SPELTAC: Social Platform for English Language Teaching
Across the Curriculum

SPELTAC is a work-based, collaborative professional learning platform for supporting English language learners and promoting international mindedness in international schools.


Supporting emergent bilinguals and English language learning is one of the most important constants of international educators’ work.  ‘We are all language teachers’ will sound familiar to many. Yet, how can professional development for English language teaching across the curriculum be sustained and differentiated? How can the conversation about how to support all learners who are learning on a bilingual continuum be continued? Do traditional ‘sit-and-get’ models of professional development really serve this important work or should this be an ongoing part of educators’ learning, one that is constantly explored, revisited and strengthened?

English-medium international schools are typically characterized by huge linguistic diversity. Effectively supporting this diversity requires specialist knowledge about how children learn languages, how language works and how lessons can be designed to incorporate language learning, while at the same time fostering multilingual student identities. A school-wide effort is needed to support and teach English language learners, involving staff training and ongoing collaboration between all stakeholders in the school community.

With most students on a bilingual continuum, international schools need a sustained focus on cross-curricular English language and literacy teaching, necessitating a sustainable form of professional learning.



SPELTAC establishes a school-wide shared pedagogy for language learning in an international school context, focusing on valuing multilingualism, how children acquire language, and the key principles that support language access and growth.


SPELTAC develops interlingual and intercultural teaching practices that promote international mindedness.


SPELTAC develops teaching practices that stretch students’ academic language by developing understanding of which school contexts best support language acquisition, i.e. by affirming and celebrating linguistic diversity, collaboration and viewing all teachers as language teachers.


SPELTAC develops skill in planning for language by breaking down the language of the curriculum, written and spoken genres, and determining language objectives as well as explicitly teaching subject-specific language and structures.


SPELTAC develops teaching practices that embody the vital importance of talk and engagement for all learners to develop strong language and literacy skills.


SPELTAC develops teaching practices that embrace 21st century literacies for language and literacy development.


While peer observation is a powerful model of professional development for teachers, blogging can add deeper dimensions, such as making thought processes and reflective practice visible.

SPELTAC participants follow seven online courses which span one school year. These courses are designed for teachers to develop their own inquiry questions, specific to their own understanding, experience and teaching area. They document student learning on their SPELTAC blog and share with other educators globally and locally.

View how a course works

The SPELTAC approach to learning


Follow online courses. Plan for language learning and literacy based on new ideas, alone or with a co-teacher. Establish language objectives and develop learning experiences that stretch language for all learners.


Make language learning visible, using a variety of tools for formative assessment.


Document learning experiences on the SPELTAC blog; reflect, relate and curate. Make connections with previous learning and student work. Use screenshots, pictures, video and audio of student learning.


Online, share blog posts with other educators, read and learn from other SPELTAC blogs. Connect, and get new ideas and understandings about language learning. Offline, join inquiry groups. Discuss, create, plan and lead.

A Sustainable Form of Professional Learning


SPELTAC is self- driven and grounded in inquiry and reflection, focusing on improving planning and instruction. SPELTAC is connected to teachers’ work with their students in every division of the school.


SPELTAC uses the power of technology and social media to share and document excellent practice and learn from educators globally.


SPELTAC is collaborative, involving the sharing of knowledge and focusing on communities of practice locally and globally.

© 2016 SPELTAC

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