rubric Mean Scores per District and across all Three Districts Coverage area District 1 District 2 District 3 Total Cross-cultural 2.7 2.3 2.2 2.4 Awareness Applied linguistics 1.6 1.6 2.1 1.8 Curriculum 1.0 1.2 0.8 1.0 Methods 1.3 1.3 1.5 1.4 Assessment 0.8 1.0 0.0 0.6 Total 1.5 1.5 1.3 1.4 Note. Maximum score = 5.0
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 77 Figure 1 Rubric Mean Scores across all Three Districts 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 C.C. A.L. Curriculum Methods Assessment Note. Maximum score = 5.0 During the observations, field notes were taken throughout all 30 sessions observed during the trainings from all three school districts. These notes were recorded on a word processor and categorized into 16 separate themes. I then took the 16 themes and condensed them into seven larger themes which relate to each other in one way or another. The following is a de scription of these themes.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 78 No Follow-Up An overriding theme that observed frequen tly was this notion that the trainers were not following up on instruct ional points they were attemp ting to make and therefore, in my view, not teaching for understanding. Tr ainers used their district textbooks and supplement materials such as brief surveys, qui zzes, and powerpoint slides to lecture and also provide for group work. Various activitie s ranged from group games such as cultural bingo and a session long game called Bafa Bafa which emphasized the feelings of cultural isolation to independe nt in-class reading tasks whic h almost exclusively used a strategy known as jigsawing. This is a strategy in which participants read separate chunks of material from each other and present thei r findings on posterboards to the class with the expectation that everyone would learn the topics presented from participants presentations. Check-It-Off and Move-On These techniques in and of themselves ma y have been sufficient if trainers had taken certain salient subjects and expanded on them in ways which participants could have better grasped their meaning and how th ey could be applied in realistic classroom settings. Instead more often than not, trainers simply moved from one topic to another in rapid fashion as if they were being pressed by time and needed to show that they covered everything they were directed to cover. This check-it-off mentality was particularly present in the third district in which I obs erved and confirmed by those I interviewed in that district. Indeed, the en tire process of getting th rough material seemed very bureaucratically driven and exceedingly tireso me for the participants. Some examples I
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 79 witnessed were as follows on numerous instan ces, participants jigsawed reading material and spent time writing bullets on poster board paper. After they went down the list of items, trainers simply moved on to another activity and did not bother to expand on any of the points raised. A video was shown in all three districts called Victor which told the story of the difficulties of immigrant children assimilating into American society. In only one district was a worksheet ha nded out that went over issues raised in the story. In the other two districts, the traine rs simply asked two or three questions about the video such as soliciting participants impressions were and moved on. In distri ct 3, the trainer had participants list the different stages of s econd language acquisition in groups and when they were done, simply moved on to another activity without a word spoken. In fact this pattern of moving on after an activity with no follow-up or de-briefing was quite common. Impractical Classroom Applications Another reoccurring theme found in my observations was that subjects being presented and taught were not necessarily ones which provided any tangible, realistic methods which could be incorporated into r eal-life classroom settings. The overemphasis on cross-cultural awareness issues created discussion that was overly theoretical in nature. Much of what was taught was theore tical and focused on at titudes and behaviors as opposed to specific methods or curricula. Te achers need to learn wa ys to differentiate their instruction so that they can modify le sson plans to teach ELLs in their classrooms. Unfortunately, I observed very little guidance in how to create differentiated instruction, and one wonders why trainers neglected to address this very important topic when it lies
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 80 at the heart of preparing teachers to work with ELLs (Gibbons, 2002). Perhaps one might counter this argument by claimi ng that differentiated instruct ion is discussed more in depth during other courses offered. However these other courses are not required of Category II teachers such as science and soci al studies instructors, and the Empowerment class in which I studied is the only opportunity they have to learn these valuable methods. The delivery of the Empowerment class was such that an implicit acknowledgement must have b een reached at some point by those who first designed these classes that the area of cross-cultu ral awareness would be emphasized over the other four areas. A good proportion of the material s that were provided to participants as well as direct trainer instruction was devoted to this area exclus ively and I found quite clearly in my observations in all three districts, that of the five areas the Empowerment classes were supposed to have covered, cro ss-cultural awareness was emphasized the most. In fact all three counties focused on this area exclusively for the first third of the course and intermittently afterward. Little cla ss time was allotted for the other five areas such as curriculum, methods, linguistics and in particular, assessment. Quantitative data from the participants responses on the survey s seem to confirm my observations in this regard. Time and again trainers explicitly commented that the purpose of the course was to as get you to empathize with the children. Thats what this course is all about, one trainer remarked from district 2. Lack of Engagement Another theme I observed was the lack of seriousness and personal involvement participants brought to the sessi ons. Often times, part icipants arrived la te and left early.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 81 Trainers allowed them one excused absence, but participants that I know of missed more than one session. Many of them talked idly in the back while the trai ner lectured, and still others caught up on their grading and even br owsed their laptops during the sessions. In district 1 in particular, participants were quite brazen about ignori ng the trainer and there were times where I thought he would have to stop the class to scold them, though he never did even once. Part of the problem is the lack of accountability which surrounded the classes. There was no pass or fail crite ria, nor was there any punishment for being late, leaving early or turning work in late. Pa rticipants were appare ntly given leeway as long as they were able to check off a number of required assignment s. This observation was confirmed by participants comments during the interviews. One troubling aspect of these sessions I observed was the f act that all three districts managed to shave off the required 60 hours into shorter and shorter class periods. They did this by subtracting 18 hours of in-c lass instruction from the original 60 to be used for out-of-class assignments. This left just 42 hours of in-class instruction. The outof-class assignments were then almost ex clusively done in class, thereby creating circumstances in which the remaining hours de voted to explicit in-class instruction was reduced to even fewer hours. I found this to be more prevalent in district 2 and 3 and particularly in district 2 where approxim ately 25 hours of in-cla ss instruction time was devoted to explicit trai ner instruction. Fears of Audits A final theme was the priority trainers placed on making sure participants were able to comply with state audits. The subjec t came up so often in all three districts one
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 82 can only assume that there is a real concer n on the part of those who supervise these trainings, namely the head ESOL coordinators for each district to avoid any unwarranted scrutiny. Trainers often brought up the need to keep a checklist of ESOL modifications in their gradebooks if auditors were to come into their classrooms (see Appendix D), and while this is required by all teachers my sense was that the trainers concern that teachers obtain the list superseded other considerations, namely that they were actually using them in class. In one district the trainer told them to say that pairing was not their only modification if auditors came into the room. He suggested shortly afterwards that participants should tell the auditors that they use graphi c organizers based on Kagans linguistic principles. He sa id this is what youll te ll the auditors how you are differentiating instruction. Much of the concern over audits may st em from the implicit acknowledgement on the part of district official s that state mandates regarding ESOL teacher trainings were subverted due to local bureaucratic decisions th at modified the rules to fit their own local needs. An example of this may be the shavi ng-off of hours I witnesse d in all of the three districts I observed. Such behaviors are not uncommon at the local level. A study conducted by Smith (1990) examining indi vidualized education programs (IEPs) found that officials had adjusted the mandated activitie s in response to day-to-day realities (p. 8), and a multiplicity of views and expert ise by school professionals had served to develop their programs in the absence of a ny empirical base (p. 7). Rather than any psychological explanation such as paranoia, th e fear of audits on the part of Florida
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 83 district officials may result from a concern by street-level bureaucrats that their decisions may come under the scrutiny of the state. Phase II Out of 60 training participan ts, 50 returned the survey di stributed at the end of the final class session. The surveys structure paralleled the observational rubric, in containing items that corresponded closely with the areas related sub-topics used as indicators in the observation rubric. The scor es given by participants rating the trainers coverage were much higher than my own scores. This difference was true for each district I studied, though most pronounced in district 1. The overall average score for all five subjects areas which the participants assigned on the surveys was 3.2, indicating fair or satisfactory coverage. This compares to my overall mean of 1.4. Large variances exist between the participants scores on the surv ey and the observations scores when one looks closely at individual ar eas. For instance district 1 part icipants assigned an average mean of 3.0 for assessment, while I assigned a 0.80. District 2 participants gave an average mean of 3.4 for curriculum while I assi gned district 2 a 1.2 for the same area (see Table 3 and Figure 2 on following two pages for a comparison of total rubric and survey mean scores for all three districts). In some cases, rather high scores were given for areas by participants where I was unable to detect a ny coverage at all. For instance, the area assessment was barely covered by district 1 as shown by a mean score of 0.80 (barely registering as brief coverage), and yet par ticipants gave this ca tegory a 3.0, indicating satisfactory coverage. In another instance, pa rticipants in district 2 gave the category curriculum a mean score of 3.4, indicating better than satisfactory coverage, yet I
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 84 assigned the same topic a 1.2, which again bare ly indicates brief coverage. A discussion of factors which may have led to these larg e discrepancies between participants scores and my own will be addressed in Chapter 5.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 85 Table 3 Comparison of Survey and Rubric Mean Scores across all Three Districts Coverage area Rubric means Survey Means Cross-cultural 2.4 3.8 awareness Applied linguistics 1.8 3.2 Curriculum 1.0 3.2 Methods 1.4 2.9 Assessment 0.6 2.8 Total 1.4 3.2 Note. Maximum score = 5.0
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 86 Figure 2 Survey and Rubric Means Comparison across all Three Districts Su r Rub 4 3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 Assessment C.C. A.L. Curriculum Methods Note. Maximum Score = 5.0 Interestingly, there was a common elemen t found between their scores and my own which I surmised would exist prior to conducting the study. I assumed prior to the study that coverage would favor the covera ge area cross-cultural awareness and the participants and my own scores do bear this out. Survey scor es show that participants gave this area an overall mean score across all three districts a 3.8, which was the highest of all the five areas from their surveys and it was also my highest overall average mean (2.4) for the five areas across the three districts.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 87 To see if the emphasis on cross-cultural awareness was statistically significant, I conducted a dependent measures t-tests on difference scores between all pairwise comparisons of the five areas. The results showed that of the five areas, only crosscultural awareness was statistically significant and mean scores were checked to confirm that the variable cross-cultural awareness c onsistently showed higher values than the other variables being compared. For example, when comparing coverage between crosscultural awareness and methods, the pairwise t-test showed the highest significance in difference t = 8.4, ( p < 0.0001). The other four compar isons including cross-cultural awareness indicated robust tscores as well. Again none of the other comparisons showed statistical significance of difference when cross-cultural awareness was absent. I conducted a Bonferroni adjustment by dividi ng the alpha level ( 0.05) by the number of tests (10) which gave me a p value of 0.005 and the results were the same. With the exception of the pair curriculum and methods (which barely fell within the Bonferroni adjustment), all the pairs which included cross-cultural awareness had p values equal to or less than 0.0001 ( p < 0.0001) (see following page for Table 4 Comparison of pair-wise differences across coverage areas).
