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EL Practices for Equity, EDL 900

Instructors: Martha Bigelow, Sylvi Un & Ruslana Westerlund

Topics: Instructional Strategies & Administrative/Leadership
Audiences: Specialist/Counselors & Pre K-12

Could it be that the policies, programs, and practices of educators in the U.S. are factors that cause adolescent English learners with limited or interrupted formal schooling to underachieve? This course describes the beliefs, practices, and policies that have shaped the minority student experience over time, the effects of the separation between school and family on multicultural learners, the important differences between "educación" and education, the ways in which culturally relevant pedagogy can better support learning for these students, and how to incorporate cultural awareness into the classroom. Modules included are: 2004 Un-limiting Practices for Adolescent ELs, 4016 Educación and Culturally Relevant Teaching in U.S. Public Schools, and 4001 Building Blocks of Effective Schooling for ELs.

Topics: Cultural Aspects of Perceived Caring, EL with Limited or Interrupted Formal Schooling, Effective Schooling for ELs: A Self Assessment

One-credit course expectations:

The learner's participation for one credit will be verified by:

  1. Completing the two categories of written assignments.
    1. At the end of each layer the learner will submit a few well written but concise remarks to address the layer's content.
    2. A one page summary reflection that is written upon completion of all of the modules incorporated in the selected UND course. End of Course Reflective Statement Requirements are provided. The final reflection must be sent as an attachment to the instructor of record at
  2. Checking the time stamp in the module indicating the amount of time the student spent studying the contents of the module.

Two-credit course expectations:

  1. The learner must complete one or more Authentic Practice Sets completing a minimum of 15 hours of additional work, beyond the requirements for the first credit, for a total of at least 30 hours for two credits.
    1. The additional 15 additional hours is focused on preparation of a portfolio exhibit that documents the design, implementation, and appraisal of an Authentic Practice Set applied to the content of the course.

Please refer to the Course at a Glance document below for more course information (requirements, grading, etc.)

PLEASE NOTE: Upon receipt and confirmation of your course registration with UND, it may take 3-8 days for you to receive a welcome e-mail from your course provider giving you access to this online course.

Individuals with active full subscriptions to Whitewater Learning® will receive a discount on UND Whitewater Learning professional development course tuition by contacting to request a special discount URL.

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Online Course - 1 credit S/U grading
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Professional Development Credit: 1 - S/U grading
UND Fee: $145
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Online Course - 1 credit Letter grading
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Professional Development Credit: 1 - Letter grading
UND Fee: $145
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Online Course - 2 credit S/U grading
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Professional Development Credit: 2 - S/U grading
UND Fee: $280
quick details

Online Course - 2 credit Letter grading
Enroll Anytime
Professional Development Credit: 2 - Letter grading
UND Fee: $280
quick details

About Your Instructors

Martha Bigelow Martha Bigelow

Martha Bigelow is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota in Second Languages and Cultures Education. She came to this work after being an English, ESL, and Spanish teacher for many years, including two years in the Dominican Republic in the Peace Corps, and two years in Panama as an English Language Fellow. Bigelow taught multilingual students in K-12 settings and adults in community and university settings. Currently, she works with graduate students who are in the process of becoming ESL or World Languages teachers. In addition, she works with many MA and PhD students who are learning to be researchers on topics relating to language, culture, and teaching.

Bigelow's academic interests lie with learning about the cultural, linguistic, and educational experiences of newcomers with limited formal schooling. Most of her research focuses on Somali adolescents who came to the U.S. from refugee camps and have missed many years of formal schooling due to political circumstances out of their control.

Sylvi Un Sylvi Un

Sylvi Un is an administrator in Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. Currently, she serves the students, families, and teachers in her district through her role as an administrative intern (acting assistant principal) at Frost Lake Elementary School. Like many of the Southeast Asian families at Frost Lake, she was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and grew up in Minnesota as a 1.5- generation Cambodian American.

Before coming to Frost Lake, she worked in schools and community-based organizations with students from Gary and South Bend, Indiana, while she earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame. After earning her master's degree in education, as a Donovan Urban Teaching Scholar and Jay Sharp Scholar from Boston College, she taught middle school math and elementary social studies in Boston and Revere, Massachusetts.

While working on her PhD at the University of Minnesota, she taught MEd students in elementary education, served as the assistant director for the Multicultural Summer Research Opportunities Program (MSROP) in the university's graduate school, and coached teachers in Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Miami, Florida. In addition to teaching and administration, she continues to serve on the editorial board for the Journal of Southeast Asian American Education & Advancement.

Ruslana Westerlund Ruslana Westerlund

Ruslana Westerlund is an associate researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Education Research Center, WIDA Consortium, Academic Language and Literacy Initiatives Department. Her responsibilities include re-conceptualization and development of tools for the English Language Development (ELD) Standards Framework by working with teachers and researchers to inform the WIDA ELD Standards Framework.

She is bicultural and trilingual, having been born and raised in Ukraine. Ruslana is an English language development specialist of culturally and linguistically diverse learners. She believes that language development for these learners is situated at the intersection of the societal, school, and student socio-cultural contexts (Cortez, 1986) and that education of such learners encompasses issues beyond language and is deeply rooted in social justice.

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