Training for Paraeducators Working with ELLs is a Sound Investment for Everyone
In this session, I will present a case study of the Northern Nevada English Learning Initiative (NNELI), a professional development grant program that trained 57 paraprofessionals in the areas of technology use, second language acquisition theory (SLA), individual differences in SLA, inquiry-based science, instructional and literacy strategies, classroom management styles, English language development standards, and the Common Core State Standards. This study over four years found that when given instruction, paraprofessionals actively apply principles from second language acquisition (SLA) theory; use teaching and learning strategies intended for use with ELLs when instructed how to do so; are motivated by creating lesson plans, which causes them to engage at a higher order of thought and instructional planning; and enjoy using inquiry-based science as a means for motivating students. As a result, I will share instruction and resources on the topics that were most effective regarding SLA and individual differences in SLA for paraprofessionals. The session will include a brief language immersion lesson, an object lesson on the importance of using comprehensible input when instructing, and copious resources for learning the basics of second language acquisition theory and related topics vital to the ESL classroom.