We often remind families and schools leaders that “not all immersion programs are created equal”. Sarah Vander Laan is a top notch immersion teacher who has experienced this firsthand.
Sarah began as a teacher in an add.a.lingua program, assisted with add.a.lingua framework development, and facilitated professional learning at our summer events. She’s been a part of the add.a.lingua family for years.
When Sarah made a move to a new state and school system a few years ago, we were sad to see her leave the add.a.lingua network, but we also knew that she’d continue her good work helping students acquire multilingualism wherever she landed.
Sarah brought her excellent instructional practices and love for students to a dual language immersion program that doesn’t partner with add.a.lingua. When reflecting on the difference between her experience of working in an add.a.lingua dual language immersion program and in an immersion program that doesn’t partner with add.a.lingua, here’s what Sarah had to say:
We as immersion teachers know that we are both content AND language teachers. We have to wear both hats for our students to achieve content objectives using the target language. Effectively wearing the language teacher hat takes strategic planning for language development, targeted professional development, and language-focused resources.
When I taught in an add.a.lingua school, I didn’t realize how unique it was that we were provided with all of these resources! add.a.lingua took the guess work out of planning because we all knew what we needed to do to support our students’ language development. We had the resources we needed, like anchor lessons, sorts, and picture vocabulary cards. We also had training every year and access to a collaborative site for fellow immersion teachers.
I now teach in an immersion program that does not partner with add.a.lingua. We wish we had a scope & sequence across grade levels, a clear plan for language proficiency development, and (especially) the curricular resources in the target language. Not to mention the professional development opportunities to help us hone our craft as language teachers!
As Sarah notes, we provide immersion educators at our partner schools around the nation with the resources and training in immersion pedagogy they need to successfully attend to the teaching of content and language. We help keep our partners’ immersion programs on track with academic frameworks that are aligned to the common core, and compatible with the curriculum that they’ve selected.
If you’re interested in experiencing add.a.lingua’s resources and training for yourself or for your immersion teaching team, send us a note using the form below. We love to give demonstrations of our resource and assessment platform, and take groups on tours of our immersion partner programs. Let’s talk!