Exploring the positioning of teacher expertise in TESOL-related curriculum standards

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This article explores the kinds of teacher knowledge promoted in TESOL-related curriculum standards in five jurisdictions (Australia and England at the national level, New York City and New York State in the United States, and Ontario, Canada, at the subnational level). Such documents are increasingly important in defining, and potentially undermining, the professional status of specialist TESOL knowledge and roles in schools. Part of the influence of teacher standards is through policy transfer, and the examples analysed here were selected for their status as models for the drafters of an emerging policy framework in Victoria, Australia. Building on an emerging theoretical tradition focused on pedagogical content knowledge, the analysis identifies contrasting paradigms of teacher expertise that vary in depth and relative importance attributed to knowledge of language. The authors argue that the differing constructions of pedagogical content knowledge across jurisdictions imply different kinds of teacher roles that are potentially in tension. The three kinds of positioning that the authors identify are generalist teacher of language and literacy, teacher as TESOL specialist, and teacher of emerging bi/multilinguals. The analysis suggests that greater attention should be given to how teacher knowledge is framed in educational policy, with regard for coherence, practicability, and broader professional expectations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)939-959
Number of pages21
JournalTESOL Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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