Building the Workforce to Educate English Learners1
The science of child development reveals that children begin learning before birth, and their development is especially rapid during their early years (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, 2015). As discussed in Chapter 4, the adults who interact with young children significantly influence their overall development, including their language ability. Consequently, the adults who make up the workforce that is responsible for the care and education of children bear a great responsibility for their health, development, and learning (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, 2015). Further, the professional preparation and quality of teachers and educational administrators (principals, superintendents) is a variable that distinguishes between more and less effective schools (Lindholm-Leary, 2015). Among the many factors that affect student performance, research on all students strongly indicates that the quality of teachers has a significant impact on educational success (Ballantyne et al., 2008; Boyd et al., 2009; Loeb et al., 2014; Peske and Haycock, 2006; Samson and Collins, 2012).
This chapter addresses issues related to producing a well-prepared workforce to care for and educate children who are dual language learners (DLLs) and English learners (ELs).2 The first section reviews the demographics of the workforce. The discussion then turns to federal policies,
1 This chapter includes sections adapted from papers (Arias and Markos, 2016; Zepeda, 2015) commissioned by the committee for this report.
2 When referring to children ages birth to 5 in their homes, communities, or early care and education programs, this report uses the term “dual language learners” or “DLLs.” When referring to children ages 5 and older in the pre-K to 12 education system, the term “English
state certification requirements, competencies, preparation (including professional development), recruitment, and retention. Finally, issues related to school administrators and professional staff who provide school support services for DLL/ELs are discussed. The chapter ends with conclusions about this workforce that are linked with those in Chapters 10 and 11.
To address the needs of DLLs/ELs, policy makers, researchers, and organizations that set standards for competencies and practice need first to understand the existing composition and qualifications of the care and education professional (CEP) workforce for children from birth to 5 years of age and K-12 education professionals. This understanding is necessary to support the development of appropriate preservice programs for new educators and the design and provision of professional development for the current workforce.
To examine the CEP workforce, the committee used data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE), a dataset collected on both center- and home-based care and education practitioners serving children birth to age 5 who are not yet in kindergarten (National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 2013). Among the variables examined, the NSECE collected data regarding the age, gender, and ethnicity of and languages spoken by the current workforce. It found that 1 million and 3.8 million individuals, respectively—consisting of lead teachers, assistants, and aides—work in center-based child development centers and home-based settings.
With regard to the K-12 workforce, while the number of ELs and the associated teaching workforce both continue to grow, they are not aligned. The EL population constitutes 9.1 percent of the total K-12 student population, while English as a second language (ESL)/bilingual education (BLE) teachers3 make up 2 percent of K-12 teachers (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013).
A recent National Academies study examining the educational qualifications of the CEP workforce generated a recommendation that all lead educators of children from birth to age 8 have a minimum of a bachelor’s
learners” or “ELs” is used. When referring to the broader group of children and adolescents aged birth to 21, the term “DLLs/ELs” is used.
3 An ESL/BLE teacher is an individual who has earned a certification or license in the respective discipline.
degree, although the empirical evidence regarding the effects of this requirement on child outcomes is inconclusive (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, 2015). This requirement is particularly contentious as it is likely to affect the cultural and linguistic diversity of the CEP workforce. Some have argued that increasing the educational requirements for teachers may exclude currently employed teachers who share the ethnic and cultural diversity of the children they teach and who speak their languages (Bassok, 2013; Fuller et al., 2005). Others have found that with additional resources, these teachers can and do succeed in higher education (Sakai et al., 2014). Regardless of the debates about the value of a bachelor’s degree for early educators (Zigler et al., 2011), policy makers at both the federal and state levels are requiring a minimum of a bachelor’s degree with training or certification in early childhood education for individuals working in the early care and education (ECE) field (Bueno et al., 2010). The 2007 reauthorization of Head Start mandated that by 2013, 50 percent of lead teachers possess a bachelor’s degree in early childhood or a related field.4
According to the NSECE, 26 percent of center-based CEPs possessed a 4-year degree and 9 percent a graduate degree; however, data specific to members of the CEP workforce who care for and educate DLLs are not available. The distribution of college education varied by the age of children, with 45 percent of CEPs serving children ages 3-5 having a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 19 percent of those serving children birth to age 3 (National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 2013). Home-based CEPs have a lower level of educational attainment, ranging from 16 to 19 percent with a bachelor’s degree depending on whether they appear on state or national administrative lists of providers.
The Migration Policy Institute conducted an analysis of immigrants and refugees working in early childhood programs using the 2011-2013 American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau. The researchers found that the educational attainment of home-based educators in the CEP workforce varied by setting and place of birth: 48 percent of immigrants and 38 percent of U.S.-born educators had less than a high school education (Park et al., 2015).
Home visitors are an expanding sector of the CEP workforce. Prior to the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program, home visitation was provided through Early Head Start and other home visiting programs funded by federal agencies and private foundations. In 2007, Congress mandated a study of the status of DLLs participating in Head Start and Early Head Start (Administration for Children and Families, 2013). Of the 136 home visitors included in the report, 47 percent possessed a bachelor’s degree or higher, 43 percent had 5 or more years
4 Head Start Act of 2007, 42 U.S.C. 9843a § 648A (2)(A).
of experience, and 64.2 percent had received specialized training in early childhood.
In general, teachers and home visitors working with DLLs in Early Head Start had different educational profiles from those working with monolingual English-speaking children. The congressionally mandated report notes that “DLLs in home-based Early Head Start programs had home visitors who were less likely than home visitors for children from monolingual English homes to have received any college degree” (Administration for Children and Families, 2013, p. 69). The authors suggest that this difference may be due to Head Start’s efforts to match the language and ethnicity/race of staff to the child population being served. More recently, the Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation (MIHOPE) reviewed four MIECHV programs and produced information about the qualifications of home visitors (Michalopoulos et al., 2015). That evaluation found that 75 percent of home visitors and 98 percent of supervisors possessed a bachelor’s degree or higher, which presents a different picture from that found for Early Head Start.
According to 2013 public school data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), all primary public school ESL/BLE teachers have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013). Meanwhile, 8 percent of secondary school ESL/BLE teachers have less than a bachelor’s degree—almost double the percentage of total secondary school teachers (4.4%) who lack a bachelor’s degree. The percentages of ESL/BLE primary school teachers and all primary school teachers who have a master’s degree or higher (53.8% and 55.4%, respectively) are comparable. A slightly higher percentage of ESL/BLE secondary school teachers have a master’s degree or higher relative to all secondary school teachers (62.5% and 57.2%, respectively). With regard to experience, the majority of both primary and secondary ESL/BLE teachers have 3-9 years of teaching experience (44.7% and 41.4%, respectively). These percentages are higher than the 33.3 percent of all school teachers with the same amount of teaching experience.
