April 7, 2014
ESL Teachers in Common-Core Era Need Different Prep, Paper Argues
Lesli A. Maxwell
As public schools move headlong into teaching new, more rigorous
standards in reading, math, and science, English-as-a-second-language
teachers must become more involved in the central enterprise
of teaching and supporting academic content for ELL students
than has traditionally been the case, a
new paper argues.
that work for ESL professionals will require some major shifts
in how these teachers are prepared before they ever enter the
classroom, contend authors Guadalupe Valdés, Amanda Kibler,
and Aída Walqui. (Valdés is an education professor
at Stanford University, Kibler is an assistant professor of
education at the University of Virginia, and Walqui directs
teacher professional development for WestEd, a San Francisco-based
education research, development, and services agency.)
in applied linguistics, second-language acquisition, and methods
for teaching second-language learners in the areas of reading,
writing, listening, and speaking will no longer be enough, they
say. For example, ESL teachers need to understand the language
and language practices that are specific to different subject
areas and disciplines.
this does not mean that language teachers must become biology
teachers or algebra teachers, it does imply that they need to
understand how and why language is used in various disciplines,"
they write. The report goes into much more depth on the topic
of ESL professionals and their role in the era of new academic
content standards that expect and demand full participation
of ELLs, regardless of their proficiency levels.
The paper was published last month by the TESOL International
Association, the professional organization for teachers who
specialize in working with English-learners.