A Hypothesis

I’ve been in and around the TESOL world for eleven years now. That’s not a lifetime or anything, but it’s not nothing. I know a couple of things.

From my vantage point, the TESOL field is far too homogenous. However, I’m looking at this from the perspective of adult education and the program I studied in. Maybe it’s more diverse outside of the prism through which I have viewed it.

So I need to find out of it’s truly as monochromatic as I assume.

But then, I also need to find out if that’s really a problem. I believe it is, and studies have shown as much for the achievement of students of color, but good language teaching is not “just” good teaching. It’s a specific set of skills (alongside teaching skill in general), and would my push to diversify the field necessarily lead to better outcomes? I supect and hope as much but I don’t know it for a fact.

In my heart of hearts, I suspect that the lagging attendance and success rate of adult English programs can be tied to the homogeneity and lack of explicit intersectionality in TESOL. The former is probably going to take forever to fix. But the latter could be changed.

I just have to gather evidence that doing so would be beneficial, and doable.

We talk a big game about being learner-centric, but how learner-centric can we be if we never provide space for our students to really explore their full identities in English?

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