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The TTC’s NEW International EAL Certificate Program

By Gini Rojas

Why it’s so important?
As the demography of international schools continues to shift from English-language ex-pat students to national or international students with home languages other than English, it is apparent that so too must past EAL philosophies, policies, and practices. Historically, in international-schools around the globe, the provision of program services for English learners has been overwhelmingly medical in nature; that is, separate programs designed with specialists hired to ‘fix’ English learners. The underlying premise of such programs is that students’ lack of English proficiency is an obstacle which needs to be overcome before they can participate in mainstream classrooms; that is the ‘language-as- problem’ perspective. A differing perspective – that of ‘language-as-resource’ – focuses on what assets English learners bring to classrooms and as their numbers increase the often-heard mantra of “every teacher is an English teacher’ needs to become a reality.
A widespread call for ‘inclusion’ has become popular. In the U.S., inclusion is defined as “the art or practice of including students with learning disabilities in regular school programs” which absolutely is necessary. This call is also used to refer to English learners, and though many educators think of learning support and English learners as one and the same population, the reality is that they are not and that indeed only 8% of English learners can also have a learning need.
The time has come for international schools to distinguish between ‘inclusion’ vs. ‘immersion’ for English learners. Immersion is “an approach to second language instruction in which the curriculum is conducted in the second language. This means that the new language is the medium of instruction as well as the object of instruction.” Immersion is a widely-accepted and effective way for educating second language students, but it requires that all teachers are trained. Rather than pull out English learners for compensatory services, classroom teachers need to be positioned as teacher leaders to ensure that all classrooms are responsive learning environments for English learners.
Such is the intent of the TTC International EAL certification program.
4 March - 11 May: Curriculum and Assessment for English Learners (online)
25-29 June: Teaching EAL in the Mainstream (onsite in Rome!)
1 October - 18 December: English Language, Linguistics and Learning (online)

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