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English Learners in the Sociocultural Context is a Course

English Learners in the Sociocultural Context

Ended Nov 21, 2019
1 credit

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Full course description

Course Description:

English Learners in the Sociocultural Context is the first completed course in the Foundational Background for In-Service Educators of English Learners Program, which is a set of mini-courses currently being developed in response to a growing need for in-service educators to receive additional preparation in serving an increasing English Learner (EL) population.

This first course is aligned with the newly revised 2018 Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Pre-K-12 teacher preparation standards, providing a professional development framework for what in-service educators of ELs should know and be able to do. The course also follows recommendations provided by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Section 8101(42) for effective professional development (e.g., coursework is sustained, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and research-based).

English Learners in the Sociocultural Context includes a Course introduction, four Course Modules, Course Conclusion:

  • The Course Introduction sets the scene for the course and allows participants to introduce themselves to each other. The introduction requires approximately one hour to complete.
  • The Course Modules allows participants to engage in course content at a flexible weekly pace based on their schedules. Each module requires approximately three hours per week to complete. Part of this time can be applied directly to participants’ classrooms and community, which helps to minimize out-of-school work. Participants are also encouraged to work collaboratively to complete assignments. The modules are: 
    • Module 1: Cultural Identity
    • Module 2: Know Your ELs
    • Module 3: Creating a Welcoming Environment
    • Module 4: Affirming Cultural and Linguistic Identity
  • The Course Conclusion allows participants to complete end-of-course paperwork and celebrate their newly developed competencies and accomplishments. The conclusion requires approximately one hour to complete.

Participants are encouraged to register with a team to be able to learn and work collaboratively around course content and assignments. Participants may also register without a team and benefit from the collaboration and feedback of fellow students and the instructor.

Course Objectives: By the end of the course, participants should be able to meet the following course objectives (with standard alignments noted): 

  • Identify and describe the impact of personal cultural identity on understanding and appreciating the cultures of ELs represented in school. 
  • Implement a method to gather some basic personal, familial, and academic background information about the diverse ELs served in schools to help inform instructional and assessment practices for ELs. 
  • Plan for a welcoming environment where ELs and their families see their cultural and linguistic identities reflected
  • Rely on an assets-based perspective when working with ELs and their families. 
  • Affirm ELs’ cultural and linguistic identities by incorporating their experiences, cultures, and languages into instruction. 
Course Requirements:
  • Engage in all embedded online course activities
  • Complete all assignments (each participant is required to post individual assignments although many assignments can be completed in collaboration with others)
  • Participate in collaborative discussions

Course Materials: 

All course materials are provided to participants.

Intended Audience:

This professional development opportunity is intended for educators who:

  • Work in a district served by Heartland AEA (and other interested district, as approved)
  • Are current public or non-public Pre-K-12 in-service educators who are not endorsed ESL teachers (and who might not prefer the full ESL endorsement).
  • Serve ELs in their classrooms or have access to a group of ELs and their families while potentially feeling underprepared to meet the linguistic, cultural, and academic needs of their students
  • Have a desire to increase foundational background for teaching ELs
  • Are open to providing a voice of leadership and advocacy related to ELs and their families 

** Attention: If you wish to use this course for licensure renewal credit, make sure to always check with your school district for approval prior to registering for the course.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation, please contact the TLC in advance at 319-335-5623 or The University also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to University facilities. For additional information on nondiscrimination policies, contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity.