Most educators start their connection to the TELL Project with a familiarization of the Teacher Effectiveness for Language Learning Framework. They then move among the other components based on their interests and needs. For example, some may want to gain a deeper understanding of the general and world language education literature that supports why the criteria were chosen for inclusion in the TELL Framework and how they correlate to other nationally recognized frameworks. Some may choose to use the self-assessment tools to take stock of their current practice and to determine future areas of growth. Others may elect to use the suite of classroom feedback tools to gather information about their own teaching from colleagues.
Below are five different scenarios illustrating how the TELL Framework and its tools might be used to enhance understanding of what it means to be an effective language teacher.
The district curriculum supervisor wanted to provide more meaningful, focused and individualized professional development for her world language teachers—professional development that was rooted in unquestionable best practice. Using TELL as her principal resource she organized a plan to (1) help her teachers better understand what it means to be an effective world language teacher, (2) assess their current practice against the criteria for the model world language teacher, (3) determine for themselves their top priority growth areas for the coming school year, and (4) participate in specialized professional development aimed at their particular needs.
First, the world language teachers participated in a full-day in-service workshop to become familiar with them the Teacher Effectiveness for Language Learning Framework. The workshop proceeded in the following manner:
The supervisor then reviewed this information in order to determine where she might be able to provide individual teachers assistance and support and to also ascertain common areas of interest that could lead to offering corporate learning opportunities for teachers based on identified needs.
Leaders of a state language organization identified a need to bring focus to the professional development offered at their annual conference. For this they chose to use the domains of the TELL Framework to organize their conference. When the call for proposals went out, presenters were asked to identify which TELL domains their sessions would address and the expected outcomes of the sessions. Proposals which were accepted were identified in the program according to the relevant domains. The state organization made the Self-Assessment document available to each registrant before the conference or during onsite registration. They were encouraged to use it to set a learning goal for professional growth within a specific TELL domain.
In the first session of the conference, participants were asked to go to one of the rooms identified by the domain from which they had chosen their goal. The session leader helped participants organize into small groups, and these groups worked to identify which sessions related to their domain they wanted to attend. Not surprisingly, some of these sessions were scheduled at the same time. The group assigned each of these concurrent sessions to different members of the group. At the end of the conference, each small group reconvened and shared information gained from their sessions. In light of what they had learned at the conference, participants refined their goal statements and shared them with the other members of their group. They set a schedule and a means to maintain contact throughout the year in order to help one another in the implementation of these goals.
The state organization leaders plan to provide an opportunity at the beginning of next year’s conference for participants to meet with those of their group who are able to attend and debrief the experience of the past year.