Professional Development for Educators

First Literacy supports Adult Basic Education(ABE) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in Massachusetts with free professional development workshops for educators, program administrators, coordinators, and counselors across the state.

We plan our professional development offerings based on formal survey data and are uniquely positioned to quickly respond to the interests and needs of adult basic education programs as they arise.

The goal of these workshops is to strengthen ABE and ESOL programs by providing approaches and resources that participants may implement immediately and share with their colleagues. Most workshops consist of two three-hour sessions and are facilitated by First Literacy and local ABE/ESOL professionals.

In the 2017 – 2018 school year:

  • 27 workshops covering 14 topics were held, offering 75 hours of FREE teacher training
  • 88 Massachusetts programs were represented, including 27 NEW programs
  • 65% are programs NOT funded by DESE (the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)
  • 272 educators attended a workshop
  • 110 were first-time attendees
  • 63 different towns and cities, including 16 Boston neighborhoods and 7 NEW towns were represented by educators
  • 5 NEW state regions hosted training sponsored by First Literacy
  • More than 7,400 adult students were impacted by teachers’ participation

Register for Workshops

Workshop registrations will open about one month before each event with an active link below to register and learn more.  PLEASE NOTE: WE FOLLOW BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOL POLICY FOR SNOW DAYS.

If you are interested in a workshop that is marked WORKSHOP FULL, please contact to be placed on a waitlist.

Unless otherwise noted, all workshops will be held at First Literacy, 160 Boylston Street, second floor, across from Boston Common.

We carefully manage waiting lists for popular workshops. If you have registered for a workshop and find you cannot attend, please do let us know — we understand that things come up. PLEASE NOTE that if you miss three workshops without notifying us, you might jeopardize your future attendance. Thanks for your cooperation and understanding.

Teaching ESOL Using Art, Text and Children’s Literature WORKSHOP FULL
Friday, January 4 and February 1, 2019
1:00 – 4:00 PM

Learning and the Brain: A Four-Session Mini Course
Friday, January 11, January 25, February 8, and March 1, 2019
1:00 – 4:00 PM
NOTE: To register for the whole four-session mini course click on the title above. To register for individual session(s) click on the select title(s) below:
1. Friday, January 11: An Overview of the Brain and Learning
2. Friday, January 25: Student Speak: The Essential Role of Elaboration in Student Learning
3. Friday, February 8: Developing Student Resilience: Encouraging Effortful Learning
4. Friday, March 1: Multimodal Learning: Engaging the Whole Brain in the Classroom

Teaching the Language of Math in the Classroom
Friday, January 18 and February 15, 2019
1:00 – 4:00 PM

Popular Education Principles and Practices
Monday, February 11, 2019
1:00 – 4:00 PM

Teaching Reading and Writing for College Transitions
Friday, March 8 and April 12, 2019
1:00 – 4:00 PM

Our 2018-2019 Workshop Calendar

To review our upcoming offerings and plan your schedule go to: 2018-2019 First Literacy Professional Development Calendar

Find Workshop Materials.

Click here to access resources from past workshops.

Ask a Question.

For more information, please contact Director of Professional Development, Lenore Balliro, at or at 617.482.3336 x13.

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