Ethnic, Racial, and Linguistic Diversity
Since the ethnic, racial, and linguistic diversity of educators has been shown to affect student outcomes, it is important to consider these factors (Villegas and Irvine, 2010; Zepeda et al., 2011). The NCES data show that ELs in grades K-12 are most likely to have a general education teacher who is a white female ages 30-39. Based on a literature review, Villegas and Irvine (2010) concluded that well-qualified teachers of color can positively influence the learning experiences of students of color, as well as help alleviate the shortage of teachers in schools with high minority populations.
Although some research suggests that effective teachers in general are also effective teachers of ELs and that having foreign language skills and bilingual certification adds only a small increment to teacher effectiveness (Loeb et al., 2014), research in general shows that ELs are better able to transfer their knowledge and skills from their first language (L1) to English when the L1 is spoken in the classroom; therefore, educators who speak both their students’ L1 and English may be more capable of helping them improve their social and educational outcomes (Castro et al., 2013; Chang et al., 2007; Loeb et al., 2014). In contrast to the primary school workforce, studies show that one-third to one-half of the CEP workforce comprises women of color (Whitebook, 2014), who are potentially better able to understand the cultures and languages of DLLs if appropriately matched.
According to the MPI report cited earlier, an analysis of the languages spoken by the CEP workforce found that fewer than 25 percent of these professionals spoke a language other than English. However, home-based CEPs had a higher degree of cultural and linguistic commonality with the children they taught relative to preschool teachers and program directors. The vast majority of individuals speaking languages other than English worked in home-based settings and were likely foreign-born. Spanish was the most common language spoken, followed by Mandarin and Cantonese (Park et al., 2015). Since, as pointed out by Park and colleagues, much of the CEP workforce’s linguistic and cultural diversity is found in occupations with extremely low wages, the field’s existing demographic characteristics present unique challenges for the educational and professional development of this segment of the CEP workforce. (For a discussion of the quality of care in informal family-based programs, which is generally lower than that in center-based programs, see Chapter 7 [Espinosa et al., 2013].)
With regard to the home visitor sector of the CEP workforce, MIHOPE found that the majority of both supervisors and home visitors described themselves as non-Hispanic white (Michalopoulos et al., 2015). In contrast, in the 2007 congressionally mandated study of Head Start and Early Head Start, 73 percent of 136 home visitors self-identified as Hispanic, with the next largest group self-identifying as non-Hispanic white (16.7%). Data on what languages these home visitors and supervisors spoke are not available for either the congressionally mandated study or MIHOPE.
In the pre-K to 12 grades, nearly 50 percent of the student population comprises students of color, while more than 80 percent of teachers are white. A recent study conducted out of the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings (Putman et al., 2016) investigated the potential for reducing this gap. The researchers examined four points along the teaching pipeline in which there can be “leaks”: attending and completing college, interest and/or majoring in education, hiring practices, and persistence in teaching beyond a year. The results showed that achieving greater diver-
sity in the education workforce would require changing both the college completion rates of black and Hispanic students and spurring increased interest in pursuing a teaching career (Putman et al., 2016). It should be noted that this study specifically looked at how to address gaps in racial/ethnic matching and did not take into account linguistic matching, which also needs to be addressed. Given the current shortage of teachers prepared to teach DLLs/ELs, it is important that all teachers who instruct these children be trained to work with them.
Although a number of professional organizations (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, 2013; National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2012) that oversee teacher preparation programs and the accreditation of early childhood programs pay some attention to DLLs, federal, state, and local requirements governing the licensing and certification of individuals working with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers seldom do. To varying degrees, federal funding regulates and guides the requirements for educators and home visitors in the Head Start program, the MIECHV program, Military Child Care, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Guidance and regulations on serving DLLs across programs such as Head Start, for example, require that every classroom in which the majority of children speak a language other than English have a staff member who can speak that language (Administration for Children and Families, 2013).
With respect to ELs, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education (2015) have stated:
School districts have an obligation to provide the personnel and resources necessary to effectively implement their chosen EL programs. This obligation includes having highly qualified teachers to provide language assistance services, trained administrators who can evaluate these teachers, and adequate and appropriate materials for the EL programs. At a minimum, every school district is responsible for ensuring that there is an adequate number of teachers to instruct EL students and that these teachers have mastered the skills necessary to effectively teach in the district’s program for EL students.
In the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, Title II explicitly mentions ELs and expectations for teacher development plans and programs. ESSA replaces the term “highly qualified” with the term “effective,” defined as teachers who meet the applicable state certification and licensure requirements, including any requirements for certification obtained through alternative routes to certification or, with regard to special education teach-
ers, the qualifications described in Section 612(a)(14)(C) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(14)(C)).
STATE CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
Each state sets its own policies regarding employment qualifications for ECE professionals in both the public and private sectors, except for Head Start and Military Child Care, whose requirements are set by the federal government (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, 2015). In public and private preschools, about 25 percent of teachers meet state licensing requirements. Within state-funded pre-K programs, certification, licensure, or endorsement is required.
Similarly, each state has its own requirements for K-12 teacher certification. Some states have established criteria at the preservice level, while others have specialist requirements beyond initial certification. Although all 50 states plus the District of Columbia offer a certificate in teaching ESL,5López and colleagues (2013) identify only 21 states that require a specialized certification to teach ELs and only 20 states that require all teachers to have knowledge specific to the education of ELs. The authors identify 7 states that have no requirements for certification or specific knowledge to teach ELs and 12 states that have preservice teacher requirements only for ESL/BLE specialists. The findings of this study demonstrate the uneven range of knowledge and skills required by each state. Additionally, according to a recent report, all 50 states plus the District of Columbia require teachers who provide instruction in English to establish that they are fluent in English, while only 39 states require that teachers who teach in a language other than English establish that they are fluent in that language (U.S. Department of Education, 2016). The issue of preparing teachers to educate ELs effectively is especially salient for states with large populations of ELs and those with increasing numbers of such students.
The following tables review state requirements for preparation of EL teachers through two lenses: states with the largest populations of ELs and those with the fastest-growing percentages of ELs. Table 12-1 identifies the 10 states most impacted by EL enrollment based on the percentages of ELs. The row for the United States provides totals for each column for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. (See Appendix B for data on all 50 states and the District of Columbia.)
Across the nation, more than 340,000 teachers are EL certified/licensed teachers working in Title III programs. Three of the 10 states with the
5 2009-2010 data from the National Comprehensive Center on Teacher Quality. Available: http://www.gtlcenter.org/sites/default/files/docs/CertificationandLicensureforTeachersofELLs.pdf [February 23, 2017].
highest percentages of ELs estimate a need for more than 15,000 certified EL teachers in the next 5 years; Nevada will require more than 16,000, an increase of 590 percent. The majority of the 10 states require teachers of ELs to have a specialist (ESL or BLE) certificate/license to work with ELs. With regard to certification and licensure, Table 12-1 shows that all 10 states offer an ESL or BLE certificate or license. It also shows that despite the large percentages of ELs in these states, only California and Florida require that all teachers complete minimal coursework in methods of teaching ELs.
