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Pre-Conference Institute

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Friday morning,  January 27, 2023

9:00am - 12:00pm

Von Braun Center South Hall

Huntsville, Alabama

$95 (including lunch)

Workshop A - Using a Functional Perspective of Language to Design Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessments in Service of an Equity Agenda

Sorry, this workshop is full. 

Dr. Meg Gebhard, AMTESOL 2023's Keynote Speaker, will introduce participants to a functional perspective of language they can use to design curriculum, instruction, and assessments as a way of addressing equity issues in their classrooms and reflecting on their teaching practices. During this hands-on workshop, participants will:

  • Identify a type of text or genre their multilingual students are routinely required to read, write, and discuss in a specific content area (e.g., recounts, narratives, reports, explanations, and arguments).

  • Develop an understanding of how language and images typically function in this genre to make content-specific kinds of meanings (e.g., the expected organizational structure of a text; use of language to construct the main ideas, the voice or tone, and the coherent flow of information in an extended text).

  • Prepare and annotate the linguistic features of a model text they can use in their classrooms to critically scaffold their students’ developing content knowledge, language/literacy development, and sense of themselves as critical readers and writers.

This workshop will conclude with participants sharing how they will use this model text in their classrooms in practical ways to support an equity agenda (e.g., drawing on students’ linguistic and cultural resources prior to assigning a challenging reading or writing task; preparing genre-based reading and writing guides; designing genre-based rubrics to make assessment criteria clear and to support peer and self-assessment; documenting changes in the literacy practices of a focus student as part of a professional learning community).

Dr Meg Gebhard University of Massachusetts Amherstimage

Meg Gebhard, Ph.D., taught and directed a program for multilingual learners in Quincy, Massachusetts in the 1990s before earning her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley in 2000. Her research focuses on multilingual learners’ content-based reading and writing development and their teachers’ professional development in the context of high stakes school reforms. Dr. Gebhard is currently a Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has co-authored numerous publications with teachers working in urbans schools in Massachusetts. Her most recent publication is titled Teaching and researching ELLs’ disciplinary literacy practices: SFL in action in the context of school reform (Routledge). This book provides teachers with a practical guide for designing and critically reflecting on content-based instruction using Halliday’s theory of systemic functional linguistics (SFL). 

Workshop B - If STEM is the Gateway, Language is the Key!

Sorry, this workshop is full.

According to Alabama’s Roadmap to STEM Success (Governor’s Advisory Council for Excellence in STEM, 2019), Alabama will need more than 850,000 STEM-related occupations by 2026. Success in mathematics and science courses is critical for our students to be prepared for these jobs. Join Dr. Charles Holloway and Melissa Campbell as they examine how established best practices in mathematics and science instruction benefits all students, especially linguistically diverse learners. During this engaging workshop, participants will explore strategies and resources to effectively support MLs during math and science instruction while increasing language proficiency and providing equitable access to STEM fields.

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Dr. Charles Holloway currently serves as the ASIM Physical Sciences Specialist AMSTI-UAH working with chemistry, physics, and physical science. Prior to joining the AMSTI-UAH team he worked at the Alabama State Department of Education as a State Science Specialist. With a strong desire to return to working with students and teachers as well as returning home to north Alabama, Charles came to UAH in August of 2021. Charles has a total of 21 years of teaching experience and has taught high school Chemistry, Physics, and Physical Science. During his time in the classroom he taught IB, AP, Honors, Special Science Inclusion classes, and ELL students. He was named Decatur City New Teacher of the year in 2004 and Priceville High School Teacher of the year in 2019. He believes in the power of hands-on instruction and wrote his doctoral dissertation on Inquiry-based Instruction in Chemistry in the High School Classroom. Charles is a member of the National Science Teaching Association, the Alabama Science Teachers Association, and the Alabama Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers.

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Melissa Campbell is currently a Mathematics Specialist at AMSTI-UAH for grades K through 5. Most recently, she taught 4th grade mathematics, science, and Alabama History in the Fort Payne City School System. While there, she served as a mentor teacher for mathematics and as the 4th grade representative to the district's Mathematics Vertical Leadership Team. She was honored as a Teacher of the Year, and twice honored by the VFW as Dekalb County's Social Studies Elementary Educator of the Year. She believes in setting the bar high for all students, along with equal access to rigorous content. Her passion for children's literature is something that she enjoys sharing with students, no matter the content area.

Workshop C - Write Grants to Help Fulfill Your Critical Mission in ESL

Only a few seats left!

