Instructional Research Group (IRG) in Los Alamitos, California, has announced a professional development (PD) opportunity for 8th grade teachers as part of a federal research grant. The PD is available for 8th grade social studies teachers who teach American history and have English Learners (EL) in their classrooms. This project will help teachers learn to augment and enhance their existing curricular material by incorporating academic vocabulary instruction. They will learn about effective vocabulary instruction for teaching both general academic vocabulary words used across disciplines and specific vocabulary words that are unique to American history. The vocabulary material covered in the PD sessions will help teachers in addressing the literacy, language, and reading standards associated with history/social studies content for 8th grade. Participating teachers will collaborate with their colleagues to develop lesson plans based on effective vocabulary instructional techniques. The PD sessions will be conducted at the school site at a time that is convenient to teachers.
All teachers participating in the study will receive a $500.00 stipend, and their school will receive a regular institutional membership to National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) for one year (a $121 value). The study will be conducted during 2016–17 year.
Results from this study will help school districts in building the capacity of middle school teachers to improve the academic vocabulary of their students—both English learners and other learners in the classroom. Improved academic vocabulary use in oral and writing activities is a potential benefit for students, especially English learners.The principal investigator (PI) for this study is Dr. Russell Gersten. The co-PIs include Drs. Joseph Dimino and Madhavi Jayanthi.