Leading A Response to the Changing Demography of International Schools

What Administrators Need to Know & Do for English Learners’ Academic Success


Dr. Virginia P. Rojas

Language Education Specialist

March 19 - 20, 2018

Bangkok, Thailand



As the demography of international schools continues to change with the result that every classroom has more English learners than ever before, it is necessary to turn the often-heard mantra, ‘every teacher is a language teacher’ into classroom practice. These immersion classrooms differ from past practices and as such require EAL- responsive and responsible leadership.  


This two-day, solution-driven session - specifically designed for administrators  -  focuses on the EAL-immersion issues in schools with a majority of students coming from non-native English backgrounds.

Workshop Goals

  • Distinguish between historical, deficit-based vs. current, asset-based EAL paradigms as they relate specifically to international-school settings; 

  • Make informed decisions on the most effective EAL program options based on school-specific variables; 

  • Understand the changing roles and responsibilities of EAL specialists from “fixers” of students to coaches of colleagues so that indeed “all teachers are teachers of language and of language learners” ;

  • Establish responsive school-wide practices for increased collaboration between EAL specialists and mainstream teachers (whether in push in or pull out programs);  

  • Understand how classroom teachers and EAL specialists can seamlessly work together to differentiate and scaffold progressively instruction and assessment equitably without resorting to past instructional approaches such as modifications, interventions, remediation, accommodations, or simplifications (MIRAS);

  • Recognize the differences between immersion for English learners vs. inclusion for learning support students in international-school settings (including how to determine who is who); and

  • Utilize self-assessment tools to determine strategic action plans for improving the learning environment for English learners as well as for all other learners.

Implementable Skills

After this workshop leaders will be able to:

Discuss how historical EAL programs in English-speaking countries significantly differ from EAL programs for international-school “elite” populations;

Determine which EAL program options best fit your school’s current student demography and staff capacities;

Ask specific interview questions and utilize an EAL Specialist Checklist in order to make best hiring decisions for building school-wide EAL capacities;

Review indicators of what to look for in instructionally-responsive classrooms for  English learners from early years through secondary (whether it be in or out of classrooms);

Examine issues related to English learners who may not make as much progress as their peers (i.e. social and cultural anomie, fossilization, etc.);

Distinguish the instructional differences between inclusion for learning needs students vs. immersion for English learners (as well as utilize a protocol for distinguishing between the two populations);

Problem solve authentic EAL scenarios with other leaders in order to build a repertoire of research-based common agreements; and

Self-assess the status of EAL policies, programs, and practices using a research- based checklist in order to strategically plan for improvement.

Workshop Agenda


Session 1 Introduction to a professional knowledge base on past EAL paradigms, programs, and practices as they relate to English learners in international-schools


Session 2 Explore a typology of possible program provisions for English learners in terms of their effectiveness (with an eye on demography and capacity)


Session 3 Participate in simulated interviews in order to know what to ask and what to look for when hiring EAL specialists who can move the program forward

Session 4 Explore indicators of responsive classrooms for English learners (i.e. build academic language using the IB command terms, leverage students’ primary languages and cultures, teach up using scaffolding strategies, and differentiated instruction for English learners (without modifying, accommodating, simplifying, or remediating)



Session 1 Explore issues related to English learners who may not make as much progress as their peers (i.e. social and cultural anomie, fossilization, learning issues)

Session 2 Examine differences between programs and instructional approaches for learning needs students vs. programs and instructional approaches for English learners

Session 3 Problem solve with peers ways to change the ‘ELL culture’ of the past with the current philosophies and programs

Session 4 Use a research-based self-assessment checklist to design a strategic action plan for responsive and effective learning experiences for English learners

Target Audience

  • Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle  and High School Principals

  • Administrators who support principals


Note:  This session is not intended for EAL teachers or specialists.


9.00 am  - 4.00 pm

March 19 - 20, 2018

Marriott Sukhumvit Park

Bangkok, Thailand

Course Fee


Early Bird (Register by Nov 17, 2017)

USD 700/Baht 23,100

Regular (Register by Feb 28, 2018)

USD 750/Baht 24,750

Group of 3 or more

(Register by Feb 28, 2018)

USD 700/Baht 23,100 per participant



Sonthaya Chutisacha

Workshop Coordinator



Course Leader


Virginia Rojas, Ed.D. conducts professional training on effective programs and strategies for English learners from pre-school through grade 12 for ESL and classroom teachers alike.


As an ASCD faculty member, Dr. Rojas uses the backwards design curriculum model to  help teachers design high-challenge, high-support learning experiences for strengthening English learners' second language proficiency and academic achievement. 


She provides professional development trainings, job-embedded coaching and demonstration lessons, and conducts linguistic audits of EAL (English as an Additional Language) program. She has worked in over 200 international schools throughout the world as well as with school districts in the US and Canada. 


Dr. Rojas is the author of Strategies for Success with English Language Learners: An Action Toolkit for Classroom and ESL Teachers published by ASCD (2007) and of Educating English Language Learners: Connecting Language, Literacy, and Culture (2010), ASCD DVD Series.

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