Aida Walqui Co-Authors Book Providing Guidance for Working with ELL Students

Aida Walqui
July 2015

Collaborative member and Director of Teacher Professional Development at WestEd Aida Walqui, along with Margaret Heritage, the Assistant Director for Professional Development at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Robert Linquanti, Project Director for English Learner Evaluation and Accountability Support and Senior Researcher for the California Comprehensive Center at WestEd, lay the groundwork for continuing the progress teachers have made with English language learner (ELL) students in their new book English Language Learners and the New Standards: Developing Language, Content Knowledge, and Analytical Practices in the Classroom. Walqui and her colleagues present a diverse set of strategies for teachers and policymakers to address the challenges presented when working with ELL students through a series of in-the-classroom vignettes, suggestions for updated pedagogical techniques, and efficient policy recommendations. The authors also emphasize the notions that neither content knowledge nor English language acquisition, both of which are ever-present when working with ELL students, are (or should be) linear, rigid, and structured as they have been viewed historically. The book also champions the value of formative assessments, working as “assessments for learning” alongside the interim and summative assessments that currently dominate the policy landscape. The authors urge stakeholders to reevaluate policies currently in place in four key areas: professional learning, teacher preparation, assessment literacy, and teacher evaluation. The authors’ work is complemented by a foreword by fellow Collaborative member and Stanford University professor Kenji Hakuta, who characterizes the book as a “jujitsu act—taking the energy of this wave of reform and training it on the context of instruction.”