Meetings & Other Events

TESOL Consortium

AERA 2022 

TESOL Consortium: Preparing Teachers of Multilingual Learners for Effective Literacy Instruction: Best Versus Bought Practices?

Thursday, April 21, 2022 4:15 to 5:45pm PDT

As teacher educators and educators of multilingual learners, we have become increasingly concerned about the proliferation of private, for-profit companies selling canned curriculum to schools and school districts under the questionable assumption that their implementation will raise test scores for all. Preparing teachers of literacy to work with multilingual learners and their communities requires specialized teacher education programs - being a good teacher is not good enough (Gandara & Santibaez, 2016). Research has identified the skills and knowledge for effective instruction, such as knowledge of bilingual development, applied linguistics, and culturally responsive approaches. However, although teacher education programs strive to design and implement curriculum and experiences that empower teachers to use these theories and skills to improve their practice, we have observed that many of our graduates are confronted with commodified curricula when they begin to work in schools. These curricula are usually not designed to specifically incorporate the best practices for meeting the needs of multilingual learners, who are more likely to attend under-resourced schools with less-qualified teachers. As professional educators and researchers in a school of education, we have witnessed what happens when the best practices for literacy instruction that we teach in classes clash with curriculum mandates.

We will open a discussion focused on the impact of such impasses, and hope to present preliminary results of our study that examines the perspectives and experiences of teachers faced with adapting for-profit curricula.

Our ongoing research asks: How do teachers perceive their experiences of teaching literacy in this commodified curriculum? How does this impact their instruction of multilingual and ELL-identified students? What strategies of resistance and accommodation do they use?

At this panel we will present the results of our research so far.

Laura Kaplan, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor of TESOL and Bilingual Education Pace University, New York, NY

Tasha Darbes, PhD, Assistant Professor of TESOL and Bilingual Education Pace University, New York, NY

Alexine McCalman, Graduate Student, School of Education Pace University, New York, NY