In addition to ESL/BLE teachers, there is a need for ESL/BLE teacher aides, especially those who are trained to support academic learning. In 2011-2012, the average ratio of ELs to Title III teachers for the top 10 states with the fastest-growing EL populations was 66:1; the average ratio of ELs to ESL/BLE teacher aides was 36:1. Thus, in many states with the fastest-growing populations of ELs, an EL is more likely to work with an aide than a Title III teacher (see Table 12-2), and aides may not have formal qualifications to instruct children in language and content learning. (Appendix C contains student and teacher data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.) These ratios clearly demonstrate a shortage of both Title III qualified teachers and ESL/BLE teacher aides (see Table 12-2).
From these data, the committee concludes that the variations in state policies regarding teacher qualifications to instruct ELs result in variations in the preparation and supply of teachers and aides available to work with ELs. As highlighted in the Brookings report (Putman et al., 2016), these variations indicate the need to consider policies on the preparation of high-quality teachers for this population, as well as measures to encourage novice or beginning teachers to enter this workforce.
Some of the most influential factors in high-quality and effective practices for DLLs/ELs are the knowledge, skills, and expertise of the CEPs working with them. For children in the early grades, teacher effectiveness—defined as achieving best outcomes for children—has been identified as one of the most important variables in their achievement (García and García, 2012). There has been some development and delineation of specific educator competencies for serving DLLs/ELs (California Department of Education and First 5 California, 2011; López et al., 2012; Zepeda et al., 2011). Professional organizations and researchers have concluded that to be effective educators of these children and youth, educators need to be knowledgeable in six major content areas (Association for Childhood Education International, n.d.; Espinosa, 2013; National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2009; Zepeda et al., 2011):
TABLE 12-1 Teacher Certification: 10 States with the Highest Percentages of English Learners in 2013-2014
|2013-2014 Number of Certified/Licensed Title III Teachersa||Additional Certified/Licensed Title III Teachers Needed in the Next 5 Yearsa||Percent Increase in Number of Certified/Licensed Title III Teachers Needed||State Offers ESL Certificate/Licenseb||State Offers BLE Certificate/Licenseb||State Requires All Teachers to Complete Coursework in Methods of Teaching ELsb||State Requires Teachers to Obtain a Specialist (ESL/BLE) Certificate/Licensec|
|District of Columbia||89||345||388||Yes||Yes||No||No|
NOTE: BLE = bilingual education; EL = English learner; ESL = English as a second language.
a National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA) Title III State Profiles. Available: http://www.ncela.us/t3sis/index.php.
b National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (2009).
c López et al., 2013, Table A1. It should be noted that some states, such as Florida, utilize endorsements rather than certification/licensure.
SOURCE: Arias and Markos (2016).
- understanding the structural aspects of language development (e.g., syntax, phonology) and the development of both L1 and the second language (English) (L2);
- understanding the role of culture and its linkage to language development;
- acquiring knowledge and developing skills with respect to effective instructional practices for promoting development and learning in DLLs/ELs;
- understanding the role of assessment and how to implement appropriate assessment strategies with DLLs/ELs;
- understanding the teacher’s role as a professional in the education of DLLs/ELs; and
- understanding how to engage families.
TABLE 12-2 English Learners and Teachers and Teacher Aides with Formal Qualifications to Teach Them, States with the Fastest-Growing Populations of English Learners, 2011-2012
|State||Number of ELs Receiving Servicesa||Number of Title III Teachersa||Number of ESL/BLE Teacher Aidesb||Teacher-to-Student Ratio||Teacher Aide-to-Student Ratio|
|Average for these 10 states||66||36|
NOTE: BLE = bilingual education; EL = English learner; ESL = English as a second language.
a Consolidated State Performance Reports (CSPRs) for 2011-2012, available at http://www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/consolidated/index.html [February 23, 2017].
b 2011-2012 School and Staffing Survey, available at https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/tables/sass1112_2013312_s2s_005.asp [February, 23, 2017].
SOURCE: Arias and Markos (2016).
Additionally, a recent review of the literature on the workforce competencies important for CEPs working with DLLs (Zepeda, 2015, pp. 23-33) identifies 10 areas of knowledge and skills important for professionals who work with culturally and linguistically diverse children:
- understanding the relationship between early brain development and language development;
- understanding the different ways in which young children become bilingual and the fact that L2 acquisition takes time;
- recognizing that switching between languages is a normal part of bilingualism and not a sign of confusion;
- understanding how to support oral language development in both L1 and L2;
- conducting assessments in both L1 and L2 and ensuring that assessors understand children’s L1 and are familiar with their culture;
- for particular age ranges, understanding and identifying appropriate pedagogical strategies;
- understanding how culture permeates all human activity, including parent-child interactions, and appreciating that parents may have different priorities for child growth and development than those of the wider culture;
- recognizing that children’s L1 is the medium through which they learn about the values and beliefs of their culture;
- understanding that families actively respond to the individual circumstances in which they live and organize their environments in a meaningful way; and
- recognizing how personal motivation and commitment influence actions taken toward DLLs.
Likewise, consensus has emerged regarding the competencies needed by K-12 teachers to work with ELs. Three studies have identified teacher competencies over the past 15 years: Lucas et al. (2008), Markos (2011), and Menken and Antunez (2001).
Knowledge areas identified by Menken and Antunez (2001) as being critical for teachers of ELs are (1) knowledge of pedagogy, (2) knowledge of linguistics, and (3) knowledge of cultural and linguistic diversity. In a survey of postsecondary institutions offering teacher preparation programs, however, the authors found that fewer than one-sixth of them required ELoriented content in their preparation of mainstream teachers (teachers of general education or content areas, such as mathematics, science, English, and social studies).
Lucas and colleagues (2008) conclude that for ELs, the process of
learning English is interwoven with their academic content learning. They propose a set of six key knowledge points for teachers of ELs:
- Conversational language proficiency is fundamentally different from academic language proficiency (Cummins, 1981, 2000), and it can take many more years for an EL to become fluent in the latter relative to the former (Cummins, 2008).
- Learners of an L2 must have access to comprehensible input that is just beyond their current level of competence (Krashen, 1982, 2003), and they must have opportunities to produce output for meaningful purposes (Swain, 1995).
- Social interaction in which ELs participate actively fosters the development of conversational and academic English (Gass, 1997; Vygotsky, 1978; Wong-Fillmore and Snow, 2005).
- ELs with strong L1 skills are more likely than those with weak L1 skills to achieve parity with native-English-speaking peers (Cummins, 2000; Thomas and Collier, 2002).
- A safe, welcoming classroom environment in which ELs experience minimal anxiety about performing in an L2 is essential for them to learn (Krashen, 2003; Pappamihiel, 2002; Verplaetse and Migliacci, 2008).
- Explicit attention to linguistic form and function is essential to L2 learning (Gass, 1997; Schleppegrell, 2004; Swain, 1995).
