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Social Issues and Diversity

Position Statement on the Rights of Deaf Learners to Acquire Full Proficiency in a Native Signed Language (July 2009; PDF)
TESOL supports multilingualism and the right to advanced literacy in both native and second languages. In the case of Deaf students, TESOL recognizes and supports Deaf learners’ right to become proficient in a signed language or written or spoken language(s), including English. For learners who are hearing impaired, the learning of signed language and the promotion of the Deaf community’s linguistic identity are fundamental to engagement in the second language acquisition process and their need to participate fully in the Deaf community.

Position Statement Opposing Bullying, Harassment, and Hate Crimes (March 2009; PDF) 
English language educators working with racial and linguistic minorities; women; and gay, lesbian, and transgendered people must make clear that diversity among human beings is not only to be tolerated but celebrated. As the global association for English language educators, TESOL values individual language rights, collaboration in a global community, and respect for diversity and multiculturalism. TESOL strongly opposes bullying, harassment, and hate crimes.

Position Statement on Fairness and Equity in ESL Program Reduction (March 2009; PDF) 
When economic conditions necessitate cutbacks in funding, TESOL urges public policy makers and managers of educational institutions to exercise fairness and equity in administering program cuts so as not to disadvantage culturally and linguistically diverse student populations or those who may already be suffering the debilitating effects of poverty.

Position Statement on English as a Global Language (April 2008; PDF) 
With English being taught globally for very diverse purposes, a singular or monolithic approach to the modeling of English is no longer tenable. TESOL encourages the recognition and appreciation of all varieties of English, including dialects, creoles, and world Englishes.

Position Statement on the Identification of English Language Learners with Special Educational Needs (March 2007; 90 KB PDF) 
The disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education has become an issue that has received increased attention, especially in countries with a growing population of English language learners such as the United States. In identifying English language learners with special education needs, several key issues need to be addressed.

Position Statement on the Diversity of English Language Learners in the United States (October 2006; PDF
Beginning in the 1990s, surges in immigration and other demographic trends in the United States have had dramatic impacts upon both the number and diversity of the students and adults referred to as English language learners. These complex and interrelated differences have a tremendous impact on the ways these individuals learn English and, even more importantly, on the time required for them to reach academic-level proficiency in English.

Position Statement Against Discrimination of Nonnative Speakers of English in the Field of TESOL (March 2006; PDF) 
All educators should be evaluated within the same criteria. Nonnative English-speaking educators should not be singled out because of their native language. TESOL strongly opposes discrimination against nonnative English speakers in the field of English language teaching.

Position Statement on Multilingualism (October 2004; PDF) 
Although TESOL's mission is to advance excellence in English language teaching, TESOL values and encourages multilingualism in all learners at every age and level. TESOL supports and encourages programs that foster skills in both first and additional languages.

Position Statement on International Education (March 2003; PDF) 
TESOL values international education and exchange as a critical component of quality education at every level. TESOL therefore urges governments and institutions to promote and support international education and exchange.

Position Statement Opposing Discrimination (October 2001; PDF)
TESOL's official position statement opposing discrimination.

Position Statement on Language Rights (October 2000; PDF)

Position Paper on Family Involvement in the Education of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Students (June 2000) 
This position paper discusses TESOL's recommendations to improve family involvement in ESOL student education in the United States.

Position Statement on Native Language Support in the Acquisition of English as a Second Language (ESL) (December 1999)

Position Statement on the Acquisition of Academic Proficiency in English (August 1999: PDF)

Position Statement of the TESOL Board on African American Vernacular English (March 1997) 
TESOL affirms that the variety of English known as African American Vernacular English, Black English, Ebonics, and sometimes by other names has been shown through research to be a rule-governed linguistic system, with its own lexical, phonological, syntactic, and discourse patterns and, thus, deserves pedagogical recognition.

Position Statement of the TESOL Board on Language Varieties (October 1996) 
TESOL encourages the recognition and appreciation of all varieties of English, including dialects, creoles, and World Englishes; recognizes the desirability of bi- and multidialectism, as well as bi- and multilingualism; promotes discussion and information dissemination regarding language varieties; advocates for dialect-fair assessment instruments and placement for students; and views positively the development of curricula that encourage awareness of language variation.