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126. Reimagining Professional Development for Teachers of ELLs
Episode 12610th May 2024 • Equipping ELLs • Beth Vaucher, ELL, ESL Teachers
00:00:00 00:19:58

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A recent survey showed that 84% of teachers find their school-provided PD is lacking in relevance or applicability.

In this episode of the Equipping ELLs Podcast, we delve into the pressing issue of ineffective professional development for educators. Highlighting the concerning decline in certified ELL teachers despite a growing student population, we examine the crucial need for targeted and practical training. In this episode, host Beth Vaucher dives into 5 ways schools can make PD so much better. By advocating for personalized, collaborative, and hands-on approaches, we pave the way for a paradigm shift in PD, empowering ELL educators to thrive in their classrooms and beyond.

Listen in for an exciting new resource from Inspiring Young Learners and Equipping ELLs (and a coupon code to save you big)! We believe teachers who are well-equipped have students who succeed!



Welcome to another episode of Equipping ELLs!

In a recent survey we sent out, 84% of our teachers said that the PD provided by their school was not helpful, applicable, or practical.

ch year, from the school year:

In california, the state with the highest population of ELLs, the majority of teachers are only receiving training specifically about ELLs 1 time in 5 years.


But if we look at the money, according to an Education Week article he U.S. Department of Education awarded nearly $120 million in professional development grants for improving instruction for English learners.

We know teaching ELLs really comes down to mindset shifts and small changes that make a big difference, so how can we do that through the PD in our schools?

Stop doing one size fits all PD

Pay teachers to provide the PD

Don't overpaying "experts" who are really just selling a program

Make it practical and give teachers time to apply it.

Respect the knowledge of your teachers and give them time to collaborate together as PD or time to observe other teachers in action

Flip PD- purchase an online course for teachers to go through over the summer and then have application groups when school begins.

Welcome to Equipping ELLs, the place where we dive deep into the world of education, bringing to light the issues that matter most to teachers and administrators. I'm Beth Vaucher, and today we're talking about a hot topic that affects nearly every educator: professional development, or PD as we often call it. Now, you might think PD is just another box to check in the busy educational landscape, but recent feedback from our listeners—yes, you educators out there—suggests there's much more to discuss.

Segment 1: The Problem with One-Size-Fits-All

Let's start with a startling statistic from a recent survey we conducted: 84% of teachers said the PD provided by their school was not helpful, applicable, or practical. That's a vast majority crying out for change. So, what’s wrong with the one-size-fits-all approach? Simply put, it doesn't take into account the varied experiences, skills, and needs of individual teachers. Imagine being in a workshop that’s either too advanced or too basic. Not very helpful, is it?

Segment 2: Empowering Teachers to Lead

Moving on, let’s talk about empowering teachers to lead PD. Why not tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience that our teachers have? Compensating teachers to develop and deliver PD could transform the experience from mundane to inspirational. It promotes a sense of ownership and relevance. After all, who better to teach educators than their own peers?

Segment 3: Evaluating the Experts

But what about the experts we often bring in? Sure, external perspectives can be refreshing, but they can also be costly. And sometimes, these experts are more focused on selling their programs than enhancing our teaching practices. It’s time to critically evaluate the benefit of these sessions and ensure they bring real value to our classrooms.

Segment 4: Practical Applications and Collaborative Learning

Now, let’s pivot to something crucial—making PD practical. It's not just about sitting through a presentation; it’s about engagement, application, and collaboration. How about providing time during PD sessions for teachers to collaborate and immediately apply what they've learned? This hands-on approach could lead to more dynamic and effective learning experiences.

Segment 5: Flipping Professional Development

Lastly, let’s discuss an innovative idea: Flipping PD. This model involves teachers engaging with learning materials over the summer and then applying them in collaborative groups when school begins. It’s about continuous learning and application, not just a day out of the calendar. This approach could revolutionize how we think about PD timing and engagement.


As we wrap up today's episode, it’s clear that professional development needs a major overhaul. It’s not just about providing training; it’s about fostering an environment where teachers feel supported and engaged in their growth. Let’s rethink PD to make it something that every teacher looks forward to and benefits from.

Thank you for tuning in to Equipping ELLs. Don’t forget to subscribe and join us next time as we continue to explore the challenges and triumphs in education. Until then, keep inspiring and keep teaching!

At the end of the day, the best change and support happens from leadership inside individual schools or districts. This is what will provide the best support when those leaders know their teachers and students, and find exactly what they need.

If you are looking for this kind of support, we have just recently launch a brand new pd platform called pathways to proficiency. In it, you'll find bite size pd teaching that covers your most asked questions like what do I do to begin teaching a newcomer? We are taking all our knowledge and adding in experience to give you something brand new and easy to implement right away. Find out more at and use the code podcast to save 30%. Don't delay though, this coupon expires soon!





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