This hands-on workshop is of interest to both ESL educators and teacher educators. By writing grants, ESL teachers can empower their classroom and enhance their profession. Grants can provide funding for specific teaching activities in a school or for advocacy efforts in a community of practice. Teachers unfamiliar with grants often view grant applications as unsolvable puzzles and grant writing as unproductive effort. Yet, with appropriate training and guidance, teachers can be successful at writing grants. When trained, they can routinely initiate grant-funded projects for their classroom and also for their communities of practice. With such funding, they can acquire resources, expand services for their ELs, and enhance their own professional growth.


In this session, teachers learn about grant-writing steps: identifying needs, collaborating with communities of practice, locating grants on websites, accessing how-to books, understanding grant processes, meeting application criteria, and implementing grant components. Teacher educators learn about how to incorporate grant writing in teacher education programs. Together, teachers and teacher educators view examples of teacher-led grants and brainstorm how to promote grant writing in their respective communities. Attendees will emerge from this hands-on session with a draft outline, inspired to seek funding, and energized to write grants.

Dr Susan Spezzini

Susan Spezzini, Ph.D.,  is Program Director and Professor of English Learner Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is a 2020-23 Fulbright Scholar. She holds a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of California in San Diego, an M.A. in teaching German from the University of California Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (English as a Second Language and Foreign Languages) from the University of Alabama. Her research activities focus on how mainstream teachers learn to implement ESL Best Practices and how they help their colleagues through collaborative mentoring. A more specific interest concerns the use of oral interactive techniques, especially for the teaching of grammar and pronunciation. Dr. Spezzini has given presentations at over 60 conferences and has conducted professional development workshops for over 3,000 educators in the United States and internationally. She is a past-president of AMTESOL and is currently AMTESOL's SETESOL Representative.

Dr Josephine Prado

Josephine Prado, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of English Learner Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she teaches graduate courses in second language acquisition, grammar and linguistics for ESL teachers, multicultural education, and MA-TESOL methods. Dr. Prado has taught English learners in Ecuador and in the United States, in educational settings that range from pre-k children in their first school experience through high school, university, and professional levels, to adults taking conversational English. After earning her MA-TESOL degree at the University of Alabama, she worked as an ESL Specialist in the P-12 setting for seven years, before obtaining her Ph.D. in Secondary Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in Educational Linguistics in 2013. Her research interests include exploring ESOL teacher advocacy and developing culturally sustaining curriculum. Dr. Prado serves as AMTESOL's Co-Treasurer and Co-Registration Chair, and as Co-Chair Elect for the TESOL Intercultural Communications Interest Section.

Dr Lori Edmonds

Lori Edmonds, Ph.D., is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English Learner Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She holds an undergraduate degree in Modern Languages and Linguistics, a master’s degree in Instructional Systems Development/English for
Speakers of Other Languages, and a Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Her research focus, on Funds of Knowledge and biographical narratives in culturally diverse classrooms, explores the rich knowledge that students obtain in their homes and communities and how it is an asset in academic settings. She presents nationally and internationally on connecting students’ out-of-school experiences with academic content, equitable learning environments, and diverse family engagement. Dr. Edmonds serves on the AMTESOL board where she brings her experience from having served on both the Maryland TESOL and the Carolina TESOL boards, including serving as Carolina TESOL Executive Board President (2019-2020). Drawing from her ESL and teacher education experiences and leadership, Dr. Edmonds collaborates with other ESL leaders to provide professional learning that teachers can use to transform their communities.

Workshop D - Advocacy in Action: Taking our Advocacy to the Next Level

Join the AMTESOL Advocacy Committee for a hands-on experience identifying the various contexts of advocacy. Together we will explore the tools provided by TESOL, take action at various levels for MLLs, and begin creating our own toolbox for advocating with different stakeholders.

Sorry, this workshop is full.

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Jamie Harrison, Ed.D., is in her ninth year at Auburn University.  She is an associate professor of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Education in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching.  Prior to coming to Auburn, she was a K-12 educator with over 20 years of ESOL teaching experience in Georgia, Florida, and South Korea.  She holds an Ed.D. in School Improvement from the University of West Georgia and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Surrey.  Her research interests include implicit and explicit beliefs and attitudes, and the role of ESOL teacher as advocate. She is a past-president of AMTESOL and is currently AMTESOL's Advocacy Chair.

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Lisa Johnson, Ed.D., is currently a lecturer in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education at the University of Alabama In Huntsville.  She began her K-12 teaching career in 2003 in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana and also taught in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey for many years. In 2008, she began working with Emergent Bilingual students and students who are dually enrolled in ESL and Special Education. Additionally, she has trained preservice teachers at Stockton University, Mississippi State University-Meridian and Rowan University. Her current research is related to ESL teachers using the Friend and Cook Co-Teaching Models, integrating responsive classroom techniques, and creating inclusivity and accessibility for all learners. 

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