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TESOL Releases Report on Preparation of ESL Teachers

by David Cutler | 05/11/2016
Alexandria, VA (11 May 2016) – TESOL International Association, the global professional association for English language educators, has released a new report that focuses on the future of ESL teacher preparation in the United States. Based on the outcomes of a convening of ESL teachers, administrators, and policy leaders, “The Preparation of the ESL Educator in the Era of College- and Career-Readiness Standards” identifies the preparation needs and the changing role of ESL educators in the era of new standards.

The convening, which was held in September 2015, brought together approximately 30 ESL teachers, administrators, university faculty, and English learner (EL) policy leaders to discuss the future of ESL teacher preparation. This convening built on a similar gathering in 2013, where teachers and education experts identified the need to reconceptualize, redefine, and support the role of ESL teachers within the framework of the College- and Career-Ready Standards and Assessments (CCRS). The 2015 convening was framed around four questions:

• What has changed for ESL educators with the implementation of the CCRS?
• What is the current state of professional preparation of ESL educators?
• How should professional preparation of ESL educators change?
• What are recommendations for policy changes to support ESL educators?

The report highlights a number of findings and recommendations regarding current practices in schools and teacher preparation programs, as well as the future of ESL teacher training. Among the report’s key findings are

• ESL teachers are co-teaching more often with content-area teachers.
• ESL teachers are providing more professional development, mentoring, and coaching to their content-area peers.
• Schools and districts have increasingly recognized ESL teachers as experts in the field of English language teaching and learning.
• ESL teachers are not learning leadership skills in teacher preparation programs.
• Concerns continue to grow regarding ESL student test scores negatively affecting teacher evaluations.
• Some ESL teacher preparation programs do not give preservice teachers opportunities to work with ESL students in the classroom.

The newly released report also offers a number of recommendations for the preparation of ESL teachers. In response to the use of ESL teachers as coaches and mentors, the report urges teacher preparation programs to provide leadership training to preservice teachers. It also encourages teacher preparation programs to provide preservice teachers with better in-classroom experiences to ensure that ESL teachers are adequately prepared for the realities of teaching in an ESL classroom. For more findings and recommendations from the convening, please read the full report.

The 2015 convening was instrumental in addressing and advocating for the needs of many preservice ESL teachers. TESOL International Association will continue to urge teacher preparation programs to adopt the recommendations published in this report and prepare ESL teachers for long and successful careers in the classroom.

About TESOL International Association  
Founded in 1966, TESOL International Association is a professional community of educators, researchers, administrators, and students committed to advancing excellence in English language teaching for speakers of other languages worldwide. With more than 13,000 members representing over 150 countries, TESOL fosters the exchange of ideas, research, and peer-to-peer knowledge, and provides expertise, resources, and a powerful voice on issues affecting the profession. Through professional development programs, its international conference, special interest groups, and publications, TESOL engages tens of thousands of professionals to collaborate globally and create a world of opportunity for millions of people of all ages who want to learn English.