I am in the beginning stages of exploring how I can contribute to the English Language Learners (ELL) field. My first thoughts were that I would volunteer (which I am doing now, as an assistant teacher for a small intermediate level class). Then, after learning about resources in the field from people involved in that ESL program, and through my own research, I would have some idea of what to look for in a certification program.
However, after seeing how many resources there are online to assist both teachers and students, my thinking has changed. I am coming from a background where I did much research and outreach in an effort to build an initiative partly associated with community revitalization. I am beginning to think that there is much that can be done to create local learning networks (for both teachers and students).
The ELL Resources-Leesburg Website
To explore these ideas further, I have created a website; which is offered here as a starting point for discussion of both what has already been done along the lines of building local learning networks—and what could be done. The website is titled ELL Resources-Leesburg (use Internet search, or see my profile, for address).
My “information card” summary (accessible from the “Contact” page) is:
“A clearinghouse of links to open source resources: for teachers, to supplement or create lesson plans; for students, as a way to give special attention to specific study topics, or as a means of self-study. With local community focus (Leesburg, VA). Two Discussion Forums (teachers and students) facilitate teacher-to-teacher sharing, and small study groups for students.”
Another summary paragraph, from the homepage:
"The ELL Resources-Leesburg website, focused on creating local learning networks, supplemented with Discussion Forums, and looking towards creating 'Community Teaching and Learning Centers' in the future, can be a way to expand the number of people living in the Leesburg area who decide to learn English, a way to accelerate the learning process, a way to increase the social and work-related networks associated with both teachers and learners in the field of ELL, and a way to increase the number of low cost pathways for accomplishing these goals."
A Special Note About “Community Teaching and Learning Centers”
The “Community Teaching and Learning Centers” concept is one I at the “Teachers Without Borders” website. Here is some specific information about that source, and the content which first got my attention…
1) From a “Community Teaching and Learning Centers” section of the “Teachers Without Borders” (TWB) website before it was revised to the current website content. The current focus of TWB does not emphasize the concept of “Community Teaching and Learning Centers”. (For more about “Teachers Without Borders”, see their website)
“Community Teaching and Learning Centers (CTLCs) are local, practical education centers designed to be embraced by and emerge from the community itself. CTLCs use existing facilities and are often outfitted with libraries (such as dictionaries, references, educational material of general interest) and computers, face-to-face classrooms, and break-out spaces, used primarily to serve several essential functions for community sustainability.”
What I Would Like To Learn from Participants in This Forum
It’s true: the kind of website design that I can do is “basic skill level design” compared to many other ELL and ESL websites. However, I believe the organization and presentation is clear enough for the potential of this idea to “come through”.
What I would like to learn—from teachers, students, other resource persons, etc:
1) Do you know of any organizations, etc associated with ELL, ESL, etc, which are doing similar work along the lines of creating local learning networks like what my ELL website is proposing?
2) Do you think the ELL Resources-Leesburg website/resource –using open source links, discussion forums, etc to create or accelerate the creation of local learning networks (teacher-to-teacher sharing, students study groups, computer access sharing, etc—is a good idea?
3) How can the specific project mentioned here (ELL Resources-Leesburg) be improved?
It would be of great value to me to hear any comments, suggestions, etc. from participants in this "Teaching English" forum.
With Kind Regards,
- For Teachers