Because ELs take longer to achieve proficiency in academic English relative to others at the same grade level who are already English-proficient, teachers must adapt instructional methods to meet their needs (Lucas et al., 2008). Therefore, Lucas and colleagues (2008, p. 366) also suggest that all teachers need “pedagogical expertise in familiarity with the students’ linguistic and academic backgrounds; an understanding of the language demands inherent in the learning tasks that students are expected to carry out in class; and skills for using appropriate scaffolding so that [ELs] can participate successfully in those tasks.” A classroom-based practicum experience can help develop these skills.
Combining the outcomes of the above two studies, Markos (2011) conducted a literature review synthesizing the “critical areas of knowledge” (Menken and Antunez, 2001) with the “essential understandings” (Lucas et al., 2008) and other qualities, knowledge, and skills to identify themes in the preparation of EL teachers. She identifies five themes: (1) experience with language diversity, (2) a positive attitude toward linguistic diversity, (3) knowledge related to ELs, (4) knowledge of L2 acquisition, and (5) skills for simultaneously promoting content and language learning. For a summary of the literature, see Table 12-3.
Researchers have produced policy and practice recommendations regarding the preparation of educators working with DLLs/ELs (Castro et al., 2013; Samson and Collins, 2012; Samson and Lesaux, 2015). Among them are (1) leadership at the federal, state, and local levels to make the education of DLLs/ELs a priority; (2) clearer guidance from regulatory and accrediting agencies overseeing teacher certification and licensure addressing the learning needs of DLLs/ELs; (3) better coordination between the birth-5 and K-12 sectors regarding expectations for student learning; and (4) increased capacity of higher education institutions to prepare teachers to work effectively with DLLs/ELs. Three areas that are particularly salient for preparation of this educational workforce, discussed in turn below, are the capacity of higher education institutions to equip future educators to address the needs of DLLs/ELs, alternative routes to teacher preparation, and professional development approaches for those already in the classroom.
Teacher Preparation in Higher Education
Recent analyses have examined preparation programs for early childhood teachers in institutions of higher education given criticism that these programs relied on outdated content and provided inadequate experience in working with children (Bruder and Dunst, 2005). In their analysis of what constitutes critical components of preservice education, Zaslow and colleagues (2011) point out the need for a reconceptualization of teacher preparation that more directly incorporates knowledge-focused with practice-focused components. More specifically with respect to DLLs/ELs, Castro and colleagues (2013, p. 11) report that no strategic plan has been developed for preparing the early childhood workforce “to acquire competencies to foster the language and literacy development of young bilingual children.”
As institutions of higher education confront the challenge of equipping the next generation of educators to instruct DLLs/ELs effectively, it will be important to consider the content of coursework offered, as well as the faculty teaching the courses and supervising classroom practice. For ELs to receive effective education in kindergarten through grade 12, teachers need to be knowledgeable in an array of curricular and instructional methods that differ from those needed to instruct English-only students (Ballantyne et al., 2008), although, as suggested by Loeb and colleagues (2014), this might only add a small increment in teacher effectiveness. In a recent analysis of California’s educators of early childhood teachers, Austin and colleagues (2015) found that they reported a need for professional develop-
TABLE 12-3 Summary of the Literature Concerning the Qualities, Knowledge, and Skills All Teachers Need to Teach English Learners (ELs) Effectively
|de Jong and Harper (2005)||Gandara and Maxwell-Jolly (2006)||Lucas and Grinberg (2008)||Lucas et al. (2008)||Merino (2007)||Milk et al. (1992)||Mora (2000)||Téllez and Waxman (2005)||Walqui (2008)||Walker et al. (2004)|
|Experience with Language Diversity|
|Study of a foreign language||X||X|
|Contact with people who speak languages other than English||X|
|Field experience with ELs||X||X|
|A Positive Attitude Toward Linguistic Diversity|
|Acceptance of the responsibility for educating ELs||X||X||X|
|An affirming view of linguistic diversity and bilingualism||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Awareness of sociopolitical dimensions||X||X||X|
|Inclination to collaborate with colleagues||X||X||X||X||X|
|Connections among language, culture, and identity||X||X||X|
|Knowledge of students (backgrounds, experiences, and proficiencies)||X||X||X||X||X|
|Understanding of families/communities of ELs||X||X||X|
|Creation of a learning environment that promotes a low affective filter||X||X||X||X||X|
|Knowledge of L2 Acquisition|
|Differences and similarities between L1 and L2 development||X||X|
|Language forms, mechanics, and uses||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Role of L1 literacy in developing L2||X||X||X||X||X|
|Skills for Simultaneously Promoting Content and Language Instruction|
|Skills for designing instruction that helps ELs learn both content and language||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Skills for understanding and implementing assessments to inform instruction and monitor progress||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Skills for collaboration with colleagues||X||X||X||X|
SOURCE: Arias and Markos (2016).
ment in a number of areas, including training in working with ethnically and linguistically diverse students. Faculty at institutions of higher education awarding associate’s degrees also noted a lack of institutional expertise regarding pedagogical practice centered on DLLs/ELs.
In their analysis of 226 colleges and universities offering bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education (pre-K to grade 3), Ray and colleagues (2006) found that although programs indicated an interest in the needs of children with diverse ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds and DLLs/ELs, very few hours of such coursework were offered. The authors concluded that preparation programs for early childhood teachers delivered little content and practicum experiences to prospective teachers of these populations. Indeed, fewer than 15 percent of such programs—ranging from those leading to certificates, such as a child development associate, to those at the master’s degree level—required coursework on teaching DLLs/ELs (Maxwell et al., 2006).
In her analysis of how institutions of higher education can increase their capacity to educate teachers in working with DLLs/ELs, Freedson (2010) notes the need to diversify these faculty with respect to their ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds. The National Prekindergarten Center’s survey of early childhood teacher preparation in 2- and 4-year institutions of higher education found that approximately 80 percent of faculty were white non-Hispanic (Maxwell et al., 2006). One possible advantage of diversifying these higher education faculty is that students may be more likely to have increased cultural awareness of and tolerance for people of different races/cultures and with different beliefs (Hurtado, 2001). Further, a positive correlation has been found between the presence of nonwhite faculty in a teacher preparation program and coursework related to cultural diversity (Lim et al., 2009). However, it is unlikely that the diversification of teacher preparation faculty will occur in the short or immediate term given the challenges of building a diverse teaching workforce (Putman et al., 2016).
Important differences exist in principal and teacher demographics, training, and experience between schools with high and low numbers of ELs. In the former schools, for example, teachers were found to be more likely to have provisional, emergency, or temporary certification, and new teachers were more likely to be uncertified than teachers in schools with a less diverse population of students (de Cohen et al., 2005; New Leaders, 2013). Conversely, in schools with low numbers of ELs, specialized services for these students and relevant in-service training for mainstream teachers were less available than in schools with large numbers of ELs. In highly effective schools serving ELs, teachers had the following characteristics (Howard et al., 2007; López et al., 2013; Williams et al., 2007):
- They were certified to work with ELs, having completed required coursework in English language development (ELD) and assessment.
- In bilingual programs, they had high levels of language proficiency in students’ L1 and were able to use it in their instruction.
- They demonstrated the ability to use assessment data to raise student achievement.
