Language, Culture & Identity Conference 2017

Language, Culture & Identity Conference 2017
Posted on 06/06/2017



The Multicultural & Multilingual Center of Portland Public Schools announces its fourth regional conference, Language, Culture & Identity, to be held on Thursday, October 19, 2017, at the University of Southern Maine, Portland. The conference is designed for ELL and other educators, administrators, service providers and individuals interested in the language acquisition, academic achievement, and socio-cultural and emotional well-being of English learners.

 The full-day conference features keynote speaker DrJeff Alan Zwiers, a highly sought after presenter and consultant to school districts throughout the United States regarding development of academic language and literacy across the K-12 subject areas. Following the keynote, there will be concurrent workshop sessions on the topics of language, culture, and identity. The afternoon will feature a double session with Dr. Maria Brisk of the Lynch School of Education, Boston College The language sessions will build on the theme of academic language in the content areas. ELL teachers, classroom teachers, and service providers of English learners can follow a strand or mix and match according to interest.  Continental breakfast and lunch buffet are included.  Parking is convenient and free.

Registration is currently closed.  Thank you for your interest!

Early bird registration (through September 30): $125
Regular registration: $135
On-site registration (day of): $150
Special pricing available for Portland Public Schools and full time students.

Cancellation policy: A registration may be canceled for a full refund minus a $25.00 processing fee by September 30, 2017. Requests for refunds should be requested in writing- Send email. There are no refunds for cancellations made after September 30th or for no shows at the conference.

Examples of Workshops that Will Be Offered:

The Power of Communication to Help Students Learn in School and Succeed in Life -Jeff Zwiers

This keynote will highlight the critical need for choosing, adapting, and designing lesson activities that have less pseudo-communication and more authentic communication. Teaching activities need to embody three key principles of communicativeness for maximizing the development of language that students need in school and beyond: purpose, information gaps, and attention to language. This session will provide a range of experiences and video clips that model instructional activities and formative assessment practices.

Follow-up workshop:Cultivating Students’ Academic Conversation Skills -Jeff Zwiers

This session focuses on practical strategies for (a) developing students’ skills for engaging in effective conversations across content areas, and (b) using conversations between students to grow their content and thinking skills. Videos and hands-on activities will be used to show the activities and practices, with some time given for application of the ideas.
Jeff Zwiers


Genre-based Writing Pedagogy with Emphasis on Language -Maria Estela Brisk

This double session afternoon workshop will cover a variety of genres of writing that can be embedded in instruction of various disciplines.  This approach to writing has been successfully implemented from pre-K through college in educational context that included bilingual learners.  The demands differ depending on the genre and the grade level.  There are three goals for the workshop:

1.     Learn what to teach given a genre (purpose, stages, and language)

2.     Learn how to teach the content of writing

3.     Learn when to teach the content of writing

The content of writing instruction is informed by systemic functional linguistics (SFL) theory and the approach to writing is a modified version of the Teaching and Learning Cycle (TLC) developed by Australian educators when applying SFL to writing instruction.

Participants should bring sample texts they use in their classroom and sample student work.

Maria Brisk

 ELs gain access to rigorous content through their funds of knowledge. -Maria Pacheco

This session addresses strategies used in the identification and application of English language learners’ funds of knowledge across various content areas to improve engagement and increase equitable access.  Projects currently underway in several classrooms will be shared with the participants.

Dr. Maria Pacheco works at Brown University in Rhode Island where she directs the Education Alliance and teaches in the Master’s Degree in ESL and Crosscultural Studies.


Supporting Mainstream Teachers of ELLs: Findings from Current Research -Andrea Stairs-Davenport

In this interactive session, Dr. Stairs-Davenport will share findings from her current research study on how practicing mainstream teachers learn to teach ELLs and the support they need to be successful. Participants will be invited to discuss opportunities for and challenges of supporting mainstream teachers’ learning to teach ELLs.

Andrea Stairs Davenport


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