Aida Walqui, Director of the Teacher Professional Development Program at WestEd, recently co-authored the report Changes in the Expertise of ESL Professionals: Knowledge and Action in an Era of New Standards. In the context of a shifting education landscape, this paper explains the challenges and the possibilities that new standards pose for English as a second language (ESL) professionals—the teachers, teacher leaders, school principals, district administrators, and other K–12 educators who work with English language learners (ELLs). The report provides an overview of what the authors call the New Standards Era and the ways in which the Next Generation Science Standards, English Language Proficiency Standards, and Common Core State Standards impact ESL professionals. The authors make a case for harnessing the transformative opportunity of the new standards context to redefine and re-conceptualize K-12 ESL professionals’ roles, the instruction they provide, the expertise they utilize, and the contexts to facilitate student learning. Concurrently, the authors argue that awareness of English as an essential language for 21st century success serves as a driving force for ESL professionals to create knowledge about language and language acquisition into actionable expertise to support ELLs.
Walqui and her co-authors presented their work at a June 2014 webinar entitled Changes in the Expertise of ESL Professionals in the Era of New Standards.