- They were familiar with state standards, able to align instruction with curriculum standards, had strong content knowledge, and had training in curriculum development.
- They were supportive of a collegial atmosphere for learning and improvement.
- They were familiar with the students’ communities.
- They demonstrated a deep interest in and commitment to teaching.6
Despite policies in place to regulate the teaching of ELs, more than 70 percent of teachers had inadequate preparation to be effective with ELs (Ballantyne et al., 2008). Teachers surveyed reported that the largest gap in their training was in methods for instructing and assessing ELs (Herrera and Murry, 2006). A study in California (Gándara et al., 2005) found that most teachers who taught ELs felt they were not well prepared to meet their students’ needs. Additional research likewise found that without specific training in educating ELs, teachers were not adequately prepared to teach these students (Ballantyne et al., 2008; López et al., 2013; Menken and Antunez, 2001; Zehler et al., 2003). Further, López and colleagues (2013, p. 19) found that “states requiring ESL or bilingual certification were associated with markedly higher achievement for Hispanic ELs.”
Although teacher candidates may choose a specialty area such as ESL or BLE, the larger concern is preparing all teachers to work with a diverse population of students (National Research Council, 2010). As content or subject-matter experts, mainstream teachers have the responsibility to help ELs learn academic content. They also contribute to ELs’ English language development by the ways in which they teach these subjects. The Common Core State Standards place responsibility for literacy development in the content areas, including science, social studies, and math, so that the language and literacy needs of students are addressed not only by ESL and English language arts teachers, but also by teachers in all other content areas. Some have proposed that all mainstream teachers be required to take a minimum of one course specifically dedicated to teaching ELs (López et al., 2013; Lucas et al., 2008). Recommended classes include instructional
6 Portions of this section were adapted from a paper (Lindholm-Leary, 2015) commissioned by the committee for this report.
methods and the use of curriculum and materials specific to bilingual education programs; linguistics and language learning, including L1 literacy; academic language; formative assessment; and cultural diversity (López et al., 2013; Menken and Antunez, 2001; Samson and Collins, 2012).
Preparing teachers to instruct ELs effectively requires not only providing relevant coursework but also giving prospective teachers supervised classroom experiences with students from diverse cultures and languages and with different levels of academic learning (García et al., 2010; Hollins and Crockett, 2012; Lucas et al., 2008; Talbert-Johnson, 2006). García and colleagues (2010) call for partnerships between universities and school districts with EL communities to enable teacher candidates to apply the pedagogical knowledge acquired through coursework in the classroom with students who are culturally and linguistically diverse.
Alternative Teacher Preparation Programs
Alternative routes to teaching have increased as the result of a teacher shortage declared in the mid-1980s (Humphrey and Wechsler, 2007; Madkins, 2011). The Education Commission of the States (ECS) recently reported that overall, the nation is unlikely to be experiencing teacher shortages; however, it is still difficult to fill teaching positions in urban, rural, high-poverty, and low-achieving schools and schools with high proportions of black and Hispanic/Latino students—schools that many ELs attend (Aragon, 2016). Recent estimates suggest that approximately 20 percent of newly hired teachers were prepared in alternative certification programs (DeMonte, 2015). Alternative programs vary considerably in training approaches and content (Woods, 2016a). Three such programs are described below.
One well-known alternative program, Teach For America (TFA), is designed for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree and may be working in a noneducational field. It begins with a 10-week summer institute training program for teacher candidates involving both practice and instructional components. Participants then partner with a manager of teacher leadership and development, who, along with TFA regional staff, provides coaching and mentorship once participants begin teaching. Teachers attend professional development sessions throughout the year, are committed to teaching for 2 years, and are teachers of record from the start. As such, they receive a first-year teacher’s salary and benefits (Teach For America, 2016).
A second type of alternative preparation program for individuals with a bachelor’s degree is the teacher residency program, which is built on the medical residency model. Individuals participate in an in-school residency for 1 year, co-teaching with a mentor while completing master’s-level coursework. Residents receive feedback from their mentors, program staff,
and administrators as they practice and refine their skills and knowledge in classrooms. These programs are generally offered in high-need school districts. After this first year, residents become the teacher of record at the school where they completed their residency. Upon completion of their residency, they acquire state certification and a master’s degree (National Center for Teacher Residencies, n.d.; see García  for an example).
Another option, Grow Your Own programs, is a collection of initiatives across the United States in which communities partner with institutions of higher education and school districts to give paraprofessionals and community members in low-income communities, including high school students ready to graduate, the opportunity to become teachers. While most alternative certificate programs require that the candidate possess a bachelor’s degree before entering the program, Grow Your Own does not. The aim is to have teachers who reflect the demography of students in low-income areas and because of their backgrounds, may be more likely to teach in schools serving low-income students. Illinois began such a program by passing the Grow Your Own Teachers Act in 2004 (Grow Your Own Teachers, 2016). Another successful model of such a program is the California Teacher Pathway program (Darling-Hammond et al., 2016).
Relative to traditional teacher training programs, alternative programs such as those described above recruit and prepare a more ethnically diverse group of candidates more closely reflecting the student population who commit to teaching in high-need areas (Grow Your Own Teachers, 2016; Urban Teacher Residency United, 2014; Woods, 2016a). In the Minneapolis Teacher Residency program, for example, 40 percent of the first class of teacher residents are bilingual, and 75 percent are people of color. In the Illinois Grow Your Own program, 84 percent of the candidates are people of color (García, 2016; Grow Your Own Teachers, 2016). In Illinois, more than 40 percent of Grow Your Own teachers teach bilingual or special education. And more than 50 percent of graduates of the National Center for Teacher Residency network program teach in secondary math or science, special education, or other classrooms with ELs (Grow Your Own Teachers, 2016; Urban Teacher Residency United, 2014).
At the same time, however, the variation among alternative teacher training programs raises questions about their capacity to produce effective teachers in the numbers required by the growing population of ELs (Humphrey and Wechsler, 2007; Putman et al., 2016). Proponents of alternative pathways to teacher certification claim that these programs can help alleviate the teacher shortage in difficult-to-fill areas by decreasing the time, expense, and coursework needed to become a certified teacher. On the other hand, critics suggest that teachers prepared through alternative programs are not as qualified as those prepared through traditional, university-based programs (Clark et al., 2013).
Research on this issue has produced mixed results (Constantine et al., 2009). One study examining New York City public school teachers found that the route taken by individuals into teaching had at most small effects on their students’ reading and math performance (Kane et al., 2008). Another study focused on New York City schools found that certain features of alternative programs, such as a capstone requirement, positively affected student outcomes (Boyd et al., 2009). A study that evaluated the Boston Teacher Residency (BTR) program revealed that new BTR graduates were significantly less effective than other novice Boston Public School teachers in raising students’ test scores in math. By their fourth and fifth years of teaching, however, BTR graduates were significantly more effective than other Boston Public School teachers in this same category (Papay et al., 2012). The Institute of Education Sciences sponsored two large, multistate random assignment studies evaluating the effectiveness of alternative programs compared with traditional programs based on mathematics and reading scores. The researchers found no difference in outcomes related to the preparation pathway. The exception was TFA secondary math teachers, who were shown to be more effective than teachers prepared in traditional higher education programs (Clark et al., 2013).