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 88 Table 4 Comparison of Pair-wise Differe nces across Coverage Areas Numbered Coverage areas t scores Pr > t differences 1 cross-cultural awareness and applied linguistics 6.5 <.0001 2 cross-cultural awareness and curriculum 5.8 <.0001 3 cross-cultural awareness and methods 8.4 <.0001 4 cross-cultural awareness and assessment 6.4 <.0001 5 applied linguistics and curriculum -0.8 0.44 6 applied linguistics and methods 1.6 0.11 7 applied linguistics and assessment 2.2 0.03 8 curriculum and methods 3.0 0.004 9 curriculum and assessment 2.8 0.006 10 assessment and methods -1.2 0.23 Note: P < .0001 is statistically significant. All signifi cant pairwise comparisons were checked to verify which variable had the higher mean value. In all four cases of statistical significance, Cross-cultural awareness had the higher value.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 89 An ANOVA was performed to determine if the survey data may have indicated any difference in coverage among the three districts. (see Table 5 on the following two pages for ANOVA summary table illustrating relationship between districts training coverage across five areas.). The results we re analyzed using five separate one-way ANOVAS, between-groups design. The analyses did not reveal a significant effect for districts across any of the five coverage areas. This was confirmed by a Tukeys HSD test which also did not show any significant differences between districts across any of the five areas. This finding contrasted, however, wi th some of the qualitative data I gathered from my field notes which did find difference in district coverage and more will be discussed regarding this point later. Using the responses from the demogra phic questions at the beginning of the surveys, I created a series of procedure st atements in SAS to determine whether there might have been any noticeable difference in the participants scores across the five coverage areas based on their demographic re sponses. No noticeable difference could be ascertained either by examining their mean scores per demographic response across the five areas or through a series of t-tests l ooking at specific variables such as teaching experience. Only gender indicated a noticeabl e mean but a t-test indicated there was no statistical difference for that particular vari able and even if ther e had been, one would have to question its validity considering the distribution frequency of gender heavily favored women. Recall that of the 50 participants only nine were male.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 90 Table 5 ANOVA Summary for Relationship between Di stricts Training Coverage across Five Areas Area 1 Cross-cultural awareness Source df SS MS F R Pr > F Districts 2 0.93 0.46 0.74 0.03 0.48 Within groups 47 29.56 0.62 Total 49 Area 2 Applied Linguistics Source df SS MS F R Pr > F Districts 2 0.83 0.41 0.33 0.01 0.72 Within groups 47 59.59 1.26 Total 49 Area 3 Curriculum Source df SS MS F R Pr > F Districts 2 3.57 1.78 1.60 0.06 0.21 Within groups 47 52.38 1.11 Total 49
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 91 Area 4 Methods Source df SS MS F R Pr > F Districts 2 4.36 2.18 2.20 0.08 0.12 Within groups 47 46.57 0.99 Total 49 Area 5 Assessment Source df SS MS F R Pr > F Districts 2 3.71 1.85 1.04 0.04 0.36 Within groups 47 84.30 1.79 Total 49 Note. P < .05 is statistically significant
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 92 Phase III Phase III consisted of interviews I had with 10 participants from all three districts. I interviewed three participants from district s 1, four from district 2 and three people from district 2. The interviews consiste d of 12 closed-fixed response questions. I recorded their responses and transcribed th em I then organized the responses into a number of thematic categories and later grouped them into se veral larger themes which I believe best characterized the respondents views of the training. Many of the themes I found in my field notes were echoed by the pa rticipants in the interviews with a few exceptions. Overemphasis on Cross-Cultural Awareness Question three in the interview protocol as ked participants which of the five areas they thought were covered by the trainers to the greatest extent. In every case, the participant interviewed indicated that cross-cultural awareness received the most coverage. Their responses in this regard confirm similar findings in my observational rubrics data, my field notes, and the participants survey re sponses. Several participants found the emphasis on cross-cu ltural awareness to be beneficial. Some of them repeatedly said that it was the most useful aspect of the course and a good reminder of what they needed to remember. One respondent said that it created awareness and was beneficial for somebody like herself who is not exposed to other languages on a day to day basis.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 93 Curriculum was Redundant to Participants Another broad theme I found in their responses was the notion that much of what they learned was redundant to them. Some said that they came in to the sessions already knowing what was taught to them. One respondent said, Its hard for me to think of anything concrete I learned from the training that I did not already know. Another stated from district 1 that strategies for ESOL were already very similar to the strategies we learn in special education. So there was a lot of repeat info rmation for myself. Another respondent said that much of what was presen ted in class was materi al which had already been taught to him in college and said that the material was very redundant. About half of the respondents said the trainings were a waste of time because they were already using reading / FCAT type stra tegies in class such as making use of pictures and graphic organizers. One should note that two of th e respondents who claimed the material was redundant but did not graduate from college of education programs were participating in the alternative certification progr am (ACP) at the local university here in Tampa, Florida while they were attending the di strict ESOL training sessions. With the emphasis in recent years on read ing strategies within the framework of national and statewide high stakes testing, el ements from both reading and ESOL best practices were likely to overlap (whether this is something the trainers could have avoided is debatable). Still, the fact that so many respondents voiced their frustration over this issue reveals that perhaps more could have been done on the part of the trainers to offer instruction that was more specific to teaching ELLs rather than offering generalized strategies that could be applied across many disciplines.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 94 The fact that many participants in th e Empowerment course were elementary teachers may have contributed to why teach ers claimed the course was redundant. Elementary teachers are required to take the Em powerment course as part of a five course requirement and I found in the case of three of the teachers that the Empowerment course was the last of the five cour ses they were required to complete. There was apparently no sequence in which they had to take the course s and because it was the last of the five classes they were required to complete, it st ands to reason that many of them may have believed the course to be re dundant as the Empowerment course is meant to be an overview of the other five classes and would ha ve included topics that previous classes had already covered. Lack of Specificity The general nature of the curriculum was a major issue raised by the respondents. With the exception of two respondents, ever yone interviewed expressed dismay at not being provided specific instru ctions on how to work with ELLs. Aggravation over not having the appropriate tools to handle ELLs once they were mainstreamed into their classrooms may have varied according to grad e level as the secondary teachers may have harbored stronger feelings of frustration as it is more difficult to work with ELLs with lower levels of proficiency in English at the secondary level than it is at the elementary level. One secondary teacher said he wished they had given him a toolbox in which he could actually take back in to the classroom and implemen t. He asked, What activities can I do as alternativ e activities, actual concrete ones because its hands on in my classroom and Im not doing theoretical here? Another person echoed this sentiment;
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 95 when asked what part of the training could have been given more attention, she replied, mainly realistic lesson plans because we we rent given enough tools in the classroom that we can use. Its all stuff that sounds gr eat but its not realistic. Others said they wanted more solutions. They faulted the whole concept of lumping teachers together regardless of grade level or subjects they teach. One respondent said, I wanted more solutions. I guess the whole fault with the cour se is it is addressi ng kindergarten teachers all the way up to 12th grade. I just wish it could have been more grade specific so I could have reading help for kids at this age. A few respondents suggested they break down the trainings by subject area. One pe rson said, If its mathematics, say here is what is most effective. If its science then show wh at is most effective for science. Training Viewed As A Waste of Time The perceived lack of specific instruction left many of the participants with the feeling that their experiences in the trainings were as they repeatedly said a waste of time. An elementary school teacher said he did not feel like he got a lot from the course and that he did not think the one tr aining prepared him. He stated that the trainings were drawn-out. We just go in there, he said, I felt like we were just shooting the bullcrap. He (trainer) would just go off th e top of his head and wed get together and talk amongst ourselves. Others were just as critical. A woman in district 2 said she thought the trainings did not prep are her adequately. She said, I found it to be a waste of time. The only good thing I got out of it was I got three credits towa rd my certification. When I asked another woman who teaches at th e elementary level how useful she thought the training was, she replied, definitely usel ess in every aspect. When pressed why she
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 96 thought as such, she again returned to the notion that the trainings were too generalized, too theoretical, and not specific for her grad e or subject. She said, The lesson plans are unrealistic and you can not incorporate them into your classroom because you know, were supposed to teach things in 30 minutes and some of the things we learned here would take far longer. Another woman said they would form groups and usually only she or one other did all the work. Another lamented that teachers would come and go when they wanted, and she felt like this was a big distraction. Sh e stated, I can not stand when Im there when Im supposed to be there, and a lot of adults are wandering in whenever they feel like it and I feel lik e Im doing more than them. Another teacher said that they (the participants) were wors e than her students when it came to completing classroom tasks. Other themes included the notion that the paperwork participants had to complete for the trainings was overdone and led to confus ion. Participants were asked to check off tasks to complete the training, but each distri ct had their own list a nd none of the districts provided a syllabus. One participant said, The re was confusion about what was expected of us for the projects, when things were due, and where it was going. I felt like I was in the dark about what was happening. Anothe r teacher said she too felt angry why time was being wasted filling out paperwork that had to be completed and was unclear about when things were due and what the ov erall purpose of the checklists were. Not all of the responses from the inte rviews were negative. As mentioned previously, there was a general consensus th at the emphasis on cross-cultural awareness was beneficial as it led to participants being reminded of how important it is too
