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SWEL Workshops Banner - 700 x 169


The purpose of the School-Wide English Learning (SWEL) model is to "harness the expertise of ESL Teachers as a site-based resource to their colleagues." This professional learning approach originates from Michelle Benegas and Amy Stolpestad's English Learners in the Mainstream (ELM) Project and was refined by Benegas and Stolpestad in the TESOL publication Teacher Leadership for School-Wide English Learning. It is a "train-the-trainer concept of scaling ESL teacher expertise to develop school-wide knowledge for serving ELs across all content area instruction." It is important to note that implementation of the SWEL model is flexible and implementation can vary across K-12 contexts.

SWEL Professional Development Workshop

The first workshop examines what makes professional development effective for teachers and site-based decision making. Participants are trained to facilitate professional development for their peers and provided the materials to do so.

Key Outcome: To develop the teacher dispositions, knowledge, and skills needed to serve English learners effectively and respectfully

SWEL Contextual Language Workshop

The second workshop builds upon ESL teachers' existing knowledge of language learning and teaching, focusing on how to harness that knowledge and share it with general education colleagues. The contextual approach to language instruction provides a framework for developing content area language instruction and strengthening home language in the mainstream classroom. 

Key Outcome: Noticing and forecasting areas of contextual language instruction and support

SWEL Coaching Workshop & Administrator's Workshop

After completing the third workshop, ESL teachers are recognized by TESOL as certified SWEL coaches and are prepared to begin implementation of the model. Participants learn non-evaluative peer coaching principles, set SMART goals, and plan to implement the SWEL Coaching Cycle. 

The SWEL Administrator's Workshop is Inclusive of the SWEL Coaching Workshop. Administrators who attend this professional development are building-level leaders in schools and districts with ESL teachers who are enrolled in the SWEL Coaching Workshop. 

Benefits for ESL Teachers

  • Become a certified SWEL Coach upon successful completion of all course requirements
  • Develop enhanced expertise in non-evaluative, individual EL coaching and delivery of professional development to groups, which supports classroom and content teacher colleagues in feeling more prepared to meet the needs of their ELs
  • Be eligible for license renewal credit (optional, although participation requires a commitment to complete all license renewal course requirements)

Additional Benefits for Classroom & Content Teachers

For their time and effort, classroom and content teachers will gain the following:
  • Non-evaluative, pre-coaching observation(s) using the SWEL Pre-Observation Tool
  • Participation in EL-focused professional development and coaching conversations
  • Non-evaluative post-coaching observation(s) using the SWEL Post-Observation Tool
  • Ongoing access to a building-level SWEL Coach after initial experiences
For more information, see thePDF-vsm SWEL Certificate Overview or contact