With regard to preparing effective teachers to address the needs of ELs, the literature points to various alternative programs across the United States that researchers believe show promise (Flores et al., 2002; Osterling and Buchanan, 2003; Skinner, 2010). However, research on the impact of these programs on student outcomes is at an early stage. More research is needed to understand fully which programs and program features produce the most effective teachers of ELs.
In ESSA, professional development is defined as activities that
(A) are an integral part of school and local educational agency strategies for providing educators (including teachers, administrators, other school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, paraprofessionals, and, as applicable, early childhood educators) with the knowledge and skills necessary to enable students to succeed in a well-rounded education and to meet the challenging State academic standards; and
(B) are sustained (not stand-alone, 1-day, or short term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom-focused7
Under ESSA, grants will be awarded through the National Professional Development Project to qualified organizations, in association with state
7 ESSA Public Law No. 114-95 (2015). sec. 8002, no. 42 (a) (b).
or local education agencies, to provide professional development to aid teachers and other education staff who work with ELs in meeting high professional standards, including standards for certification and licensure, and in improving classroom instruction for ELs.8
The education field has seen a paradigm shift away from the notion that knowledge gained in college courses transfers to pedagogical practice once the teacher is in the classroom. The new paradigm focuses on pedagogical practice through positive modeling of teacher-student interaction, with opportunities for observation, feedback, and reflection (Howes and Tsao, 2012; U.S. Department of Education, 2010). Research on professional development approaches has led to general agreement that effective professional development for working with ELs requires a sustained, intensive approach that includes modeling of effective instructional methodologies that integrate academic content with English language proficiency instruction and involves actual classroom practice, coaching and mentoring, reflective practice, and communities of learning (August and Shanahan, 2006; Calderon et al., 2011; Darling-Hammond and Richardson, 2009; DiCerbo et al., 2014; National Education Association, 2011; Neuman and Kamil, 2010; Wei et al., 2009).
Unlike the K-12 workforce, in which preparation for teaching involves first taking formal coursework at a college or university for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree prior to working with children, the majority of the birth-5 workforce often takes formal educational coursework concurrently with working with children (Whitebook, 2014). Thus, both preservice and in-service professional learning opportunities often occur simultaneously for the ECE workforce.
Efforts are being made to develop unique professional development approaches for CEPs serving DLLs, as well as to modify existing approaches. For example, a professional development model specifically developed for teachers who work with Spanish-speaking preschool children, the Nuestros Niños School Readiness Program, uses a combination of 3-day institutes, systematic consultations with bilingual mentors, and professional learning communities in which participating teachers exchange ideas about pedagogical practice. A randomized controlled study of the program found an improvement in participating teachers’ classroom practices. Compared with children served by teachers in the control group, children served by teachers in the intervention group had better expressive word knowledge in English; better conceptual vocabulary when assessed bilingually; and positive outcomes in Spanish for vocabulary, mathematics, and letter-word identification (Castro et al., 2014).
In a modification of in-service training, the eCircle online professional
8 ESSA Public Law No. 114-95 (2015). sec. 313.
development approach was modified to include add-ons to existing modules, as well as a new module on culture, language, and instruction, with short video examples on such issues as language development and family engagement. In this model, a bilingual mentor works with individual teachers on their instructional practices in both English and Spanish. A variety of other resources, such as teaching materials and progress monitoring in both English and Spanish, are used. In a randomized controlled study, teachers who experienced this professional development approach showed better oral language and literacy instruction at posttest (Landry et al., 2012).
Although research on the effects of professional development for teachers of DLLs/ELs involving coaching and mentoring shows that these approaches hold promise, close scrutiny of such programs is warranted with respect to their content in relation to desirable child outcomes and teaching practices, as well as the qualifications of those delivering this content. While there appears to be a “general consensus among researchers and policymakers around a set of child outcomes and teaching practices that should be the target of professional development programs” (Hamre and Hatfield, 2012, p. 213), the research base on DLLs/ELs and its implications for practice have not been widely incorporated into existing professional development approaches. Further, it has been suggested that research is needed on professional development programs designed to develop teacher knowledge and skills in academic English, as both EL and general education teachers are responsible for academic English language development (DiCerbo et al., 2014).
The 2011-2012 School and Staffing Survey (SASS) provided data on the percentage of K-12 teachers who reported participating in professional development for teaching ELs. Across all schools, 24 percent of teachers reported taking some professional development over the last 12 months with regard to teaching ELs (Goldring et al., 2013). In a survey of Title III districts conducted by the American Institutes of Research, the most commonly mentioned professional development topics for EL teachers were state English proficiency standards and the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (Tanenbaum et al., 2012). Based on these data, it appears that more high-quality professional development programs for teachers of ELs are needed.
Calderon and colleagues (2011) have called for schools to establish causal links between teachers’ professional development experiences and student outcomes based on teacher observation. To date there is little evidence to support these links. One study of three large public school districts and one charter school found little improvement in evaluations of teachers following professional development, despite the public schools having spent an average of $18,000 per teacher annually (The New Teacher Project, 2015). Further, when improvement was seen, no correlation could
be identified with any specific professional development strategy. What was found in the charter management organization was a clear delineation of the roles and responsibilities of staff supporting teacher development, a mindset of high expectations and continuous growth, and feedback given to teachers on a regular basis through observation and reflection (The New Teacher Project, 2015).
As noted previously, the demand for teachers with specialized knowledge and skills to teach DLLs/ELs is great. A major barrier to implementing bilingual education programs is the lack of qualified teachers (see Putman et al.  for an analysis of the breakdown in the teaching pipeline). States are using various approaches to recruit qualified teachers, including alternative certification pathways such as those described above, partnerships with other countries to recruit teachers, job fairs specifically for teachers of DLLs/ELs, local partnerships with institutions of higher education to prepare qualified teachers, and financial incentives for teachers to add bilingual certification to their qualifications (U.S. Department of Education, 2016). Given the increase in students whose L1 is Spanish, recruiting efforts have focused on Spanish-speaking countries, in particular Spain and Puerto Rico. While these areas offer a good source of teachers, challenges associated with the recruits, such as cultural disconnects between students and teachers and difficulties for the recruits in adjusting to differences in the educational systems and life in the United States occur (Mitchell, 2016).
Schools with high populations of ELs and low-income and highly mobile populations are among those that experience the greatest challenges in recruitment and retention of qualified teachers (Simon and Johnson, 2015). As Putman and colleagues (2016) show, teacher diversity can be increased by efforts to encourage potential teachers to enter the profession. To be successful at recruiting teachers, the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality suggests that a comprehensive reward package include financial incentives and strong supports, such as quality professional development, programs that provide regular coaching for new teachers, and collaborative learning communities (Hayes, 2009). Goe (2006) recommends that when hiring teachers, districts and schools match candidates’ qualifications to the sociodemographic characteristics of the school. For example, recruits should possess proficiency in the L1 of many or most of the students in the schools and have completed coursework or professional development pertinent to the specific demands of teaching these students.