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 97 empathize with ELLs and it should be noted th at the two respondents I interviewed from district 1 generally had a favorable impression of the trainin g. They thought the treatment was even-handed and thorough. They were critica l, however of the states approach as both thought the trainings while good were gene rally a waste of time, believing that they should do away with the tr ainings altogether. Summary of Results It might be helpful at this point to summarize the findings from each phase. In Phase I, the descriptive data from my observational rubric produced very low scores indicating generally brief coverage for all five coverage areas with the exception of crosscultural awareness which had an overall m ean score of 2.4, approximating satisfactory treatment. The field notes in Phase I produced a number of overarching themes, one of which was the notion that trainers were not following-up on their points and followed a check-it-off mentality in their rush to acco mplish tasks. Another was that trainings did not provide participants with ta ngible, realistic methods or stra tegies that could be used in classroom settings. A third theme appeared to be an overemphasis on cross-cultural awareness. Other themes observed were the lack of seriousness and personal involvement on the part of participants and the widespr ead practice (by widespread, I mean across all three districts) of shaving off in-class instruction time by separating hours into out-ofclass assignments and then later completing them in class. A final theme mentioned earlier from the field notes taken in Phase I was the priority trainers put on making sure participants were prepared for possi ble audits from state officials.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 98 Phase II produced survey data that was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The results showed that participants scored the coverage by trainers in the trainings much higher than I did on the observational rubr ic, though participant responses on the survey mirrored the rubric s findings which scored the area crosscultural awareness higher than the other four areas. An A NOVA showed no statistically significant difference in dist rict coverage and a close look at mean scores found no difference in demographic responses such as age, or teaching experience and corresponding scores. Phase III offered a number of themes wh ich served to corroborate some of my findings in both the rubric and surveys. Th e responses on the interviews again confirmed that cross-cultural awareness was the mo st emphasized of all five areas, though participants occasionally argued that they be were happy to be reminded of the importance of feeling empathy and being sensi tized to ELL issues. Many participants felt the trainings to be redundant as they said they already knew much of what was being taught to them. Related was the fact that many also said the trainings were not specific enough in terms of what they needed to know in realistic classroom-type settings, and they said repeatedly that as a result, much of their experience in these trainings was a waste of time. Respondents in the interviews also said they wanted instruction to be geared toward their content areas and grad e levels. Some respondents lamented over the behavior of their peers and resented trying wh ile others came and went as they pleased. Finally, respondents in the interviews thought the paperwork could have been more organized and were confused about expectations.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 99 A further analysis of the im plications and consequences of these findings is in the next chapter, along with a discussion of r ecommendations. Many of these findings paint a dreary picture of state and dist rict approaches to training teachers to work with ELLs. However, I am careful, however, not to suggest that the entire proce ss of training teachers which now exists should be discarded. In many cases, a small change might be what is needed to improve a particular procedure, while in other cases, past practices will no doubt have to be revamped to both enhance the viability of these trainings and restore credibility to a process that so many teachers both dread and resent.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 100 Chapter 5 Discussion and Recommendations While I do not presume to be an expert in ESOL curriculum a nd instruction, I am confident that my research over the last thr ee years investigating Fl oridas approach to training teachers who work with ELLs has provided me with an understanding of how state and district officials have attempted to create programs that serve to prepare teachers to instruct ELLs. In this last chap ter I will first discuss issues and problems associated with the studys method and then progress to shortcomings found in the trainings. I will conclude each topic with recommendations. By providing recommendations I hope that policymakers, dist rict ESOL coordinato rs and trainers may have an additional resource to reform their existing programs or plan new ones altogether. Issues and Problems with the Studys Method. To the reader, a large discrepancy whic h must be painfully obvious is how my own observational rubrics scor es could have produced such low scores when fifty participants who attended the same trainings scored the same sessions considerably higher. Of course, it is altogether possible that my sens e of the coverage was inherently flawed but I do not think so. Rather, I hypothesize that it comes down to a question of informed judgment versus uninformed j udgment and the influence of two confounding variables: social desirability response and the observer effect. I spent a large amount of time prio r to the study accessing the manuals Floridas English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Competencies and Skills. 11th Ed., and
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 101 the Florida Performance Standards for Teache rs of English for Speakers of Other Languages which district ESL coordinators and tr ainers use to create and teach these courses. I also read and fam iliarized myself with the textbook Empowering ESOL Teachers: An Overview Volume I and II which districts provide in -service teachers in the 60 hour Category II Empowerment training sess ions. Participants in the sessions were not privy to this knowledge prior to taking the courses and were ignorant as to what fundamental subjects were to be included in the classes they took. T hus, even though they were informed educators in the sense that they were familiar with topics related to second language acquisition to some extent, they were indeed uninformed about many of the basic components that should have been covered in the sessions. When I refer to the participants as bei ng uniformed, I am not suggesting that they lack general knowledge of the many subjects raised during th e trainings. In fact, many teachers expressed dismay that much of what was covered in the trainings was redundant to them. Rather, I am saying that these teache rs were unaware that the trainers had five specific areas mandated by the state which they were required to cover in a sufficient fashion. For example, one of the areas trainers were supposed to have covered was assessment. In District 1, the trainer waite d until the very end to discuss assessment and when he did, he only very briefly mentioned touched on the subject. Yet participants in that district assigned assessmen t an overall mean score of 3.0 out of a possible score of 5 compared to my mean score of 0.8. A score of 3 indicates satisfactory coverage and anyone observing the training sessions would ha ve to take exception to such a high score when I know for a fact that the trainer barely if ever covered assessment. My point here is
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 102 that if the participants had been told coming into the sessions that the trainer would be covering assessment as one of the five main areas the course was to incorporate, their expectations would have been higher, and th ey possibly would have been less likely to score this area as high as they did. Another issue pertaining to the validity of the survey sc ores was the conditions in which participants took the surveys. When I di stributed the surveys to the participants at the end of the sessions, the trainers in all three cases remained in the room and observed the teachers as they scored the surveys. Th ey were doing me a favor by allowing me to take time out of their class to have teachers fill out the surv eys so I was hard pressed to ask the trainers to leave the room while th e participants answered the surveys. Their presence in the room may have affected the scores. Another possible explanation for the high scores particip ants provided in light of the trainers presence in the room may be attributed to the phenomenon known as social desirability response bias. Essentially social desirability refers to the tendency of people to deny socially undesira ble traits of qualities and to admit to socially desirable ones (Phillips & Clancy, 1972, p. 923). Marlow e and Crowne (1964) developed a scale used by sociologists and others to determine if social desirability was present in the independent and dependent variables being st udied. They argued that people who score highly on their scale of social approval are people who confor m to social stereotypes of what is good to acknowledge concerning onese lf in order to achieve approval from others (Marlowe & Crowne, 1964, p.27). For exam ple, in their studies they found that
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 103 people who sought social approval gave favorab le attitude ratings to boring tasks, set cautious goals and were sus ceptible to persuasion. It is possible that there were particip ants in my own study who by their nature sought social approval in their actions and ga ve favorable scores as a result; this is particularly possible considering the trainers were standing in the same room watching them. Furthermore, my own presence in the room may have affected participants responses being that they may have viewed me as an outsider knowing that I was a researcher from the university and not one of their own as the trainer was. They may then have given the trainer higher scores believing that by doing so it was socially desirable. Still I am not convinced that particip ants scored the areas out of some desire to seek social approval from the trainer. Another possible explanation might be attributed to the observer effect The observer effect hypothesizes that subjects in a study will alter thei r behavior with the knowledge that an observer is present (Zegiob, Arnold, & Forehand, 1975). According to Zegriob, et al., informed observation increase s the probability of positive behavior, and can exert a significant effect on the dependent variable (p.512). In the case of my study, the dependent variable was the scores par ticipants assigned to the survey and if the observer effect was presen t in the study the presence of the observer may have contributed to positive scores. Whether the higher scores can be attributed to social desirability responses or the observer effect is difficult to determine. Anot her possibility is that participants were judging the training against other similar trai nings they had attended and rated it in
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 104 comparison to other past trainings. Despit e this possibility, the most satisfactory explanation is rooted in the cons truct of the survey itself. In my desire to create a survey that was an identical copy of my own observational rubric I gave participants a survey instrument that may have been too detailed and domain-specific for the average teacher to comprehend and respond to in a short period of time. Participants may have decided that the training was sufficie nt based on extraneous variab les such as those I have mentioned, and they may have chosen a high number on the scale, and assigned each indicator the same score. The sizeable number of surveys where all scores were 4s and even 5s, suggest such a halo effect. In Di strict 1 in particular 5 surveys had fives assigned for every indicator. Finally, the overall lack of engagement among the participants throughout the training sessions may have contributed to the skewed findings on the survey. It stands to reason that involvement in a class that is perceived meaningful would result in participants taking the time to accurately judge the efficacy of a course. Likewise, participants who find their e xperience to be a waste of time would be less likely to carefully consider their judgments. Beyond how the surveys were administered and the construct of the surveys themselves, another possible weakness in the study may rest with the course that was studied. I chose only to study the Empowerment courses which were designed to be an overview of all five courses, and I did not study each of the five courses provided by districts in the state separately. For instance, one of the areas required by the state to be covered is methods, and all three districts I studied offer separate courses on methods as
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 105 they do for linguistics, assessment, curriculum and cross-cultural awareness. Essentially then, to conduct a more complete examina tion of the states approach to providing training for in-service teachers working with ELLs, it would have been more thorough to have conducted a separate study of each cour se. To do so, however, would have required many more months of observation as well as a significant more amount of resources which would have resulted in br eeching the scope of this study. Let me move on now to a broader di scussion concerning these Empowerment courses. There are four main areas I will examine beginning with the question whether these training were in any way real istic and useful to participants. Practicality and Useful ness of Trainings The findings in Chapter 4 revealed se veral participating teachers expressed frustrations over the trainings impractical ity, and lack of usefulness. In my own observations, I reached similar conclusions, th at the classes had not provided tangible, realistic methods and strategies which could be easily transferable into the classroom. In the interviews I heard teachers voice such conc erns, and two of the three trainers told me that they believed teachers who take the Em powerment course should also be taking the curriculum and materials courses. The trainer in district 3 said that she knew people who finish these courses and, as she stated, still do not know what to do with Jos. Much of the problem lies in the fact that many of the activities I witnessed in these classes only scratched the surface of meaningful ways to teach second language acquisition. Simulation games such as Bafa Bafa and the Titanic Tale participants put cards on their foreheads with numbers or symbols and walked around in the classroom
