SPELTAC courses can be completed within one school year. The recommended time for one course is four weeks, preceded by one face-to-face workshop. Participants work through the course materials and develop their own inquiries into language learning across the curriculum, which they document on their blog.
We learn through feedback, sharing, collaboration and reflection. Sharing, documenting and reflecting on our own learning in a supportive community is key to improving student learning. The orientation course is intended for participants to get familiar with the rationale behind SPELTAC, how it works and the SPELTAC approach to learning.
This course forms the theoretical framework to all other SPELTAC courses. Participants will develop practices that embrace multilingualism as the norm in international schools and as the basis for developing international mindedness. They will look at language and learning in an international school context and explore how scaffolding, building background knowledge, extending language and affirming identity supports language acquisition. The course also looks at how languages are acquired and the difference between Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency.
What do we need to consider when planning for language? What do we need to know about language in order to break it down and to teach it explicitly ? Where do we find the language? How will we tie this to the assessment of subject specific language, register and genres? This course looks at what type of course design benefits language learning and how we can determine language objectives in a unit of work and link them to assessment criteria. Planning for language includes thinking about lesson design, the language of our subject and how it can be broken down so students have the tools to succeed.
Talk is the foundation of reading and writing and important for the development of thinking and understanding. Emergent bilinguals need ample opportunities to practise language in order to be able to develop language skills. This course asks participants to investigate talk in their classrooms, employ a range of strategies that maximize talk and design learning experiences that are a bridge to accessing text and move students’ language along a continuum from spoken to written language.
Academic literacies look different across the curriculum. The types of writing associated with these academic literacies can be broken down and taught explicitly and effectively scaffolded. This course looks at the different types of language (register) associated with texts used and asks participants to examine how they teach writing and to develop effective scaffolds and tools.
Course 5: Accessing text
Spoken, written and visual texts form a large part of the curriculum and students draw on a range of resources to make sense of texts. These resources can be found within texts and within the personal experiences (or background knowledge) that learners bring to reading. As educators we need to consider what learners need to make sense of texts and whether the texts we use are culturally responsive. We also need to explore what we need to teach students in order to develop their understanding of genres and associated language features so they are better equipped to comprehend and critique text. This course asks participants to explore the range of texts used across the curriculum and to employ strategies that will ensure access for all students.
Course 6: Collaboration
One essential component of an inclusive programme for emergent bilinguals and English language learning is collaboration. This course looks at the things that make collaboration work, the challenges teachers face in establishing effective collaboration for student learning and how they can be overcome. The course asks participants to investigate their own collaboration and the impact on student learning.