Reimagining Professional Development for Teachers of ELLs

ESL Professional Development

In a recent survey, a staggering 84% of teachers expressed dissatisfaction with the professional development (PD) provided by their schools, citing its lack of relevance or applicability. This alarming statistic underscores a broader issue in the educational landscape—one that we aim to address in episode 126 of the Equipping ELLs podcast.

Despite the growing population of ELLs, research reveals a concerning decline in certified ELL teachers. In California, the state with the highest percentage of ELLs, most educators receive ELL-specific training only once every five years. Furthermore, studies highlight significant variations in ELL teacher training across institutions, emphasizing the need for targeted and practical approaches to PD.

As educators, we understand that teaching ELLs requires mindset shifts and small changes that yield significant impacts. So, how can we facilitate these transformations through PD in our schools?

In this episode, we delve into five key strategies to revolutionize PD for ELL educators:

  1. Ditching the One-Size-Fits-All Approach: Recognizing that teachers have diverse experiences and needs, we advocate for personalized PD tailored to individual requirements.
  2. Empowering Teachers to Lead: We explore the immense potential in tapping into teachers’ knowledge and expertise by having them compensated to develop and deliver PD, fostering a sense of ownership and relevance.
  3. Evaluating External Experts: While external perspectives can be valuable, we urge critical evaluation of their contributions to ensure they genuinely enhance teaching practices rather than merely promote programs.
  4. Emphasizing Practical Applications and Collaborative Learning: PD should transcend traditional presentations, prioritizing hands-on engagement, application, and collaboration to facilitate dynamic and effective learning experiences.
  5. Flipping PD: We introduce an innovative approach that involves teachers engaging with learning materials over the summer, followed by collaborative application groups when school resumes, fostering continuous learning and application.

It’s evident that PD requires a significant overhaul to become a catalyst for meaningful growth and support among ELL educators. By reimagining PD as a collaborative, practical, and personalized endeavor, we aim to empower every teacher to thrive in their classrooms and beyond

If you’re seeking further support, explore our new PD platform, Pathways to Proficiency, designed to offer bite-sized, practical PD covering your most pressing questions. Visit and use the code PODCAST to save 30%—don’t miss out, as this offer expires soon!

Together, let’s equip ourselves with the knowledge and resources to ensure every ELL student thrives.

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More about Equipping ELLs:

We all know that teaching isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be this hard. Equipping ELLs is a podcast for both ESL specialists and homeroom teachers who are looking for effective and engaging ways to support their English Language Learners without adding to their endless to-do list. Tune in each week to hear tips, strategies, and inspirational stories that will empower you to better reach your ELL students, equip them with life-long skills, and strengthen relationships with colleagues and parents.

Your host, Beth Vaucher, is the founder of Inspiring Young Learners. She is an ESL certified homeroom teacher with over 10 years of experience teaching in the US and internationally. Her background of M.Ed in ESL and Curriculum and Instruction combined with her experience has led her to develop a bestselling newcomer curriculum that has sold in over 90 countries around the globe. She brings a different perspective to teaching ELLs from her years teaching and living abroad and working with ELLs from around the world. You will walk away from each episode with the ideas and tools you need to transform your experience as a teacher and cultivate a thriving and welcoming environment for your ELL students.



Find a variety of best selling resources created specifically with the diverse needs of ELLs in mind.