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 106 indicating their social class or some othe r trait that set them apart from others. Presumably these games are meant to teach pa rticipants that other cultures which seem different from their own must be respected and taken seriously. In district 3, the game Bafa Bafa took up an entire session and lasted close to two hours. A half an hour was spent just explaining how the game was to be played and when the game was over participants went home for the night. Other games included Create a Culture in which small groups of teachers wrote characteristics of a fictitious culture with its own name and geographic location. I witnessed this activ ity in all three training sessions and was dumbfounded when participants wrote down things like everyone must drink cosmopolitans at 12:00 and nap at 1:00. Trainers seemed to find these types of responses amusing and simply moved on to the next activ ity after the presenters had finished going down their lists. The trainer in District 1 was the only one who actually tried afterwards to explain why the game was played and its relevance to teaching ELLs. At the Pasar was an activity in all three trainings. In this ac tivity, participants were given text of an unknown language and asked to decipher mean ing by determining lexical patterns. Trainers made the point after the activity was concluded that ELL students are given similar chunks of text in their classes and may have no idea what they mean, and therefore teachers need to be c ognizant of these possibilities. Nevertheless, it is important to note that many of these games such as Bafa Bafa are widely used activities which have been proven effective. Bafa Bafa was originally designed by Gary Shirts for the U.S. Navy in the 1970s and is considered one of the most powerful cross-cultural simulation exercises on the market and has had a long
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 107 history of success (Inglis et al., 2004). Furthe rmore, the point behind these activities was clearly to sensitize participants to other cultures they may encounter in the classroom, and in this regard these activities were successful in their aim; many participants did say later that what they learned from the course was bei ng reminded to be sensitive to the plight of English language learners. The trouble with the activities used in the trainings was not so much that they are meaningless tasks or should not have been used, but rather how much time and emphasis trainers placed on implementing them. With little time to address difficult topics related to second language acquisition, such as how to differentiate instruction these games stole time from other objectives of the course. While these games occupied large segmen ts of session time, much more time was devoted to having groups read chunks of text and then presenting to the class the main points of their readings. This t ype of jigsaw instruction was used in every district and in every class without exception. Many of the r eadings were scholarly articles from noted experts in the field of se cond language acquisition and were both interesting and important to the understanding of teaching ELLs Again, the problem here was not that the jigsaw activities were worthless. Rather mu ch of what participants were asked to read was theoretical and required little hands-on participation in which the teachers might absorb and internalize basic second language acquisition concepts, strategies and methods. Reading text in class and presenti ng may hold some value, but it seems farfetched to expect that teachers will somehow be able to turn the difficult theories and concepts they briefly read in the training ma terials into structured lesson plans they will
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 108 use in their classrooms without some way to practice what they learned in classroom settings. The third most common activity used in these training beyond games and reading text in class was teacher lect uring using powerpoint slides. Again the participants were left to absorb information passively with the expectation that they would somehow incorporate the information into their classroom lesson plans. If participants are to use what they learn in these traini ngs, they must begin to actively take what is taught to them by experimenting in real-life classroom situations during the trainings, collaborating with others by de-briefing, and having opportunities for repeated practice with feedback. Scholars have noted that collaboration is critical to the success of teaching for understanding because it contributes to incr eased feelings of ownership and enhanced capacity to solve complex problems (Clair, 1998; Lucas, Henze, & Donato, 1990; Bird, & Warren, 1985). Without practice, professional development can easily fall into a pattern of teacher training preparation programs that are extended versions of the failed one-shot workshop model. As explained in Chapte r 2, Meskills (2001) study of push-in workshops demonstrated those participants who had role-played as trainers were not served well by the one-shot workshop model or the one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, Meskill argued that the best model is one that fits teachers circumstances and employs a number of follow-up strategies. The curren t structure of ESOL mandates relies on a model that may be different than the actual one -shot workshop model in that it is carried over a number of weeks. Yet because there is no follow up after the course is completed, there is a sense that the trainings still a dhere to the one-shot model concept, because
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 109 participants effectively have one chance to conceptualize what they need to know, and that is in variance with the litera ture on professional development. Finally some participants in the interviews said that the materials were outdated and the trainers themselves said as much in conversations I had with them. Most of the materials used in the thr ee districts were created around 1990, when the Empowerment courses were created in the wake of the cons ent decree. A review of the textbooks used in each district I studied confirms this fact. In structional materials have not been updated in almost two decades. The failure to update materials, provide training that emphasizes collaboration and follow-up strategies, and offer instruction that is practical and useful calls into question whether the State of Florida is comp lying with the consent decree. In chapter 1 of this study I outlined provisions of the consent decree which are articulated more specifically in the Language Arts Through ESOL A Guide For Teachers And Administrators: A Companion To The Florida Curriculum Frameworks For Language Arts (1999). This document requires teachers who work with ELLs to be qualified personnel. Yet this study questions how one c ould be considered qua lified in light of the inadequacies of the Empower ment course as delivered. Recommendations for improved utility First, policymakers should consider grouping teachers in these trainings by their subject areas and grade levels. There is a plethora of literature which exists that deals with content-based instruction for teachi ng English language lear ners, and districts should design courses which take advantage of these resources. By grouping instructors
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 110 together regardless of grade level or content they teach, trainers are limited to having to base their training curriculum on methods and strategies that inevitably lack specificity. If districts were to group teacher s by their subject area and grad e level, they then could offer instructors targeted stra tegies and methods and materi als which teachers might find useful. In Chapter 2, I discussed specific strate gies that every teacher should know when working with ELLs. These strategies included pre-reading and pre-wr iting activities to develop schema in order to build associati ons between student experiences and what is being taught as well as introducing key vocabul ary and employing thematic units prior to teaching required content (Egbert & Simich -Dudgeon, 2001; Short, 1995) This type of scaffolding mentioned here was not taught in any meaningful way during the three district training classes I atte nded, nor was content-specific instruction provided such as developing student awareness between ev eryday language and academic language in social studies and helping them understand wh at historical events are being presented (Schleppegrell, Achugar and Oteiza, 2004). As de scribed in Chapter 4, a district 2 middle school teacher reported that he wanted a toolbox to take with him when he was done. A course that emphasizes content-based instru ction for teachers working with ELLs would offer him such a toolbox and be more rewa rding than the watere d-down instruction in Empowerment. Specificity is also required to give meaningful feedback. Each district I observed required the participants to create a modi fied lesson plan for ELLs. These lesson plans had the potential to be very effective teaching tools, but they failed to group participants
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 111 by subject area. In District 2, the trainer grouped partic ipants by grade level i.e. elementary, middle or high school. In the high school group, teachers had decided to create a lesson which could be used for a computer literacy class, as one of the participants in the group taught computer liter acy. But because the other four teachers did not teach computer literacy, they may have been able to plan modifications in general terms but were excluded both from being ab le to practice planni ng specific lessons tailored to their subjects, and also from providing appropria te feedback to the technology teacher attempting to practice new skills. But even if these changes were made, a one-shot course is not enough. Districts could create a new content-based curriculum for teachers working with ELLs, and use the materials from the trainings to create a body of content-based instructional knowledge that would be made available to teachers to download. Districts could compile ideas for lesson plans into resource books which departme nts in schools could keep for teachers to access. It is simply asking too much of teachers who are already overworked and burdened by ever-increasing paperwork to pr esume that they can research their own specific ways to teach their ELLs in their cl assrooms. In such cases where there is an overwhelming majority of ELL students in a te achers classroom, teachers might modify lessons on a consistent basis, but in cases where only a sma ll minority of students in each class are ELLs, the chances of teachers making su ch an effort decease, and it is the latter case in which most teachers in Florida find themselves. If districts are unable to create such resources and make them readily available, the state could. Money could be used to create focus groups of ESOL staff and regular
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 112 content teachers who could work together in taking the lead in creating these types of resources by grade level and subject. At the very least, the state and distri cts must update instructional materials. Florida districts continue to use most of their materials from the early 1990s. The materials need to be evaluated to determine if they are serving their intended purpose in combination with the considerati on of the entire curriculum. Little effort has been made to update the ESOL teacher training curriculum and the responsibility may lie with political will or a lack thereof. Curriculum is a fluid concept that changes according to a multitude of influences. As Tyack and Cuban argue (1995), watchwords in schools have shifted th eir emphasis from excellence to equality, efficiency to empathy, unity to pluralism a nd then back again. (p. 44). And along with these changes have come various programs of curricula that cater to these paradigm shifts. Any veteran teacher will admit that one fad replaces the next, and it is hard enough keeping track of what districts want teacher s to emphasize from one year to the next. Yet the ESOL teacher training program remains stagnant and unresponsive to policy cycles and trends. One possible explanation is a point I made previously in this study which was that there is a lack of pol itical will to take these type s of programs seriously. Today, ESOL teacher training programs lie at the pe riphery of other programs which are deemed more important. High stakes testing and th e subsequent large emphasis schools now place on reading strategies acquired through pre-packaged skill-based lesson plans now take center stage and result in narrowing our fo cus of other needed reforms (Dorn, 1998).
