Itinerant Core French teachers face a number of stressors and barriers that directly impact their well-being and that of their students – especially those with special needs. Some stressors include scheduling, travelling between rooms with all their materials and no travel time, difficult transitions for students who struggle with change, and not knowing the atmosphere in the room when they walk in or the history for that day for students with behaviour issues. FSL teachers typically teach 150+ students per day and despite the fact that they teach with all the IEPs in the school, since they aren’t the homeroom teacher, they are often left out of meetings to discuss and plan for the success of these students and special ed PD opportunities.
For the last few years, our board has promoted FSL for ALL students, but there has been minimal PD for SERTs focused on best practices for supporting students with IEPs (and their teachers) in an FSL environment. For our project, we wanted to build a strong collaborative partnership between the SERT and FSL teacher in hopes of improving the well-being of the FSL teacher and students, and improving the FSL learning outcomes for students with special needs.
Our hope was that by collaboratively creating profiles of our diverse language learners and being intentional in learning about and using universal language actions and differentiation to support their language development, we would improve Core FSL learning experiences for all.
Renfrew County District School Board
Renfrew County District School Board
Professional Learning Goals
By dedicating time for the SERT and FSL teacher to collaboratively co-create class profiles and build a toolkit of strategies and resources (collected and created from our shared professional learning) to reduce key stressors and barriers, then the well-being of the FSL teacher and students was enhanced, and FSL learning outcomes for students with special needs was improved.
Activities and Resources
- Pre- and post-project student attitude and well-being surveys
- Collaboratively create class profiles (to make managing the info in the IEPs in each class more manageable).
- Book study and action research with the book Access for Success: Making Inclusion Work for Language Learners by Katy Arnett
- Build a tool kit of strategies and resources collected and created from our shared professional learning
- Create a blog to share our tool kit and reflect on our learning
- Share the link for our blog with all the elementary SERTS and Core French teachers in our board
- Attend a presentation by Katy Arnett in the spring with our colleagues from the other team
Exploring the best platform to share our learning electronically was a bit of challenge. We worked with our IT support staff to decide what we wanted and what blog site would best suit our needs.
Enhancing Student Learning and Development
By working collaboratively and reducing key stressors and barriers for FSL teaching, our SERT-FSL team feels more confident in our knowledge and understanding of the FSL special ed needs in our school; and employing the strategies that we gathered from the Katy Arnett book has reduced some of the key stressors for our FSL students with special needs and improved their FSL learning experience and outcomes.
Originally we were going to share our toolkit and learning with one other SERT-Core French teacher team in our community, but our TLC mentor convinced us to go broader. We created a blog to share our toolkit and our reflections on our learning. We emailed the link to all the elementary Special Education Resource Teachers and Core French teachers in our school board.
Based on our pre- and post-project student surveys focused on well-being and attitudes towards FSL, along with behaviour tracking for target students and how much we have learned and how it has impacted our professional practice, we feel that our project has definitely been a success.
If we were to do it over again, we might bring in another team to participate in the project with us.
- Access for Success: Making Inclusion Work for Language Learners by Katy Arnett and Renée Bourgoin, Pearson Canada, 2018
- The companion website: http://www.pearsoncanada.ca/school/afs/index.html
- http://www.blogger.com to create our blog
These resources will open in your browser in a new tab, or be downloaded to your computer.
Class French Spec Ed Profile Template
The class profile template we created to make managing all the IEPs and students in the school more manageable.