Coming up soon
Coming up soon
The following inter-related goals guide the academy in its professional program development, implementation, and assessment:
Action research has gained unprecedented momentum in the United States and internationally with its growing recognition as an integral part of initial or advanced teacher training. This interest is fueled by the evidence that teacher quality and teachers’ ability to reflect on their instructional practice critically affects students’ learning outcomes (Darling-Hammond, 2006). Additionally, this project strengthens the link between practitioner research and the emancipatory theory of the late Brazilian educator Paulo Friere and, thus, emphasizes the problemtization of teaching and learning issues within the schooling context to highlight teachers’ roles as change agents and decision-makers.
A unique feature of this project is the pivotal intersectional roles assigned to action research, mother tongue, and social-emotional learning in the teaching praxis for Tibetan teachers for improving children’s academic outcomes. Thus, this academy aims to develop pedagogical, instructional, and curricular strategies aligned with the schooling culture of Tibetan schools to improve their students’ educational experiences.
A pilot program for professional development will be planned and undertaken with utmost attention to the Tibetan schooling process and culture for integrating action research, social-emotional learning, and the mother tongue’s academic language. To this end, teachers with content expertise will be invited to participate in a two-day interactive workshop. The participants will be introduced to different areas of action research, social-emotional learning, and bilingual education principles. Participants will engage in carefully guided small group works to enhance their ability to relate action research, social-emotional learning, and the role of mother-tongue to their classroom contexts. A part of the second day will be devoted primarily to help teachers develop an action plan for implementing action research in their classroom, specifically focusing on their content areas and classroom cultural context. There will be time for reflection, sharing, and celebration.
The insights and experiences gained from this pilot program will help develop a series of interactive professional development workshops, which will be further refined and improved at the participating school sites. New cases and workshops will be constructed and presented to ensure that teachers’ professional needs are met effectively. In addition, the academy will share Tibetan teachers’ subsequent research outcomes within and outside of Tibetan schools to encourage others to engage in professional development.
MOTHER-TONGUE LANGUAGE POLICY
The role of a strong additive bilingual education in developing self-esteem and academic achievement of school children has been well documented and established. Furthermore, students’ high proficiency in one’s mother tongue greatly facilitates linguistic ability in the second or third language (Baker & Kanter, 1983; Swain & Lapkin, 1991; Willig, 1985). To this end, UNESCO (1953) has made it very clear that one must make every possible attempt to provide education in the mother tongue since the child “learns more quickly through it than an unfamiliar linguistic medium.”
However, differences in minority and majority language status and power relations between dominant and other languages impact student and community perception and receptivity. Hence, impactful language policy and strategies are vitally important to ensure the continued success of bilingual education. Insights gained from this program will provide a sound rationale for elevating the Tibetan language to Schedule VIII of the Indian constitution.
The status and corpus planning are critical parts of language management, as they are closely linked to language acquisition. Thus, the elevation of Tibetan language status is intimately connected with the schools’ ability to enhance mother-tongue and bilingual education. The status enhancement will also encourage students from the dominant language to master the Tibetan language included in Schedule VIII of the Indian constitution. This elevation will hopefully inspire and encourage Tibetans in China-occupied Tibet who witness an onslaught of Tibetan language repression and suppression in its birthplace.
Pedagogical, curricular, and research insights gained from our collaboration with Tibetan educators and children will regularly be disseminated through the News Update section on our website. Professional workshops will be offered at conferences and school sites to widen the circle of educational benefits beyond Tibetans in exile.
Although Tibetan teachers’ professional development is the raison d’etre of this project, our ultimate goal is to share and disseminate new insights, new models, and instructional practices to our global community via news outlets, workshops, research publications, and seminars. Like streams of water flowing into the ocean, we envision that this program will provide an impetus and inspiration to transform learning for children all over the world.