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 113 Unless a greater urgency affixes itself to thes e programs and the materials used in them, they will remain on the outskirts of policymakers attention. No Meaningful Accountability In all three districts training sessions I a ttended, teachers often a rrived late and left early. In District 1, teachers came 40-45 minutes late on more than one occasion. There was a sign-in sheet in every district, but participants were able to arrive and sign it at any time during the class. On three occasions, I sa w participants signing in and stay for about fifteen minutes and then leave. Many arrived 30 to 45 minutes late, signed in and sat down. Many teachers were also often off-task as they spent time talking among each other and grading their own students classw ork. Other browsed the web on their laptops in the back of the class. In Di strict 1, the participants were often so loud that I thought the trainer should have stopped the discussion a nd regained their atte ntion but he simply talked over or through them. To make matters worse, some participants missed more than the one session that was allowed, claiming a variety of excuses which the trainers invariably accepted. I know of one case in district 2 where a young woman missed four sessions without any consequences. Of course one might justifiably argue that instances of teachers arriving late and leaving early, talking loudly, being off-task and missing multiple sessions is more a reflection of the trainers failure to impose sound classroom management practices than a fundamental flaw in how the trainings were de signed. Nevertheless, th ere appeared to be no mechanism for trainers to hold teachers accountable for their actions other than a
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 114 checklist which was used to determine whethe r participants had satisfactorily completed the course. The checklists partly contributed to a lack of accountability because inevitably the checklist left latitude for teachers to complete tasks any time with little worry that their participation on any single da y would matter. There was neve r a daily graded quiz or any type of high stakes assessment held at any time during the sessions, nor was there any consequence for turning in work late. They simply needed to have everything signed off by the end of the class. Recommendations for improved accountability To bring more rigor to the process, I r ecommend that Florida districts create a set of statewide performance standard s that consists of some form of testing (whether it be weekly quizzes or a pass/fail test at the end the class), or even a holistic assessment approach such as compiling a portfolio of their work. These standards should be published and clearly stated, leav ing no doubt of what is expected of participants. Simply checking off activities leaves too much room for individual trainers to bend the rules as I saw so too often. Once teachers understand that they will be held accountable for what is taught to them, I believe the types of behavior I witnessed will cease, and participants will take the classes more seriously. I mentioned in chapter 2, loosely-coup led bureaucratic systems which allow for degrees of creative insubordination can often be advantag eous (Weick, 1976), but they also allow room for individuals to bend directives to fit local needs to the detriment of those needing reform the most (Haynes & Li cata 1992). For example, all three districts
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 115 managed to shortchange the amount of in-cla ss instructional hours te achers are required to take. Clearly these actions are contrary to what the Decree and state has mandated, yet the practice continues unchecked. More state oversight is needed to ensure that directives are not subverted by local officials. Along with a clearly defined set of performance standards that includes some sort of high st akes test, I recommend the state play a more active role in overseeing its districts ESOL teacher training programs. It is simply not acceptable to claim that districts have met th e requirements for state approval to run these ESOL training programs simply because dist ricts submitted and had their yearly plans approved. One might recall the distinct c oncern trainers and no doubt district coordinators held regarding teachers being audited in their classrooms after they had completed the trainings. I suggest the state ta ke an active role in overseeing these classes after their plans have been submitted by auditing the training sessions themselves! For instance, the state should look into how districts are choosing their trainers. It was not clear what the criteria we re for individuals to become trainers. One of the trainers I observed was an assistant principal at th e time and a fluent Spanish speaker but according to him, had no training in ESOL pedagogy beyond what the district provided him prior to conducting the trai ning. I confirmed this by asking the ESOL coordinator for the particular area he was stationed in. She told me she had trained him personally but it was unclear how comprehensive the training he received was. To avoid these types of circumstances, I suggest trainers be chosen ba sed on a set of prescrib ed qualifications that adhere to acceptable ESOL pedagogical training techniques and are state approved. If these qualifications already exist, then it is the states responsib ility to ensure districts are
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 116 complying with them. Furthermore, there shou ld be a system to evaluate the trainers themselves. I suggest a system be implemented much like that used in universities where student/participants are given evaluation form s to judge trainer/teacher efficacy. Without such a system, trainer competency is judged solely by their immediate superiors who may not be in the position to make objective judgments. Beyond the scope of the trainings per se the state could include an ESOL modification category in the Florida Perfor mance Measurement System (FPMS). FPMS is a rubric principals use to evaluate all Florida teachers during the year). Adding ESOL skills to the FPMS would give principals a wa y to check if teachers were modifying their lesson if ELLs were present in the room, and it would send the message to teachers that the principal can hold them accountable for havi ng a modification system. Participants in the trainings could be made aware of this pos sibility as well, and it may make them more willing to participate. Currentl y, now participants in the tr aining understand that there is no one who will ever check to see they are ma king any modifications after they leave the training, with the exception of a small ch ance that a state auditor will observe a classroom. A companion to the tool for principals would be a forma lized system that allows district ESOL professionals to observe teachers in content classes to evaluate their use of ESOL pedagogy. I have never seen or heard of ESOL district s upervisors, checking instructional practices for ESOL modification, and ESOL experts could supplement the observations of principals and assistant principals.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 117 When teachers understand early on that there is no mechanism for them to be held accountable for ESOL modification, it quickly becomes less of a priority to take an active interest in ESOL-related professional de velopment. To my knowledge, the only accountability measure which checks if teacher s are making modifications is a yearly self-reporting instrument given to them during the year by their schools ESOL coordinator. In Appendix D, I have included an actual checklist given to teachers in one district with identity information reda cted (Anonymous, 2006; Anonymous, 2007). These self-reporting instruments are worthwhile but it is laughable to think that teachers will take the required time to incorporate ELL modifi ed lessons in their cu rriculum if the selfreporting checklist is the only way the districts are holding them accountable. Many of my suggestions may seem punitive versus persuasive, and this would be true. Indeed, the testing component I mentioned coupled with a prescribed set of standards tied to rewards and punishments ma y seem more in line with the approach states have taken under No Child Left Be hind. Yet the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) has expressed strong support for No Child Left Behind, believing as they say that the law will ensure that ELLs academic achievements are taken into account, while providing some flexibility to states in how they are held accountable for helping ELLs (National Council of La Raza News Release ,2006, p.1). The specifics regarding why La Razas has chosen to support NCLB may diff er from mine in many respects but we would both agree perhaps on the need to hold po licymakers, district supervisors, and the trainers accountable. Street-level bureaucrats can not be allowed to bend regulations and
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 118 rules to fit their constitu encies. Persuasion is not an effective tool under such circumstances. Over Emphasis on Cross-Cultural Awareness Of the five areas the state requires when districts teach the Empowerment courses, cross-cultural awareness rece ived the most attention, dominating time as shown by a variety of measurements used in this study. In all three dist ricts, cross-cultural awareness was emphasized to such a degree that it was not until the last three or four sessions that the trainers finally turned to the other four areas; time di stribution meant that workshop leaders taught the main issues associated with applied linguistic, methods, curriculum and assessment in the space of approximately 6-8 hours! Moreover, the treatment of cross-cultural awareness never went past superficial and mundane. For instance, trai ners discussed how various cultures differed in grooming, gestures, health and family ties but never attempted to teach participants how to take these understandings of difference and tailor them to create lesson plans that take advantage of diverse student backgrounds. Mo ll (1992) and Sleeter ( 2005) have written extensively on the importance of using student backgrounds to create thematic units and other types of authentic assessment to eval uate performance, and build on background knowledge, yet none of these ideas ever s eeped into the discussions. Nor did the important subject of how immigrants attempt to assimilate into American culture and the blocked opportunities they face in lieu of todays de-industrialized landscape. Furthermore, the perceptions of race never en tered the discussion in any meaningful way, nor did any discussion of class or gender. In stead, the trainers seemed content to gloss
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 119 over cultures in superficial ways and were content to talk about Japanese wedding ceremonies versus western ones, or the importance of not showing Muslim children the bottoms of shoes. No one would deny the importance of teach ing instructors the relevance of crosscultural awareness. A cross-cultural awarene ss course should be made available to inservice teachers. Today more th an ever, teachers need to be sensitized to appreciate and respect other cultures so they will be more willing to create inclusive lesson plans that activate their students intrinsic interests a nd improve classroom participation and student learning. We should not discourage these types of classes in any way shape or form. I simply want to caution that these cultur e courses should not become the overarching focus of ESOL pedagogical trai ning as it seems to be in th e Empowerment course. If the Empowerment course is to serve as an ove rview course representing each of the five areas related to second language acquisition, then each of those fi ve areas should be equally represented. Yet, I can not suggest or recommend here that districts attempt to equally represent each of the five areas w ithin the framework of one course. I do not subscribe to the notion that one course can ad equately accomplish all th at it is designed to do within the time frame allotted. Instead, I believe the state and districts should eliminate the Empowerment course and create a new model from scratch. Creating a New Model I have no doubt the ESOL professionals in our state would like to see every Category II teacher take all five courses as the elementary, Englis h and language arts do, and should I might add continue to do. But, a five-course requirement for Category II
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 120 teachers would certainly require a greater co mmitment of time and effort and increase what resentment already exists if teachers ha d to take considerably more hours than is required at present. What I recommend then is to prioritize the curr iculum for this group in such a way that emphasizes the critical aspects of instruction which teachers desperately need. A curriculum and materials course is an essential component that can not and should not be watered down. Teachers need concrete tools they can apply in the classroom. This was a suggestion voiced by par ticipants, the trainers themselves and even the head ESOL coordinator in District 2 s west region. Teachers should have 60 hours of instruction in curriculum and materials as well as another 60 hours in methods. Within this 120 hour framework, trainers should incorporate the othe r three areas where appropriate. For example, it would not be di fficult to introduce cross-cultural awareness during a curriculum and methods course because the two are inherently intertwined. It strikes me as odd that cross-cult ural awareness is taught separa tely as if it was an island onto itself. Curriculum modified for English language learners is at its heart crossculturally sensitive. This is true also for assessment and linguistics which also can and should not be separated from a curriculum course. Some might claim that it is already difficult to ask many in-service teachers to take the 60 hour Empowerment course let al one a course with double the hours. Yet I mentioned in Chapter 2 that one of the chief architects of the consen t decree, Peter Roos has bemoaned the fact that the state consider s teachers to be adequately trained after only 60 hours of taking Empowerment. Instead he ha s argued that only those who have the full