The alternative teacher preparation programs discussed above employ their own methods. The Grow Your Own Teachers Program reaches out to students, paraprofessionals, parents, and community members in low-
income communities to encourage them to become teachers (Grow Your Own Teachers, 2016). Teacher residency programs conduct organized and data-driven marketing campaigns to target qualified candidates in citywide neighborhoods, using such channels as Spanish language media and job fairs. They also seek referrals and work with public schools to identify candidates, such as paraprofessionals who are already working in the schools (Urban Teacher Residency United, 2014).
While many of these recruitment efforts are promising, each has its own limitations and challenges. Putman and colleagues (2016) describe four problems in building a diverse teaching workforce based on the teacher pipeline: (1) a smaller proportion of black and Hispanic than white populations now earn college degrees; (2) interest in teaching among black and Hispanic college students and graduates is lower than among white students; (3) black and Hispanic teachers are hired at lower rates than white teachers; and (4) black and Hispanic teachers are retained in their jobs at lower rates than white teachers. The authors conclude that “closing the diversity gap” between teachers and students will require a long-term strategy that increases college graduation rates among black and Hispanic students and encourages them to enter the teaching ranks.
Retention of teachers is another issue that affects the supply of qualified teachers for DLLs/ELs (Putman et al., 2016). Research has shown that in high-quality preservice education, providing the knowledge and skills needed for effective teaching in classrooms, along with induction support in the form of mentoring and quality professional development, helps prevent attrition (DeAngelis et al., 2013; Ingersoll and Smith, 2004; National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, 2003; Woods, 2016b). Generally, induction and mentorship of a new teacher last for the first year; however, it has been argued that to have a positive effect on student achievement, induction and mentorship should be extended for multiple years (Woods, 2016b). For example, having professional development on the appropriate pedagogical methods for teaching ELs would provide support to all teachers responsible for educating these students. Other factors that affect attrition include the characteristics of the teacher population and the student body, working conditions, and administrative support. Importantly, there is a higher rate of teacher turnover in schools with low-income and minority students, schools that, as noted earlier, generally have a higher population of ELs (Boyd et al., 2011; Guarino et al., 2006).
Two of the alternative training programs discussed in this chapter report lower rates of teacher attrition for their graduates than are commonly experienced in schools. Teachers who have become certified through
the Grow Your Own Teachers Program remains in teaching for at least 5 years, reducing the 40 percent teacher turnover rate that is common in low-income schools (Grow Your Own Teachers, 2016). Once hired as full teachers, graduates of teacher residency programs also have a low rate of attrition. The National Center for Teacher Residency network reports a 3-year teacher retention rate of 87 percent and a 5-year rate of 82 percent (Urban Teacher Residency United, 2014). A review of research on teacher recruitment and retention found similar results, suggesting that graduates of alternative teacher education programs had higher retention rates than those prepared through traditional pathways (Guarino et al., 2006). These findings are consistent with the conclusion of the Brookings Institution (Putman et al., 2016) that to increase the diversity of the teaching workforce, persistence beyond 1 year is crucial. In a study of New York City teachers, however, researchers found substantially lower rates of retention beyond the second year of teaching for TFA teachers relative to those who took the traditional route to becoming a teacher or were in a Teaching Fellows pathway,9 a time period that coincides with the end of the 2-year commitment to the TFA program (Boyd et al., 2006).
School administrators include superintendents and principals; however, the available data discussed here are on principals. As the student population continues to diversify, the same cannot be said for the school administrator population. Data from 2011-2012 reveal that more than 80 percent of school principals were white. While the number of nonwhite principals has increased significantly over the past decade, they are still in the minority. Data reported in 2013, for example, showed that fewer than 7 percent of principals were Hispanic (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013).
With regard to educational attainment, the majority (61.7%) of principals have a master’s degree, 26 percent have an educational specialist10 credential, 10 percent have a doctoral degree, and 2.2 percent hold only a bachelor’s degree (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013). School principals have an average of 7.2 years of experience as a principal and 12.2 years of experience as a teacher (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013). Notably, administrators in schools with high EL populations tend
9 The New York City Teaching Fellows program is an alternative-route program that provides teachers with a teaching certificate valid for 3 years. The traditional pathway is a university-based program in which students fulfill course requirements and have a number of different field experiences, such as student teaching (Boyd et al., 2006).
10 Education specialist degrees or certificates (of advanced graduate studies) are generally awarded for 1 year’s work beyond the master’s level.
to have fewer education credentials and less experience as administrators relative to schools with low EL populations, and the former schools also have teachers with similar characteristics (de Cohen et al., 2005).
Along with the fact that administrator demographics do not reflect the student population, many administrators lack the training to support a growing EL population, nor is such training currently required to become a principal (Hale and Moorman, 2003). The inadequate preparation of school leaders is highlighted by state licensure systems that fail to hold preparation programs accountable for initial licensure requirements, nor do these systems encourage professional development (Briggs et al., 2013; for additional information, see New Leaders, 2013).
National professional organizations such as the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) have issued detailed policy statements on educational issues. Yet none of these organizations has a specific policy statement on the education of ELs or the competencies their members should obtain to work effectively with these students. Research points to the impact on student achievement of the instructional leadership role of school administrators and has led to the development of general standards for school administrators (see National Policy Board for Educational Administration  for updated professional standards for educational leaders). Although these standards do not specifically address support for the EL population, several standards do speak to this population (Standard 3: Equity and Cultural Responsiveness; Standard 4: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment; and Standard 5: Community of Care and Support for Students). These standards urge administrators to account for and meet the needs of culturally diverse student bodies, including infusing the “school’s learning environment with the cultures and languages of the school’s community” (National Policy Board for Educational Administration, 2015).
Inadequate general preparation of administrators impedes the effectiveness of educational leaders, as well as their capacity as instructional leaders to support teachers in their schools in serving ELs. A study of middle school principals in eastern New York, for example, revealed that while 4 of 10 principals surveyed spoke a second language, only 2 of 10 had had formal training in ESL (Hagan, 2013). This lack of training can have consequences for the implementation of bilingual programs in schools. Research shows that principals who have a limited understanding of bilingualism are more likely to close their schools’ bilingual programs relative to principals who believe in the benefits of bilingual education (Howard et al., 2007; Menken and Solorza, 2015). Therefore, providing professional development for school administrators to help them better understand the needs of ELs may play a crucial role in providing bilingual education.
The ECS recommends that school administrators be trained in cultural competency and instructional methods for teaching ELs so they can support and evaluate teachers of ELs, as well as develop programs in their schools and districts (Wixom, 2015). Currently, 32 states have no explicit policies requiring teachers and/or school administrators to undergo training related to the education of ELs beyond the federal requirements. Arizona, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, and Virginia are the only states with specific requirements for school administrators focused on research-based professional development on addressing the needs of ELs, although they differ in the emphasis placed on who should receive such training (e.g., Massachusetts requires training for only those administrators who have sheltered English instruction programs) and in when the training should occur (e.g., Virginia requires that the training be provided during the license renewal process).
