SPELTAC: A whole-school, work-based collaborative learning platform for supporting emergent bilinguals in international schools

Professional learning is more than a workshop or a conference. Those who engage in day-to-day professional dialogues are constantly learning and up-skilling themselves.  ISPP’s school priority for the 2015-2017 school years with regard to professional growth and learning was focused on supporting English language learners across the school. During this school year (2016-2017), all faculty engaged with SPELTAC, Social Platform for English Language Teaching Across the Curriculum.

I developed SPELTAC, because I wanted to design a differentiated, self-directed programme that would sustain good teaching practice for English language learners. I was enthused by the possibilities of technology and connected learning so I designed a learning management system for English language teaching with a focus on international mindedness, based on the premise that most students in international schools are learning on a bilingual continuum. I felt that what was needed was a long-term shift in thinking about how language should be integrated and valued in international education, how it is central to learning and international mindedness. I wanted to design a model of professional development that would be an ongoing part of educators’ learning, which could constantly be explored, revisited and strengthened.

“Learning is defined by our times (Siemens, 2004). But learning will always be accelerated by feedback, connectivity and reflection. In international English-medium schools, professional learning about teaching bilingual learners through an internationally minded approach will remain constants. The dialogue about how to support the linguistic needs of students who are learning in a language other than their mother tongue must be continued. These are the principles upon which SPELTAC is based.”


SPELTAC is a huge success. The platform now has over 100 faculty members from ISPP and other schools and close to 200 blog posts have been written, and we are only at the start of the seven online courses offered. SPELTAC has the potential to facilitate collaborative learning, model and enthuse teachers to implement 21st century literacy practices, make visible what is needed in a school, celebrate growth and achievement and create institutional memory. So far, many teachers are enthused and SPELTAC has proven to be a catalyst for making connections offline too. The virtual learning environment mimics the inquiry classroom, it brings to the surface what colleagues are thinking and learning about, and it is a place where teachers can inspire each other and build on each other’s understanding. Please visit SPELTAC for more information, follow #SPELTAC on Twitter or Facebook.

Presentations and Workshops

For Teachers

Introduction to SPELTAC, International School of Phnom Penh, August 2016

Introduction to SPELTAC, Rethinking Literacy Conference, UWC Singapore, May 2017

Blogging for professional learning and forming an inquiry group for SPELTAC, International School Phnom Penh, September 2016

Professional Learning through SPELTAC: A Connected Learning Approach,  Learning2 Asia, HCMC, October 2016

Cohort Leader for EAL/ESL, Learning2 Asia, HCMC, October 2016

Using Twitter for Professional Learning, TEKHin Conference, Phnom Penh, October 2016

SPELTAC- Social Platform for English Language Teaching Across the Curriculum, English Language Learning Specialists Asia, March 2016

It’s Smarter to Work Together- Faculty EAL workshops, March 2015

For Parents

Raising a bilingual child and the importance of the home language in an international school context, ISPP, Phnom Penh, October 2015

EAL at ISPP Elementary, Parent Information Workshop, ISPP, Phnom Penh, November 2015


SPELTAC: A New Professional Learning Landscape for International Schools

EARCOS Triannual Journal Spring Edition 2017

A new professional learning landscape for English language teaching

International School Magazine, Spring Edition 2017, p.58

Learning a second language in theory and practice. A teacher’s perspective on the importance of spoken language in a multilingual classroom

International Journal of Pedagogy, Innovation and New Technologies


A video created to introduce a new model for EAL

A video created for a parent workshop on the importance of the home language