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 121 300 hours should be considered adequately prepar ed. If we are to take what he says as valuable advice, then the 120 hours I am reco mmending should be vi ewed as a necessary burden. Once the 120 hours of specific curriculu m and methods instruction is made available, policymakers and district official s then need to provid e teachers specific and targeted resources. This means giving them r ealistic activities that can be used in the classrooms after they leave these trainings. It is not useful to be spe nding time in lectures on obscure subjects I witnessed in the trainings such as the lin ear nature of English versus parallel constructions found in Semitic discourse, or having a group present to the class the main arguments embedded in the Supreme Court decision Plyer v. Doe (1982) which struck down a state statute denying funding fo r education to children who were illegal immigrants. These are interesting subjects but take precious time away from other information more crucial for teachers to obtai n in a short period of time. A curriculum / material and methods course w ould bring the focus back to th e tangible and pragmatic. One must remember that the point behind providing teachers with practical tools is to help them improve the way they teach ELLs. As I mentioned in Chapter 1, ELLs in Florida generally continue to do poorly in school on achievement indicators and their drop-out rates remain unacceptably high. By improving instruction for these children teachers are doing their part to ensure that th ese children have better opportunities to stay in school and prepare for college. Empathy and sensitivity are important components of instruction when working with ELLs, but just as important is the acknowledgement that these trainings should be providi ng teachers with realistic, ev eryday strategies that they
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 122 can carry into the classroom so that the student themselves are achieving at levels appropriate to their pa rticular circumstances. Yet any change in policy must be accomp anied by a sincere effort on the part of policymakers to communicate with teachers why there are good reasons for taking these courses. If teachers buy into the idea that districts are providing them with needed resources, the policy will carry more authority, and teachers will be more apt to support them (Floden, 1987). Even so, the state and dist ricts should offer incentives or rewards to teachers who complete the 120 hours. As it stands now, teachers who take the Empowerment course are offered nothing. I recommend that districts offer teachers a stipend for taking the 120 course based on similar hourly rates teacher s receive in the hundreds of workshops taken during yearly summer breaks. To fail to offer a financial incentive is tantamount to saying that we expect teachers to make sacrifices but do not value their effort enough to compensate for it. Teachers are savvy people and may conclude that if a commitment is not made to reward their effort, then they in turn will not take a vested interest in ESOL related professional development.. The idea of providing money to teachers who participate in professional development programs is not new. A study c onducted in 1988 surveyed teachers in the District of Columbia public school system a nd found that teachers be lieved a stipend was necessary to increase involvement and ta king professional development courses during the summer was seen more positively than taking them after school in the evenings (Holmes et al., 1988). Teachers in the study supported released time where teachers could
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 123 take professional development classes during the week while substitutes covered their classes. The same study also found that te achers were enthusiastic about receiving college credit for their participation in the trai nings. In line with this, I would also suggest that districts in the State of Florida form stronger partnerships between their local universities and professional development ESOL teacher tr aining programs. One such program is the partnership between California State University at Fresno and Balderas Elementary which offers reduced tuition cred it to teachers who might seek a degree in the universitys masters program (Tellez & Waxman, 2005). I should note that the State of Florida did at one time have a system in which universities partnered with districts to assist in training and teachers were provided stipends as well as college credit for particip ation in training classes. After the consent decree was signed in Florida, it was the univers ities who initially delivered the ESOL inservice training classes in most districts. For instance, the University of South Florida operated a program during that period cal led MERIT or Multicultural Educational Resources, Information and Training. The progr am screened trainers, provided syllabi, and helped districts with training and development. The Un iversity also assisted in training teachers through an intensive two-week institute held during the summers where they received stipends for part icipation. Over time, the district which partnered with the University of South Florida looked to pe ople who completed the training to run the trainings internally and this trend woul d recur throughout the st ate (Evans, personal communication, July10, 2008).
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 124 The pattern of districts in Florida essen tially going-it-alone in recent years is unfortunate as ESOL departments in Florid a universities have an endless wealth of resources which should be tapped as they on ce were. The state and local districts should once again consider returning to the past system of working closely with universities and offer teachers financial incentives as well as colle ge credit. Indeed, it is not as if there are not enough resources available to provide teach ers with incentives and support to take these trainings seriously. Bu t to do so, policymakers must prioritize ESOL professional development. In the end, much of the responsibility to ga rner this support lies with district administrators. On this topic, another study conducted in 2002 concluded that Highly skilled administrators demonstrated a higher level of resourcefulness in developing greater levels of capacity for their districts (Turchi, Johnson, Owens & Montgomery, 2002, p.16). Administrators did this by securing money from state grants, Title I funds, and private donations and by prio ritizing their own spending procedures to make room for district professional deve lopment programs. Undoubtedly, there are many district administrators here in Florida with these same skills mentioned in the study Yet while one county school board I am familiar with has accepted millions of dollars from programs such as the Gates Foundation, they still are unable or unwilling to find the money to compensate teachers financially for attending the ESOL teacher training programs. One wonders what message this beha vior sends to teachers who must sacrifice their time and money to attend these classes with nothing in return except the knowledge that they have completed the course within the required two years of being hired and will, therefore, be able to rene w their teaching license. And while this may be a powerful
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 125 incentive to make teachers attend these course s, it is in no way one which could ever hope to encourage meaningful participation. Summary of Study The purpose of this study was to determ ine the overall efficacy of Floridas approach to ESOL in-service teacher tr aining programs. Using a mixed methods approach, over a five-month period I quantita tively and qualitatively recorded my own observations and teacher participant perceptions as well as those I interviewed from three separate district training cla sses over a five month period. The overall results generally painted a negative picture of how these trainings were conceived, designed and conducted. A number of themes emerged from the data which I believe served to answer my original research questions. The first question asked if th e ESOL in-service district training sessions adequately c over the five main content area s the state requires, and the findings showed that only the area cross-cu ltural awareness received a satisfactory treatment and if anything the area may ha ve been overemphasized. My second question asked what the perceptions of teachers were in terms of the coverage, depth, and utility of in-service district training sessions, and here the responses were almost overwhelmingly negative. Both this researcher and the teacher s I interviewed expressed dismay that there had been a lack of follow-up on topics raised in the courses which had been reinforced by a check-it-off mentality that seemed to pervade the sessions. There was as well a sense that the trainings were not realistic or what teachers needed in a practical sense.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 126 The notion that the classes were not pract ical arose from the observation that too much time was spent on games, reading text -in class, listening pa ssively to powerpoint lectures and having to skim through outdated materials. In one of my recommendations, I suggested that trainers cons ider grouping teachers by subj ect area and grade level and provide content-based materials which are m odified to ELLs. These materials could then be made accessible to teachers on the internet, or at the school level. I also strongly recommended the districts update their materials. I furthermore found from my observations and interview responses that there was a lack of teacher accountability in these tr ainings as many of th em would leave early, arrive late, talk loudly and be off task. I s uggested the state consider creating a system of statewide performance standard s. I also suggested the stat e consider creating a way for principals to record ESOL lesson modificat ions on the FPMS and suggested that ESOL administrators be given the green light to do walk-throughs on a spontaneous basis with a resulting observation record. Finally I called for replacing Empowerment courses altogether with a 120 hour curriculum / material methods course, which w ould then incorporate the other three areas, (linguistics, cross-cultural awareness and assessment) into the course. I cautioned, however, that districts should still consider retaining cultur e courses as it is crucial teachers become sensitized to other cultures, va lues and beliefs. To get teachers involved and participate meaningfully, I suggested that districts communicate with teachers the reasons why they should take such classes a nd offer financial and professional incentives and a way to receive college credit.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 127 Reforming the way ESOL teacher training programs are implemented will take more than good ideas and effort. It will requi re a willingness on the part of policymakers to take a vested interest in making sure thes e programs are as good as they deserve to be. Too often bureaucrats place a greater emphasis on stability and traditional procedures (Larson & Ovando, 2001) and remain unwilling to reevaluate the relationships which exist between those in the dominant class a nd those who seek equity (Cummings, 2001). I am afraid this may be the case here in Florida. The state has used the ESOL teacher training programs as a way to justify its policy of mainstreaming children for close to 20 years now, and yet year after year too many of these children fall through the cracks of our system, destined to be wage earners and fodder for the post-industrial age. The ESOL bureaucracy in Florida continues to represent an iron cage that remains entrenched and, in my view, a major impediment to reform. It is ironic that the ve ry institution which was created to bring reform to the thousands of ELLs who required help in the early 1990s is the same one that may be standing in the way of needed reform some two decades later. There are a variety of different instructi onal methods that exist to teach ELLs. The ESOL model widely used in Florida is but one. Other models such as dual-language or two-way immersion programs exist by the hundr eds in states such as Arizona, New Mexico, California, and Connec ticut, including nine schools ri ght here in Florida (Center for Applied Linguistics, 2007). There are al so a growing number of programs called newcomer academies which are usually self-con tained schools that operate in secondary schools and serve ELLs for the duration of the day. They are designed to provide a crash course in English but also offer sheltered instruction in content classes which enables
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 128 students to earn credits and avoid falling behind (Short, 1998). Many schools also operate sheltered content classes within their school s where ELL students are clustered together into regular content classes a nd teachers are trained to us e a variety of visual aids, physical activities and the environment to teach content (Freeman, 1988). With so many interesting and excitin g programs available to policymakers perhaps the state and local dist ricts should begin to consider that while the ESOL model may be effective in certain schools and in certain circumstances, ot her models mentioned above can be just as effective. The state s hould look at providing compensatory programs for ELLs through a variety of ways rather than the cookie-cutter approach it has until now undertaken. During the course of this study I came up against numerous roadblocks created by local ESOL district administrators. In one large district I observe d, every trainer except one refused to let me observe their training session, though I assured them of their anonymity through an approved protocol. The head of the districts ESOL department in that particular district was polite but extremely unhelpful, and if I had not known certain individuals in certain departments, there is a question whether I c ould have conducted my study at all. It is clear to me now why they were so reluctant to let me in, must know that their system of traini ng is in dire need of reform. In the end, the complacent approach policymakers have shown toward a program that deserves greater attention cannot continue indefinitely, and my sense is that the changing demographic nature of our school age population will force policymakers to reevaluate their priorities. Until that time, however, the status quo cannot and must not continue to exist, and yet it does year after
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 129 year to the detriment of everyone who has a stake in seeking meani ngful reform. It is high time to ask ourselves whether we are tr uly living up to the sp irit of the consent decree as it was intended some twenty years ago, or whether we will continue to be satisfied to go through the bureaucratic moti ons, which seem to sustain and benefit the livelihood of everyone except those who matter the most our nations children.
