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Critical Education






Teach For America (TFA) places novice teachers, referred to as corps members, in several regions across the United States that have among the highest English language learner (ELL) populations in the nation. In this paper, we present a policy and program analysis of TFA’s training related to ELLs, arguing that the organization inadequately prepares teachers to work with this student population even though it places corps members in regions with high ELL populations. First, we describe the current Elementary and Secondary Education Act amendment that allows TFA corps members to be considered highly qualified without ELL-related training. Next, we analyze TFA’s curriculum and teacher preparation approach specific to ELLs. We then describe alternative approaches, including an emerging residency model and a community-based program, which prepare teachers for specific local contexts and student populations. Drawing on these exemplars, we conclude with recommendations for TFA to modify its model in ways that would sufficiently prepare its corps to teach ELLs.


Author Posting. © Hopkins and Heineke, 2013. This article is posted here by permission of the authors for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in Critical Education, Volume 4, Issue 12, November 2013.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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