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CARLA Presentation: Creating Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers of Less Commonly Taught Languages: Case Study of a Tamil Community School
Professional development for teachers of Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) can be challenging for several ideological, logistical, and language-specific reasons. Despite tremendous interest and motivation in receiving professional training, LCTL instructors rarely have access to appropriate opportunities or necessary resources. This presentation explores how one community school, where Tamil is taught as a heritage language, is striving to overcome these challenges in innovative ways. Over the past few years, the Minnesota Tamil School has taken up several short- and long-term initiatives to train its teachers through state and national level collaborations, partnerships with researchers, and diversification of teaching and learning platforms. The presenters trace the school’s decade-long journey in offering teacher support, their ongoing challenges, and future plans in continuing to promote and sustain the Tamil language.

Anuradha Gopalakrishnan is a language researcher and educator with over fifteen years of experience teaching multiple languages including German, English, and Tamil. Her research interests lie in the intersection of teacher education and multilingual pedagogies. Her recent work has focused on working with heritage language teachers, particularly with those teaching Less Commonly Taught Languages.
Siva Mariyappan founded the Minnesota Tamil School in 2008 and has been serving as its Course Director for over a decade. He was one of the founders of the American Tamil Academy as well as the American Tamil Teachers Association where he currently serves as its Communication Director. He has been leading the nationwide effort to draft the National Tamil Standards since 2018. His mission is to help all Tamil teachers working voluntarily in over 300 independent, nonprofit community schools throughout the U.S.

Feb 16, 2022 12:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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