PROFESSIONALS PROVIDING SUPPORT SERVICES
In addition to teachers and school administrators, ELs often have contact with other school professionals who support their education, health, and social-emotional well-being. These professionals, therefore, also require specialized training to serve ELs. It should be noted that although a variety of health professionals work with ELs, in-depth coverage of the competencies required for all of these professions was beyond the scope of this study. Since the committee’s statement of task emphasized the education of ELs, the focus here is on allied health and education professionals whose roles are especially key for ELs in formal care and education settings—specifically, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, school counselors, school psychologists, and clinical psychologists.
Counseling is an important service for the social and emotional well-being of ELs, especially those who have experienced trauma and other adverse circumstances during migration and living in underresourced communities. The American School Counselor Association has issued a position statement calling for school counselors to “demonstrate cultural responsiveness by collaborating with stakeholders to create a school and community climate that embraces cultural diversity and helps to promote the academic, career and social/emotional success for all students” (American School Counselor Association, 2015). The association’s competencies for school counselors also include knowledge of multiculturalism and its implications for school counseling programs and principles of working with various student populations based on such characteristics as ethnic and racial
background, English language proficiency, special needs, religion, gender, and income. Still, some studies have found that cultural and language barriers can undermine productive relationships between Hispanic/Latino ELs and counselors (Altarriba and Bauer, 1998; Ponce and Atkinson, 1989). In contrast, another study found an increase in multicultural sensitivity among counselors-in-training who partnered with ESL students to design guidance curriculum in an ESL classroom (Burnham et al., 2009)—an example of the type of training school counselors may need to better address the needs of ELs.
Other school professionals, such as speech-language pathologists and audiologists, assess and work with a subset of DLLs/ELs to address developmental disabilities. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)—which represents speech-language pathologists; audiologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; and speech-language pathology and audiology support personnel—has no certification requirements for being considered a bilingual service provider. However, ASHA’s definition of a bilingual service provider requires native or near-native proficiency in at least one language other than English, as well as proficiency in diagnostic and treatment services. Laws and regulations with respect to providing speech-language pathology or audiology services to bilingual clients vary among states (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2016). Members are asked to self-identify as bilingual on their annual account notices. As of 2015, approximately 6 percent of members had reported being bilingual service providers in accordance with the ASHA definition.
Like speech-language pathologists and audiologists, both school and clinical neuropsychologists play an important role in assessing DLLs/ELs (see Chapter 11 on the assessment of DLLs/ELs). School psychologists work with students, as well as with teachers and other school staff, to conduct psychological and academic assessments, provide culturally responsive services to students and families from diverse backgrounds, collaborate with community providers to coordinate needed services, and develop appropriate individualized education programs (IEPs) for students with disabilities (National Association of School Psychologists, 2015c). Neuropsychological evaluations often are necessary to diagnose learning disabilities and can be useful for identifying other disabilities, including autism.
Although the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) does not provide bilingual certification or a description of competencies
needed to work with DLLs/ELs, it has issued a position statement on the provision of services to bilingual students suggesting that training of school psychologists include “the developmental processes of language acquisition and acculturation, their effects on standardized test performance, and the effectiveness of instructional strategies and interventions” (National Association of School Psychologists, 2015a, p. 1). NASP lists more than 20 universities that offer graduate-level programs in multicultural and bilingual school psychology. Only two states, however—New York and Illinois—offer a bilingual credential for school psychologists (National Association of School Psychologists, 2015a). A study conducted by Aldridge and colleagues (2015) suggests that graduate programs in psychology are not adequately preparing graduates to serve DLLs/ELs.
The American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology provides minimal guidelines for working with DLLs/ELs, suggesting that clinicians have the appropriate education and experience to work with special populations and offering alternative courses of action, such as the use of interpreters, if that education is lacking. The guidelines do not provide specific guidance on linguistic, professional, or sociocultural competencies (Mindt et al., 2008, 2010). Mindt and colleagues (2010) point to a dearth of neuropsychologists who report being adequately prepared to work with DLLs/ELs and/or possessing proficiency in languages other than English.
As a way to overcome language barriers, school psychologists, neuropsychologists, and speech-language pathologists use interpreters to assess DLLs/ELs. However, the lack of properly trained interpreters, as well as clinicians who are not trained to work with an interpreter, can increase the probability of assessment errors (Ochoa et al., 2004; Ware et al., 2015). Nearly 80 percent of school psychologists in one study used an interpreter to assess ELs, yet only 52 percent of these individuals were appropriately trained to use an interpreter (Ochoa et al., 2004). In a study of school psychologists who self-identified as bilingual, only 5 percent reported being trained to use an interpreter during their graduate studies (O’Bryon and Rogers, 2010). In a survey conducted by Kritikos (2003), more than 70 percent of monolingual and bilingual speech-language pathologists from five states reported feeling “not competent” or “only somewhat competent” when using an interpreter to assess a client who spoke a language different from their own. Considering the need for these professionals to use interpreters, an emphasis on training them in working with interpreters may be essential.
Conclusion 12-1: The educator workforce, including early care and education providers, educational administrators, and teachers, is in-
adequately prepared during preservice training to promote desired educational outcomes for dual language learners (DLLs)/English learners (ELs). The great variability across state certification requirements influences the content offered to candidates by higher education and other preparation programs to prepare them with the knowledge and competencies required by effective educators of these children and youth. The emergence of alternative teacher preparation programs is promising, but traditional institutions of higher education remain the major source of new teachers, and changes in these institutions may therefore be required to increase the pipeline of well-prepared teachers of DLLs/ELs.
Conclusion 12-2: Promising initiatives that include well-articulated professional development goals and monitoring of the application of those goals in classrooms indicate that such strategies and ongoing evaluation of their implementation can result in better outcomes for dual language learners (DLLs)/English learners (ELs). However, professional development, coaching, and continuing education for educators serving DLLs/ELs have not yet developed as a coherent set of strategies for improving the effectiveness of these providers with DLLs/ELs.
Conclusion 12-3: The preparation of educational and allied health professionals, including counselors and school psychologists, who support students’ educational achievement in classrooms does not include the knowledge and competencies required to assess and support dual language learners/English learners. These professionals are involved in crucial decisions concerning the identification of learning disabilities and access to services for these children and youth and can have significant influences on their educational trajectories.
Conclusion 12-4: Matching the racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity of the educator workforce to that of dual language learners (DLLs)/English learners (ELs) has the potential to improve student outcomes. The research base on the diversity gap between teachers and students is not definitive with respect to the best ways of reducing this gap, especially with respect to DLLs/ELs. Alternative teacher preparation initiatives represent small steps toward achieving this goal, but are not adequate to meet current needs.
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