Dr. Sarah Rilling
Kent State University
Sarah Rilling is an associate professor of English at Kent State University, teaches courses in ESOL methodologies, literacies, and English as an international language. She earned degrees in German (BA, MAT), TESOL (MA), and Applied Linguistics (PhD) and has taught English and applied linguistics in the United State, Japan, and Germany.
She has worked with ESOL teachers in North Eastern Ohio earning degrees and endorsement since 2002 and licensure since 2006. She also contributes to improving resources for area teachers in meeting learner and institutional needs. Recently, she served a multidistrict Common Core initiative with language arts teachers at all levels in North Eastern Ohio, culminating in a week-long summer series of workshops supporting group development of curriculum to meet state standards and local needs.
The Common Core State Standards: Opportunity and Challenge!
The Common Core State Standards, now adopted by 45 states, embed literacy in content learning. For our English language learners, there are new opportunities and challenges in preparing for college and career. This plenary discusses how TESOL professionals play key roles in our schools by supporting learners and colleagues in differentiating instruction for student success in content learning while simultaneously increasing students' language resources and skills. Reading informational texts, supporting written and oral arguments, and understanding and using appropriate technical and general academic vocabulary are essential components of the Common Core. As readers and writers of complex informational texts ourselves, we understand that grammar (discourse, syntax, and lexicon) varies across genres of spoken and written language, and the plenary will give us an opportunity to explore grade level literate and social practices in science, social studies, language arts and math and how learners at various proficiency levels can benefit from instructional conversations. As professionals, we bring to schools knowledge of language and language systems, instructional strategies to match and push language proficiency, both receptive and productive, and a collaborative spirit in the pursuit of knowledge using a variety of media. We integrate literate and social practices in our and our colleagues' classrooms through sensory, graphic, and interactive supports. The plenary allows discussion of the development and continuous improvement of assessments of learning. Reflective tools will also be addressed to facilitate curricular review and revision in expanding and improving instruction, materials, and assessments. Local needs for implementing the Common Core, access and use of teacher resources, and advocacy for continuous professional support (including school-university partnerships) will be addressed and a handout of resources provided.
The Common Core State Standards challenge our English Language Learners to demonstrate knowledge and literacy at grade level across content areas. This workshop allows participants opportunities to work with colleagues teaching in the same grade bands to generate ideas for interactive instructional tasks rich in textual and graphic support, to share resources and ideas for meeting and assessing students across school subjects, and to plan for continued professional development.