Pedagogical Language Knowledge: Preparing Mainstream Teachers for English Learners in the New Standards Era

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Bunch, George C.
Review of Research in Education
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01-16-2015 2:55 PM
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Sooner or later, as schools move to implement the new Common Core and other forthcoming standards, almost every teacher in the United States will face the challenge of how to support students from homes where English is not the dominant language in meeting subject-matter academic expectations that require increasingly demanding uses of language and literacy in English. In this chapter, I review research that provides potential insights on how mainstream teachers might be prepared for responding to this challenge, both in preservice teacher preparation programs and throughout their careers. I argue that efforts to prepare teachers for working with English learners (ELs)1 to engage with increasing language and literacy expectations across the curriculum requires development of pedagogical language knowledge (Galguera, 2011)not to teach English in the way that most mainstream teachers may initially conceive of (and resist) the notion, but rather to purposefully enact opportunities for the development of language and literacy in and through teaching the core curricular content, understandings, and activities that teachers are responsible for (and, hopefully, excited about) teaching in the first place. I review recent literature that presents various approaches to what this knowledge might entail and how teacher preparation and development initiatives might go about fostering it. I conclude by proposing that, in an age of increasing linguistic demands associated with new academic expectations, building teachers' understanding of language as action (van Lier & Walqui, 2012) could serve as the foundation for preparing them to engageand supportELs in both challenging and meaningful academic tasks.
Professional Development
Preservice Teacher Preparation
English Learners
English Learners
Content Instruction
Academic Language