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EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 146 Appendices
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 147 Appendix A Scoring Rubric Used in Observations of In-Service District ESOL Training Sessions According to Floridas Department of Educa tion in the Office of Academic Achievement Through Language Acquisition (OAALA), Categor y II Instructors social studies, mathematics, science and computer literacy, as well as counselors and administrators are required to complete three semester hours, or 60 in-service credit points in order to receive the endorsement in English to Speakers of Other Languages. The five areas required by the State of Florida to be cove red for the endorsement are listed below. #1. METHODS OF TEACHING ESOL #2. APPLIED LINGUISTICS #3. ESOL CURRICULUM ACROSS CONTENT AREAS #4. ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION #5. CROSS-CULTURAL AWARENESS
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 148 Appendix A (Continued) Scoring Guide 0= (Zero) Trainer does not discuss topi c / no coverage whatsoever 1= (Brief) Trainer very briefly menti ons topic / cursory coverage 2= (Minimal) Discusses topic but does not go beyond superficial explanation and offers little tim e for practice either indepe ndently or collaboratively 3= (Fair) Discusses topic somewhat in dept h and offers teachers limited opportunities to practice what has been taught either independently or collaboratively 4= (In depth) Discusses topic in depth. Trainer foll ows up with instruction that ensures understanding by giving ample time to teachers to work independently and collaboratively. Teachers are then given a chance to apply what they learned in a meaningful way 5= (Superior) Trainer discusses topic in depth, al lows for ample time to practice both independently and collaboratively a nd returns to topic often and in different contexts to ensure understa nding. Teachers are given a chance to apply what they learned in a meaningful way.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 149 Appendix A (Continued) On the following pages are a lis t of indicators that served to generate the scores. The indicators are grouped by each of the five gene ral areas trainers are to cover according to Florida State guidelines. The indicators we re created based on cross-referencing and choosing the common elements found among the Floridas English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Competencies and Skills. 11th Ed., the Florida Performance Standards for Teachers of Englis h for Speakers of Other Languages and the textbook Empowering ESOL Teachers: An Overview Volume I and II which districts provide inservice teachers in the 60 hour Category II training sessions.
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 150 Appendix A (Continued) Indicators for Area #1. applied linguistics 1a. The trainer discusses knowledge of language principals such as phonology, and semantics and discusses first and second language acquisition theories as well as issues related to literacy development (Compete ncies 1, 2, 8 Standard s 5, 6, 9, 10 Textbook sections 5, 6, 7). Indicator #1. Identifies concepts and characteristics of phonology, morphology, semantics and syntax as they relate to language acquisition a. ___ final average score (I.1) ___ b. ___ score 1 c. ___ Indicator #2. Identifies and compares th e sociolinguistic lang uage functions of social and regional varieties of English and identifies historical processes that influenced development of English language a. ___ final average score (I.2) ___ b. ___ score 2 c. ___ Indicator #3. Identifies the principals, ch aracteristics and terminology of first and second language acquisition theories (e.g., Krashens na tural order hypot hesis, the input hypothesis, language experience appr oach, the psycholinguistic model, and whole language instruction) a. ___ final average score (I.3) ___ b. ___ score 3 c. ___ Indicator #4. Identifies factors influenc ing, and characteristics of, bilingualism a. ___ final average score (I.4) ___ b. ___ score 4 c. ___ Indicator #5. Identifies different types and stages of second language acquisition a. ___ final average score (I.5) ___ b. ___ score 5 c. ___ Indicator #6. Identifies the influence of cognitive, affective, and social factors on second language acquisition a. ___ final average score (I.6) ___ b. ___ score 6 c. ___ Indicator #7. Identifies the different stages associated with literacy a. ___ c.___ final average score (I.7) ___ b. ___ score 7
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 151 Appendix A (Continued) Indicators for Area #2. methods of teaching ESOL 2a. Trainer identifies instructi onal methods and strategic strategies that promote second language acquisition through cont ent-area instruction (Com petency 6 Standards 6, 7, 11textbook sections 5, 6, 7, 8). Indicator #1. Identifies metacognitive, cognitive, and socioaffective strategies (e.g., Total Physical Response for begi nning stages, the natural approach, communicative approaches and language experience approach) a. ___ final average score (II.1) ___ b. ___ score 8 c. ___ Indicator #2. Identifies appropriate ES OL strategies and modifications for content-based instruction for various prof iciency levels (e.g., includes instruction for the elementary, middle and high schools) a. ___ final average score (II.2) ___ b. ___ score 9 c. ___ Indicator #3. Recognizes ma jor leaders in the field of ESOL methodology and important instructional a pproaches to language theo ries as found in language education professional organizations and major professional pub lications related to ESOL a. ___ final average score (II.3) ___ b. ___ score 10 c. ___ Indicator #4. Applies essen tial strategies for developi ng and integrating the four language skills of listening comprehe nsion, oral communi cation, reading and writing and provides examples (e.g., bu ilding background knowledge, scaffolding instruction, before, during, and after read ing and writing strategies, cooperative group work) a. ___ final average score (II.4) ___ b. ___ score 11 c. ___ Indicator #5. Identifies methods for de veloping literacy for ELLs with limited literacy in their first language a. ___ final average score (II.5) ___ b. ___ score 12 c. ___ Indicator #6. Identifies content-based strategies for creating a multicultural curriculum that is inclusive of diverse populations a. ___ b. ___ c.___ final average score (II.6) ___
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 152 Appendix A (Continued) Indicators for Area #3. ESOL curriculum across content areas 3a. Trainer discusses knowledge of curriculum, curriculum materials and resources (Competency 4 Standards 8, 9, 12, 15, 16, 22textbook sections 6, 7, 8). Indicator #1. Identifies appropriate curricular adaptations acc ording to language proficiency in listening, speaking, readi ng and writing taking into account basic interpersonal communicative skills (B ICS) and cognitive academic language proficiency skills (CALP) a. ___ final aver age score (III.1) ___ b. ___ score 14 c. ___ Indicator #2. Identifies supplemental res ources that address cultural, ethnic and linguistic differences including ones that increase comprehension of text and context for ELLs a. ___ final aver age score (III.2) ___ b. ___ score 15 c. ___ Indicator #3. Identifies appropriate instructional technology (e.g., computerassisted language learning (CALL), co mmercially available ESOL software) a. ___ final aver age score (III.3) ___ b. ___ score 16 c. ___ Indicator #4. Identifies e xperiential and interactive literacy activities for ELL students by matching instructional appro aches with language theories (e.g., semantic mapping, TPR, language experience approach) a. ___ final aver age score (III.4) ___ b. ___ score 17 c. ___ Indicator #5. Identifies content-based ESOL approaches to inst ruction (e.g., using the CALLA Approach, creating both content and linguistic objective in the creation of lesson plans, employi ng differentiated instruction) a. ___ final aver age score (III.5) ___ b. ___ score 18 c. ___
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 153 Indicator #6. Adapt items from school curricula to cultural and linguistic differences of Florida s ELL population (e.g., projects that use resources of community and students home life) a. ___ final aver age score (III.6) ___ b. ___ score 19 c. ___
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 154 Appendix A (Continued) Indicators for Area #4. cross-cultural awareness 4a. The trainer identifies, exposes, and reexamines cultural stereotypes relating to ELLs and uses knowledge of Floridas cultural characteristics to enhance instruction (Competency 3 Standards 2, 3, 4, 18 textbook sections 3, 4). Indicator #1. Trainer app lies ethnolinguistic and cr oss-cultural knowledge to classroom management techniques a. ___ final average score (IV.1) ___ b. ___ score 20 c. ___ Indicator #2. Trainer identif ies political and social trends that affected the education of ELLs including legal precedents and federal laws a. ___ final average score (IV.2) ___ b. ___ score 21 c. ___ Indicator #3. Identifies teacher behaviors that indicate sensitivity to cultural and linguistic differences a. ___ final average score (IV.3) ___ b. ___ score 22 c. ___ Indicator #4. Identifies different socio linguistic language functions (e.g., formal, informal, conversational), and culture-sp ecific, non-verbal communications (e.g, gesture, facial expressions, and eye contact) a. ___ final average score (IV.4) ___ b. ___ score 23 c. ___ Indicator #5. Identifies levels of cultu ral adaptation and ways participation, adjustment and learning can be affected by cultural differences a. ___ final average score (IV.5) ___ b. ___ score 24 c. ___ Indicator #6. Identifies ways to lear n about students cu lture to enhance understanding and be able to plan appropriate lessons a. ___ final average score (IV.6) ___ b. ___ score 25 c. ___
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 155 Appendix A (Continued) Indicators for Area #5. assessment and Evaluation 5a. Trainer discusses knowledge of assessment focusing on ev aluation of instructional outcomes that recognize the effects of race, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and religion on the results (Competency 9 Standards 14, 15, 19, 20 textbook section 9). Indicator #1. Identifies appropriate al ternative Assessments that measure ELL performance (e.g. authentic assessmen t in the form of portfolios) a. ___ final average score (V.1) ___ b. ___ score 26 c. ___ Indicator #2. Design appropria te tests for assessing progress and achievement of ELLs by constructing ESOL listening, sp eaking, reading and writing test items a. ___ final average score (V.2) ___ b. ___ score 27 c. ___ Indicator #3. Identify examples of cu ltural and linguistic bias in tests a. ___ final average score (V.3) ___ b. ___ score 28 c. ___ Indicator #4. Identify Statewide assessment data as well as district and school based data to inform teacher deci sions about placement and progress a. ___ final average score (V.4) ___ b. ___ score 29 c. ___ Indicator #5. Adapt content-area tests to ESOL levels appropriate to ELL students a. ___ final average score (V.5) ___ b. ___ score 30 c. ___
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 156 Appendix A (Continued) It was necessary to make a table showing wher e the scoring indicators fall within the text used by trainers in the sessions in order to better locate where partic ular coverage areas could be found. For example, the coverage area METHODS can be found in sections 5, 6, and 7 in the text. Below is the guide the researcher created to assist him in scoring more reliably. Guide to locating Indicators in text/sessions METHODS CURRICULU M LINGUISTICS CROSSCULTURAL AWARENESS ASSESSMENT SECTION 1 SECTION 2 #2 SECTION 3 #1, #3, #4, #6, #7 SECTION 4 SECTION 5 #1, #4, #5 #1, #3, #4, #5, #7 SECTION 6 #4, #7 #4 #1, #3 SECTION 7 #4 #4 #2, #6 SECTION 8 #1, #2, #6 #1, #3, #5 SECTION 9 # 1 5 SECTION 10 SECTION 11 SECTION 12
