ESOL Teachers as Advocates: An Important Role?
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Due to the fact that English language learners (ELLs) often do not have the same educational opportunities or outcomes as non-ELL students in the United States, the professional standards for initial certification for teaching English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) call on ESOL teachers to advocate for them. Yet little research exists on how ESOL teachers view this role or what advocacy actions they believe are important.
In this study of preservice teachers in ESOL teacher education programs, the majority of participants rate the advocacy actions as important to the ESOL teacher role. Advocacy actions in the classroom and school are rated as more important than those outside the school in the community.
The study also reveals two factors that are positively associated with beliefs about the importance of advocacy: more time in the teacher education program and having other teaching experience besides ESOL.
Based on this research, the author suggests more clearly delineated advocacy actions to better prepare preservice ESOL teachers in teacher education programs for classroom and school-based advocacy and to support in-service ESOL teachers in different levels of advocacy (in the classroom and school or beyond) at different stages in their careers.
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