Her name is Dawn, and she just landed her dream job.
In the summer of 2016, Dawn Walton-Ary was promoted to Vice Principal of Curriculum and Instruction at The Conservatory of Vocal and Instrumental Arts (COVA), where she is responsible for creating curriculum and training for the school’s teachers. She is also a 2015 graduate of the CLAD Through CTEL Certificate program. Coincidence?
English Learners and the Education Landscape
California is home to more than 24% of the nation's K–12 English language learners, the highest concentration in the country. It’s no wonder that California requires teachers assigned to provide instruction to English learners be authorized to teach English learners in addition to their specific area of instruction. The Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development (CLAD) Through California Teachers of English Learners (CTEL) was developed as a framework and certification program to train K-12 educators on required competencies.
English language learners now account for 10% of the nation’s total K–12 population, meaning CLAD skills are in high demand even outside of California. With this in mind, we decided to find out exactly what CLAD Through CTEL training is like and how it impacted Walton-Ary, a teacher with more than 14 years of experience before coming to Extension.
Why CLAD and Why Berkeley Extension?
“I had been searching for a unique learning experience where I could reconnect with myself as a practitioner and think deeply about my role as a teacher of 14 years. I've always wanted to attend Berkeley because of its reputation for unconventional teaching and learning. Although CLAD certification can be earned from various institutions or online, I realized that in-person hands-on learning was most effective for me. I was off for the summer and the accelerated summer program schedule fit my needs.”
The Student Experience: What Stands Out?
“The collaborative learning experience throughout all of the coursework—that is the key to the program's success. With all of the valuable information and instruction provided to the students, it would have meant nothing if we learned in isolation. The power was in the experience of ‘shared learning,’ so much so that I completely rearranged my own classroom into learning pods. The result: I have witnessed a transformation of learning through the collaborative process, an increase in retaining information and the deepening of relationships within our class community. I was able to successfully pass on a great learning experience from the program to my own students. “I also must talk about the bonds that were formed in that class. Many of us are still connected thanks to Facebook. We bonded as a community of learners and supported one another, especially with FOOD! We stressed and merrily ate our way through all of the coursework.”
The Portfolio: Documenting Your Experiences and Shaping Perspectives
“The CLAD portfolio course was a spiritual journey, especially when answering personal cultural questions and sharing them in a presentation with the group. Some of the accounts were so moving—there were very emotional moments and a healing process—which is unique and unexpected for a learning environment. I've learned to be a better listener and not make judgments about a student based on a ‘temporary’ behavior. I know that every student has a story: If I am to teach the ‘whole child,’ it means taking into account the family, which is the child's first teacher. Having to identify my own personal and cultural identity in that course helped me to become a more compassionate teacher.”
Pushing Education Forward
“I am finally at a place in my career where I can make greater change—I get to create an environment enriched with valuable and culturally responsive pedagogy that inspires our community at COVA.” Did the CLAD program help Walton-Ary land her dream job? We can’t underestimate the value of her hard work—especially the motivation and persistence that she brought to the program. “The program is a champion of progressive methods in education that for me truly addressed the needs of today's students and teachers,” she adds. “It provided me with the tools for instruction, planning and assessment to move our learning agenda toward a more progressive teaching and learning environment. In the end, I walked away with a learning experience that was reflective, rewarding and inspiring.”
UC Berkeley Extension’s CLAD Through CTEL program is accredited by the State of California's Commission on Teacher Credentialing. As a student in the program, you’ll gain instruction in a classroom setting through either an accelerated 5-week summer program or during the spring and fall semesters. You’ll cover competencies required for CLAD certification of K–12 teachers, including cross-cultural interaction, the roles of culture in the classroom and in the school, culturally inclusive learning environments, family and community involvement, and culturally inclusive curriculum and instruction.