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 157 Appendix B Questionnaire for Florida In-Service ESOL District Training Participants I am conducting a study which is intended to evaluate Floridas district inservice ESOL training programs. Your views regarding your recent participation in this training are a critical part of this evaluation In order to ensure this occurs, I would like to ask you to take a moment to answer the following brief survey and 30 questions Answering these questions is voluntary. Your re sponses will be kept confidential When you are done please place the questionna ire in the self-addressed, prestamped envelope and mail it back to me. Thank you. I very much appreciate your cooperation! Contact: Ronald D. Simmons, Jr. University of South Florida Doctoral Candidate College of Education 2007 Phone: (813) -857-5175 Return Information: Ronald D. Simmons 4703 Bay Vista Ave. Tampa, Fl. 33611
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 158 Appendix B (Continued) Survey administered to participants at end of sessions Please state your age _____ How many years of experience do you have teaching? _____ What is your race/ethnicity? _______________________________________________________ What is you first language? ________________________________ What is the content area in whic h you are certified to teach? ______________________________ Would you characterize your school as havi ng a large number of English language learners, an average number or a small number? _______________________________________ What was your major in college/university? ______________________________ What was your most recent degree? __________________________________ Scoring Guide: Scores refer to the trainers overa ll coverage of material in the sessions you attended 0 = (Zero) no coverage whatsoever 1 = (Brief) very briefly mentioned topic 2 = (Minimal) minimal coverage and had little time to practice topic 3 = (Fair) discussed topic and offered some time to practice but did not teach for understanding 4 = (In depth) topic discussed in depth offers time to practice independently and collaboratively taught for understanding 5 = (Superior) topic discussed in depth ample time to practice teachers allowed to apply what they learned in a meaningful way
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 159 Appendix B (Continued) A.) cross-cultural awareness To what extent did the trainer 1. Identify teacher behaviors that demonstrate sensitivity to cultural and linguistic differences? Score:_____ 2. Apply cross-cultural knowledge to classroom management techniques? Score:_____ 3. Identify social-language functions (form al, non-formal) and culture specific, nonverbal communication (e.g., gesture, facial expressions, eye contact)? Score:_____ 4. Identify ways to learn about student cultures to enhance understanding and better plan lessons? Score:_____ 5. Identify political and social trends that affect English language learners including legal precedents and federal laws? Score:_____ 6. Identify levels of student adaptation, learning, and adjustment that can be affected by cultural differences? Score:_____
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 160 Appendix B (Continued) B.) methods of Teaching ESOL To what extent did the trainer 7. Identify the use of various cognitive strategies such as the natural approach or language experience approach? Score:_____ 8. Identify appropriate ESOL stra tegies for content-based instru ction for various proficiency levels? Score:_____ 9. Apply essential strategies fo r developing language skills such as listening comprehension, reading and writing? Score:_____ 10. Recognize major leaders in the field of ESOL methodology and approaches to language theory found in professional organizations and publications? Score:_____ 11. Identify methods for developing literacy fo r English language lear ners with limited literacy skills in their first language? Score:_____ 12. Identify content-based strategies for creating a multicultural curriculum? Score:_____
EFFICACY OF FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS 161 Appendix B (continued) C.) ESOL curriculum Across Content-Areas To what extent did the trainer 13. Identify ways to adapt curriculum according to language proficiency in listening, listening, speaking and writing? Score:_____ 14. Identify supplemental resources that address cultural differences? Score:_____ 15. Identify appropriate uses of technology including media to assist in instruction? Score:_____ 16. Identify interactive and experiential liter acy activities such as semantic mapping (venn-diagrams), total physical response, and cooperative learning activities? Score:_____ 17. Identify content-based ESOL approaches to instructi on? Score:_____ 18. Adapt items from school curricula to cultural differences of Floridas English language population (e.g., projects that make use of resources from the students home life and community)? Score:_____
Appendix B (Continued) D.) applied linguistics To what extent did the trainer 19. Identify concepts and characteristics of pho nology, morphology, semantics and syntax related to language acquisition? Score:_____ 20. Identify historical and sociolinguistic language functions of English? Score:_____ 21. Identify the principals and characteristics of first and second language acquisition (e.g., Krashens natural order hypothesis the input hypothesis) Score:_____ 22. Identify factors influencing, and characteristics of, bilingualism? Score:_____ 23. Identify different types and stages of second language acquisition? Score:_____ 24. Identify the cognitive and social factors on second language acquisition? Score:_____ 25. Identify the different stages associated with lite racy? Score:_____
Appendix B (Continued) E.) assessment and Evaluation To what extent did the trainer 26. Identify appropriate alternative Assessment s that measure English language learners performance (e.g., authentic assessment in the form of portfolios)? Score:_____ 27. Design appropriate tests for assessing achievement by constructing ESOL listening, speaking, reading, and writing test items? Score:_____ 28. Identify examples of cultural and linguistic bias in tests? Score:_____ 29. Identify state, district and school based data to inform teacher decisions about placement and progress? Score:_____ 30. Adapt tests to ESOL levels appropriate to English language learners? Score:_____
Appendix C Closed-Response Interview Protocol Question 1 Describe your educational background and how long you have been teaching? Question 2 Describe the school where you work? What percentage of the students are English language learners? Do you have English language learners in your classroom? If yes, describe any issues you had to confront due to the presence of ELLs in your classroom? Question 3 Of the five areas the trainer covered: Cro ss-cultural awareness, linguistics, methods, ESOL curriculum and assessment, which do you th ink was covered to th e greatest extent? Question 4 Was there any part of the tr aining that you felt was overempha sized and could have been covered in less time? Question 5 Was there any part of the tr aining that you felt should have been given more attention? Question 6 Is there anything you would change a bout the training or do differently? Question 7 During the training did you have enough chan ce to practice what you learned in groups collaboratively? Question 8 How would you describe the usefulness of the training to you as a teacher? Question 9 Can you describe how adequately the traini ng prepared you to instruct ELLs in your classroom?
Appendix C (Continued) Question 10 Can you describe how you may or may not use what you learned in th e training in your classroom? Question 11 To what extent do you think Floridas approach to preparing teachers to instruct English language learners is effective? Question 12 Were the materials used in the training useful to you and di d you read through the materials thoroughly or skim through them?
Appendix D The following three pages are the actual ESOL Self-Reporting Checklist Used by one of the districts I observed (see pages 173 & 174).
About the Author Ronald D. Simmons, Jr. is a doctoral candi date at the College of Education at the University of South Florida. He has coau thored an entry in the Praeger Handbook of American Schools and been inducte d in the Eleventh Edition of Whos Who Among American Teachers, 2006-2007, The National Deans List 2006-2007 and is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society. Mr. Simmons presently t eaches a social foundations course at the University of South Florida a nd continues to teach hi story full time at a large urban Title I high school. Mr. Simmons experience living in Japan prior to returning to college as a graduate student, coupled with time spent working in a Title I school has served to ferment a strong passion for social justice in American public education. Mr. Simmons hopes to continue his research and teaching in the future.
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Simmons, Ronald D.
The efficacy of Florida's approach to in-service English speakers of other languages teacher training programs
h [electronic resource] /
by Ronald D. Simmons.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 161,  pages.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: Much of how Florida and other states across the country justify the practice of mainstreaming English language learners into regular content classrooms rests on the premise that with the guidance of state officials, local school districts adequately train content teachers to work with English language learners. Yet little to no research exists that can help identify and analyze the overall efficacy of these programs. Consequently, this study has attempted to determine whether district training sessions in Florida are sufficiently covering the state-mandated content areas that teachers are required to learn and to what extent in-service teachers agree or disagree that they received the appropriate amount of instruction that would prepare them to instruct English language learners. Training sessions in three large Florida school districts with high proportions of English language learners were studied using a mixed-methods approach that gathered quantitative and qualitative data from observations, surveys and in-depth interviews. Among other things, the findings revealed a pattern of districts overemphasizing cross-cultural awareness issues to the detriment of other critical areas teachers need to know such as methods and curriculum. In addition, there was a general consensus on the part of participants that the trainings lacked specificity and were both impractical and redundant. A number of specific recommendations are offered such as ways to modify the focus of the curriculum, provide incentives to teachers, and create more accountability and oversight of the training sessions themselves. Policymakers are strongly urged to prioritize these types of programs by providing training sessions with more resources and attaching to them a larger sense of importance.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Advisor: Barbara Shircliffe, Ph.D.
English language learners
Limited English proficient
x Psychological and Social Foundations
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.