Dr. Gander’s impact on our professional development of our leadership and teaching staff was based in a clear vision of effective instructional departments. As Associate Director his main work was in the development of an English as a Second Language instructional framework that would support our students English language acquisition over the three years they attend JNFLSIC.”

— Sharon Yue
Director, Jinan Foreign Language School IC

English as a Second Language

What I have learned from my ESL program involvement:

  • Training effective second language teachers is a long-term change process that requires effective incentives and resources to support a district wide philosophy.
  • Clear evaluation tools to find the students English academic level take multiple measures by a skilled teacher to target instruction effectively.
  • In large schools effective partnerships with outside organizations can serve a district by engaging students in service learning activities where spoken English is required and practiced effectively.

Working in a variety of rural and urban schools in California as well as my time spent in China and Colombia have afforded me diverse opportunities to learn critical best practices of language instruction that was not part of my teacher or administrative training programs. The Campbell USD was a strong proponent of GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) and my time at Lynhaven was taken up with implementing this protocol due to the 36 different primary home languages spoken by our families.

I was fortunate to have worked in Campbell with some very talented instructional leaders who had a keen sense of curriculum and a developed philosophy on what it took to teach students whose home language was not English.

Their mentoring of principals and novice teachers showed me the need for a unifying framework for instruction in a school district. From induction to the celebration of leaving probationary status these professionals spent evenings and weekends training and nurturing our young teachers.

We tried to bring that same model to the north Oregon coast when I was part of a three-district consortium that worked closely with the Community Foundation of Oregon. Our goal was to define a grant funding formula that would support teacher training using the GLAD structure. One district was able to take the approach we designed and work with the state of Oregon to leverage teacher-training funds.

These experiences along with my work in China using the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) have provided a strong background to work at the program design and evaluation level in ESL environments.

In China I supported 12 English Language teachers in defining a three-year program for English language instruction in a dual language format. We used the SIOP approach to teach the high school Common Core Language Arts standards students were expected to attain before heading to overseas universities in the UK, Canada, Australia and the United States.

What working with English as a Second Language Programs has brought out in my leadership skills:

  • Closing the gap for all students’ means developing the cultural competencies of your staff so they understand the background and family context of your students.
  • Unified curriculum (curriculum coherence) is the key with advancing standards work along with second language development. Teachers need to know their curriculum and standards to blend specialized strategies with student experiences.
  • Working with teachers from a variety of cultures has helped me understand people better and given rise to better leadership strategies that are more inclusive.