California Teaching Program Helps Younger Students Prepare for College

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Reviewed by Mary McLaughlin, Ma-TESOL; M.S. SpEd

Preparing for college is an important part of the life of any senior in high school. They are not alone. A high school teacher’s primary goal is to make sure that students are prepared to enter into the real world and are capable of engaging with academic material at a college level.

As a part of this process 5,000 English teachers in the state of California will finish out this summer taking classes at California State University. Specifically CSU’s Expository Reading and Writing Course. This course was initially designed to assist 12th grade English teachers as they worked to prepare their students for the rigors of college writing.

The course is free, and offered at two-dozen different locations across the state of California. Spread over 4 days, teachers will spend between 20 and 24 hours in workshops related to everything from healthy eating to racial profiling. Teachers spend much of their time reviewing and writing lesson plans and templates as well as discussing the ways certain modules have impacted their own students.

The course, which has been part of CSU’s curriculum for a decade, helped to reduce the number of students in remedial writing classes. More importantly, the class has expanded over the last three years to include teachers in grades as low as 7 with plans to open the class to 5th and 6th grade teachers next summer.

Students can develop bad learning habits that stick with them throughout their entire lives at an early age, and it can be difficult to lift students out of these entrenched habits. By using college prep techniques on students at an early age, CSU faculty believes they can improve students’ ability to succeed at the college level.

11,000 teachers in California have participated in the program so far, and 700 high schools are now offering the course to their seniors as an alternative to their traditional English courses.