By Mayeen Farooqui MA Ed., Anthony Ortizo MA Ed
The CLASSRoad LangCred team recently provided an online course, LangCred: Discovering Pathways to Japanese Language Credentialing, to individuals interested in learning more about pathways to credentialing for teaching Japanese language and culture. Underwritten by a grant from the Japan Foundation, the interactive course provided an opportunity for participants to discuss their experiences, goals, and aspirations for teaching and then introduced them to LangCred, an online STARTALK infrastructure project website for discovering pathways to teacher credentialing and for networking with other professionals with similar interests.
K-12 world language teachers in the U.S. increasingly seek credentials to teach, however obtaining accurate information about state credential procedures and requirements is challenging. Potential teachers must distinguish between academic background, content language, pedagogy requirements, and state application procedures. A casual glance at most state websites can cause teachers to feel frustrated and overwhelmed, and many exclaim that although information is displayed, it is often complicated, scattered, and unorganized. This can present a challenge for language teachers who do not speak English as their native language.
The recent LangCred: Discovering Pathways to Japanese Language Credentialing course was a free, customized, online Moodle-based two-week course for U.S. K-12 teachers of Japanese. During the course, participants shared information about their teaching experiences and goals, and were encouraged to network with other professionals interested in pursuing a Japanese language credential. Each participant created a unique user profile and practiced searching for pathways to credentialing on the site, attended a one-hour live webinar and training, and used LangCred.org to identify concrete steps for pursuing a Japanese teaching credential.
During the one-hour live webinar, the LangCred team of educators demonstrated how to navigate LangCred.org and match, search, save, and compare credential routes and teacher programs, along with how to access rich resources and others in the LangCred Community. Following the webinar, LangCred educators continued to engage with participants via email.
The training program was a great success! Participants greatly benefited from both the LangCred website and training program, and shared
“It was very informative. Love the site due to the easiness of navigation.”
“This was more than I expected…what I learned was that one who wants to teach in US school system needs to be certified as a teacher… I learned I need to do a lot more.”
Some remarked that the program increased their familiarity with the credentialing process and are impressed at their new ability to distinguish between states with Japanese teaching credential routes and teacher programs. Some have even claimed they will pursue teaching credentials because of the course.
CLASSRoad is developing similar training programs for language teacher groups and will use the LangCred site as a basis for helping teachers build their pathway to credentialing.
CLASSRoad, a non-profit education/technology initiative and leader in online professional development for world language teachers, recognizes the challenges in searching for information on obtaining a U.S. K-12 world language teaching credential. In March of 2015, CLASSRoad launched the dynamic resource website LangCred.org that displays simplified information on state procedures and requirements for language teacher credentialing. LangCred.org is a STARTALK Infrastructure project and a first-of-its-kind interactive resource website for information on U.S. world language teacher credentialing. Users can search for credential routes and state-approved language teacher programs from the 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. After making a user account teachers can match, search, save, and compare routes and programs, and participate in the LangCred Community forum. LangCred displays a searchable list of state approved transcript evaluation agencies along with rich resources such as webinar recordings, state exam links, articles, and a glossary of credentialing terminology, since most world language teachers with degrees from outside the U.S. must obtain transcript evaluations to determine if they are eligible to pursue credentials.