Changes in the Expertise of ESL Professionals: Knowledge and Action in an Era of New Standards

By Guadalupe Valdés, Amanda Kibler, Aida Walqui

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Description

Common Core and Next Generation standards present new challenges and possibilities for English as a-second language (ESL) professionals. In addition, the implementation of the standards raise critical questions about long-established ideas about the teaching and learning of English as a second language.

This paper, cowritten by Aida Walqui of WestEd’s Quality Teaching for English Learners, explores the shifting landscape surrounding the new standards and its implications for building and enacting teacher expertise.

The paper is intended to inform ESL professionals, including teachers, teacher-leaders, school principals, district administrators, and other K–12 educators who work primarily or exclusively with students labeled as English language learners (ELLs).

The authors: 

  • Discuss, and provide a brief introduction to, the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards
  • Discuss the English language proficiency standards; that is, the standards that establish the goals of ESL instruction in each state as well as the assessment of expected proficiencies
  • Address two key challenges facing ESL professionals in the new standards era: the language practices required by the standards themselves and the issue of how ELLs can best be included in standards-aligned instruction
  • Suggest key ways in which ESL professionals can translate knowledge of changing theories about language and language acquisition into expertise and action in supporting ELLs’ needs in the new standards era