questions immersion parents should be asking, part 5: how much immersion specific professional development do you offer?

May 12, 2016

We are what we repeatedly do, excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. (Aristotle)

Ongoing professional development. Collective intelligence. Professional learning communities. Teaching teams. Conferences. Advanced degrees.

Schools and districts, individual teachers, even corporations, invest thousands of dollars on professional growth for teachers. Each initiative is aimed at creating excellence in education, and fostering measurable increases in achievement in the classroom.

How many of those initiatives, those days spent learning, are connected to specific strategies for increased success in language acquisition pedagogy? We’d encourage current and prospective immersion parents to inquire how many hours/days/weeks is your child’s teacher and administrator spending in immersion specific training?

Most teacher preparation programs are focused on educational pedagogy for a traditional classroom, offering even multilingual teacher candidates very little immersion specific preparation. Thus, emerging teachers interested in the immersion setting need support, guidance and additional instruction in order to appropriately craft a learning environment unique to the dual language immersion student.

The unquestionable leaders in the field of language acquisition pedagogy are our colleagues at the Center for Advanced Research and Language Acquisition (CARLA) out of the University of Minnesota. Their course of study is offered as a Professional Certificate and is designed to enhance the educational study of in practice teachers. Teachers from schools who partner with add.a.lingua are encouraged to join the professional certificate program from CARLA in addition to the professional development crafted by our team.

add.a.lingua’s teacher certification process includes 5 years of ongoing, embedded professional development developed with the guidance of our academic advisory board. The certification process launches for each teacher in the summer preceding their first year of teaching as an add.a.lingua partner. The support continues throughout the year with webinars, virtual instructional support visits, and networking with add.a.lingua’s experienced instructional support department. The total time spent in professional learning specific to immersion education over the course of a five year partnership is approximately 150 hours per year. The visual below illustrates the learning opportunities available to partner teachers.


For parents considering immersion education for the first time, or even for veteran immersion parents–get to know what kinds of immersion specific learning opportunities are available to your child’s teacher. And if your child attends an add.a.lingua partner school, know that our educator partners invest many hours in professional development specifically towards your child’s type of education. Take a moment to thank them today for their commitment to high quality dual language immersion education.

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